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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Research, Research, Oh How I Love Research – Part III

Now that you’ve seen just a few of the national organizations that have helpful websites, let’s look at where you can find legal information.

Looking for plot ideas? Check out http://www.lawyersusaonline.com/. This website contains articles about cases and trends from around the United States.

WWW.Law.com is another site that contains links to legal stories from across the country. It can be a great place to find quirky court cases and stories about judges and attorneys to flesh out your characters.

Now I haven’t used this site, but www.lawguru.com looks like it could be another helpful starting point. You may be able to find background information there that will help you grasp the background before approaching an attorney with questions.

The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University (http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Legal_research) is an EXCELLENT source of background material on legal issues. This page: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Category:Overview leads to overview articles on a host of legal issues. Have questions about child support? Start there. How about probate and wills? You guessed it – go there first. Many of the initial questions I’m asked could be answered if the person searched for an article here first. The general page breaks the law into federal and state issues and gives a helpful overview. I STRONGLY encourage you to start your legal research here.

In the right hand column of each topic, LII provides links to federal, state and other resources. It will take you straight to the relevant code or agency. This can be a huge help!

Don’t forget Federal Agencies. Here’s a short list to get you started:

o Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/
o Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: www.eeoc.gov
o Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov
o Department of Commerce: http://www.commerce.gov/
o Department of Defense: http://www.defense.gov/
o White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
o Library of Commerce: http://thomas.loc.gov/
o National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/
o House of Representatives: www.house.gov
o US Senate: www.senate.gov
o US Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us/
o Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/
o Federal Judiciary: http://www.uscourts.gov/

Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but hopefully this will help you get started as you research federal legal issues.



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