LoisLaw is dead; long live Fastcase/Loislaw.
Research Tip: Good word searches won’t get you very far if you don’t update your research.
(And all good legal researchers know how to “update the law.”)
We try to update this Oregon Legal Assistance Resource Guide at least twice a year (you can also find the guide from the WCLL Legal Research Resources website), but additions, corrections, and suggestions are always welcome. You can “Leave a reply” to this blog post or you can “Contact Us” via email.
Short answer: No. (But your questions do give us ideas for future blog posts!)
Longer answer: The two professional law librarians currently posting to this blog serve a county of 500,000+ residents (and the rest of Oregon – and other states and countries on occasion) and run a public law library so we just don’t have the time to answer everyone’s questions. (But you can visit your own county’s Law Library and research your question!)
Longest, and perhaps more useful, answer for those with legal reference or research questions: Please read the legal research tips we provided in our August 2010 blog post:
“Google Scholar Case Law Evolves“ by Mark Giangrande, Law Librarian blog:
Excerpt: “…. Google is hardly a substitute for any of the commercial databases as it does not have the value-added features such as secondary sources and others. At the same time, anyone searching Scholar’s case law database can do so with a good amount of confidence in my opinion….” [Google Scholar Case Law Evolves]
“The library is a growing organism.” [Ranganathan, the fifth of “Five Laws of Library Science”]
Visit the new website of the Multnomah Law Library for your legal research adventures. Note that Saturday hours have returned, remote and in-library database access is expanding, and the online catalog will earn its keep as a time-saver.
Oregonians Rejoice: EBSCO Legal Information Reference Center has arrived. (Yes, thank the State of Oregon Law Librarian!)
This database contains NOLO Legal information books and much more.
This database is available to all Oregonians. (Other states, public libraries, and law libraries have their own access protocols.)
There is a lot of legal self-help you can do that really is DIY (do it yourself), but if there is a lot of money at stake, property, children, parents, dependents, your credit rating, your reputation, your heirs or inheritance, or anything else that matters to you, please be a smart legal self-helper by doing thorough legal research or consulting a lawyer. (Or both!)
You may need only to consult a lawyer or find one to coach you through your case. And you need to find the right lawyer, so take the time and read about how to find and work with lawyers.
But it’s worth taking the time to find that lawyer. You never know when you might need to consult a lawyer again, on a debt problem, a business start-up, a neighbor dispute, a landlord-tenant problem, an estate plan, or a family legal problem.
From the ABA Journal: “20 apps to help provide easier access to legal help,” by Joe Dysart, April 1, 2015.
Words to the Wise: DIY Lawyering can be risky – and expensive – if you have to pay a lawyer later to fix what you could have done correctly, and cost effectively, from the start. If you need to respond to a summons, draft a lease, a power of attorney, a contract, or a will, or take any legal action that requires you to know not only how to research the law, which rules of procedure to follow, and how the courts interpret the law, please consult an attorney. As a very wise lawyer/librarian says:
“If you read only what is written in the statutes, the cases, and the constitutions you will be absolutely wrong about what the law is.”
From the AALL (American Association of Law Libraries), LISP (Legal Information Services to the Public) special interest section:
“This is a toolkit meant to help public librarians understand the process of legal research, effectively develop and use the information located within their libraries, utilize information located outside their libraries, with the end goal of helping the patron locate the legal information they need ...”