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If you expect to get a top job after law school you need to make the law review. This is one of the major items the top law firms look for on a resume. It takes a lot of time and if you are not careful your other grades will suffer. The ability to do legal research, legal citations, and legal writing will stand you in good stead as you progress through your second and third year in law school.
One of the first things you need to do, even before you start your first semester, is to become familiar with Westlaw and Lexis Nexis. These are the two main legal research sites and most law schools provide law student access to both. You will have little time once school starts so get familiar with how to do legal research now.
The course is an introduction to legal analysis, research, and writing through the preparation of legal memoranda, client letters, and other assignments. This course emphasizes the basic skills and tools of analysis and research, and the fundamentals of good writing. Students research and write legal memoranda and other documents of increasing length and complexity; develop research skills, both individually and in group projects; and learn editing skills and the basics of legal ethics.
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Wherever you are in your legal career, you can always improve your writing. But how can you find the time? Wayne Schiess has some suggestions for improving your writing, at his blog, Legal Writing.net Prof. Schiess wrote the suggestions for busy lawyers, and you can use them too.
Besides Legal Writing.net, I recommend The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog. Evan Schaeffer writes on a number of practical topics, including legal writing, on his Illinois Trial Practice Weblog. Reading blogs about writing will take only a few minutes a day, and you will gain many helpful tips.
Learning how to perform legal research is going to be one of your biggest obstacles your first year as a law student.
Legal Research, Legal Search Engines and Directories
American Law Sources On-line
Compilation of links to freely accessible on-line sources of law for the United States and Canada, plus links to sources of legal commentary and legal practice aids.
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE
Cornell's Legal Research Information Institute
Provides links to federal, state, foreign and international legal materials, including U.S. Supreme Court cases; U.S. Constitution, U.S. Code, and Code of Federal Regulations; Federal Rules of Evidence, Criminal Procedure and Civil Procedure; state statutes by topic, and a uniform law locator.
Emory's Electronic Reference Desk
Includes Law by Jurisdiction or by Subject, Reference Materials and Research Guides, and several other categories of legal information.
Includes portals for Legal Professionals, Students, Business, Corporate Counsel, and the Public; legal news and legal analysis.
Includes links to U.S. law, both federal and state, foreign and international law, legal associations, and directories, dictionaries and other reference sources, legal forms, and law journals. Law Practice Center includes Law and Government Resources for 230 Countries on over 70 primary practice areas Available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Internet Legal Resource Guide
Categorized index of select websites in 238 nations, islands, and territories, with an emphasis on the United States, as well as thousands of locally stored web pages, legal forms, and downloadable files.
Portal provides overviews and links to relevant articles, web resources, laws, news, blogs, and blog posts, by legal practice area. Search engine searches Justia.com, legal web, law blogs, or legal podcasts.
Free resources include cases, forms, legal news, and a Legal Website Directory with links to thousands of law-related websites.
Research Legal Information at Lawyers.com
Find free articles and legal information on personal and small-business matters by area of law or jurisdiction. Also includes legal forms and articles on the attorney/client relationship.
U.S. Government's Official Web Portal
Specialized directory that indexes pages in all .gov domains. Subscribe to e-mail updates, RSS feeds, e-newsletters, and podcasts. USASearch.gov can be used to search the site or Government web, images, and news.
JURIST: The Legal Education Network
Includes legal news and opinion; legal research resources; information on legal education, law teaching, and legal scholarship; and world law. There is a site map under About Jurist and a site search box in the top left-hand corner of each page.
Law Library Resource Xchange
Includes monthly installments of new articles and guides on Internet research and technology-related issues, resources, and tools. The archives include Resource Centers on Comparative and Foreign Law, International Law, Search Engines, and State and Federal Legislation.
Legal Forms and Resources by State. This site has links to the legal self help and forms site for each state. If you are looking for a particular form, it may not be available for your state but you may be able to find a similar one in another state to use as a guide.