70120: Legal Method and Research


Or: How to use Google, FirstPoint and LexisNexis

Wow, this was such a boring subject.  Well, at least the research part was.  I think I actually went to *maybe* 3 of the research classes, and most of the time, most of the class was on facebook.  The only thing that you need from the research class is to learn the following:

  1. Look up cases/articles in databases, the best of which are available on the library website.
  2. Look up your cases on FirstPoint first, it has awesome case summaries and is easy to browse.  For when you need full cases, use LexisNexis, if you don’t find them there, use WestLaw, or one of the other databases.
  3. Look up your legislation on AustLii.
  4. Don’t be scared to use good old Google, and Google Scholar.
  5. They’ll tell you that you need to use boolean operators to refine your search; the only time you will need them is in the exam, otherwise, just fill out the “advanced search” options in each search page, it is much easier.  IMPORTANT, boolean searches are possible the only fiddly thing in the exam, just have a table with each operator for each database.  Here’s mine: 70120Boolean.

The Method part of the subject is a bit more interesting.  More importantly, you actually need to attend these because there is a class mark section.  We had two assignments, and in both, the challenge was brevity.  I literally had to cull hundreds of innocent adjectives and connecting words.

The first was a case-note, which is quite easy actually.  Ours was on the case SCOTT v CAL … (2009) 256 ALR 512.  This was quite an interesting case, and, although it was a chunk of reading and summarizing, it made for an easy assignment: 70120Asst1 (online).  It is essentially a more complex version of those old comprehension tests we had in primary.

The second assignment was a legislative problem solving question.  I did this one pretty last minute and did OK.  It wasn’t too hard.  It was on s53C of the Trade Practices Act 1974.  Again, try give yourselves a couple of nights, rather than a frantic the-night-before effort to do this assignment.  It’s not too hard, but they get you with all these tricksy bits.  Here’s mine, just in case your assignment is a similar problem: 70120Asst2.

The exam was pretty breezy.  If you have time, do a practice paper.

UPDATED: Sorry, the wrong version of my first assignment was put up (it still had my track changes up and running), the final version is now up.

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