Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you would like to know what the law says about a certain topic. But where to start? And how? Law and everything related can be so intimidating: it seems complicated, overwhelming, unorganized, contradicting …
But fear not! Your law library is here to help.
In addition to important and up-to-date print resources, the CRRL offers its patrons access to Westlaw, one of the leading legal research databases.
Launched in 1995, THOMAS has expanded to include information on bills and resolutions, activity in Congress, an index to the Congressional Record, schedules and calendars, Presidential Nominations, treaties, and government resources. At this site you can also learn how your government works. A link to information for teachers including classroom activities, lesson plans and more is available on the homepage.
Have you tried searching for legal cases by randomly typing in key words in a database? Searching this way can be time consuming and is often unsuccessul. Instead, try using a West digest that provides you with specific subject headings.
Thomsen West, a publisher of legal materials developed a key number system that assigns key numbers to subject headings. In the law library we have Virginia and West Virginia Digest in print. This digest is a multivolume set and the subjects, with their assigned key number, are listed alphabetically.
To begin, you must define your legal question. Consider whether state, federal or local law governs your legal issue. Once you have defined your legal problem, you may want to begin by using a legal research guide to better understand the process and the resources available for you.