Introduction to Legal Materials for Information Professionals
Instructor: Eliza Fink
Dates: Not currently scheduled
Credits: 1.5 CEUs or 15 PDHs
Librarians in a variety of settings are called on to help library users do legal research. Researching the law can be difficult and when confronted with these problems, you will need to be aware of not only the resources available, but also how those resources are connected to the complex court system of the United States. This course provides an introduction to sources of law and legal reasoning. Topics covered will include the basic structure of the United States government and its law-making bodies, the evolution of case law through the concept of stare decisis, an introduction to legal citations and abbreviations that an information professional might encounter and how to determine the currency of legal resources that are continually changing. Special emphasis will be placed on finding legal materials through free or low-cost sources. Students will also be advised on how to effectively assist a patron without giving information that rises to the level of legal interpretation and the unauthorized practice of law.
At the end of this course, participants will be able to:
- Be able to correctly identify the jurisdiction that has governing authority on a particular legal issue.
- Understand and identify different types of legal source materials including digests and reporters, statutory codes, texts and treatises, court rule books, practice aids and form books.
- Differentiate between persuasive authority and binding authority within legal research resources.
- Understand the unauthorized practice of law and how to effectively assist patrons without violating state laws.
Eliza Fink serves as the digital resources and services librarian at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Her primary responsibility there is to support the college’s research and teaching endeavors by managing and promoting the Law Library’s electronic resources and participating in the planning and teaching of legal research. Prior to her work at UT, Eliza most recently held a position as the digital resources librarian at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law, where she managed the school’s digital resource collection and provided workshops and seminars on legal research skills and instructional technology.
This is an online class that is taught asynchronously, meaning that participants do the work on their own time as their schedules allow. The class does not meet together at any particular times, although the instructor may set up optional sychronous chat sessions. Instruction includes readings and assignments in one-week segments. Class participation is in an online forum environment.
Please contact us to arrange a special session of this class for a group of seven or more, with a negotiable discount, or to be notified when it is next scheduled.