Legal Research Methods in a Modern World: A Coursebook

Together with my Stanford Law School colleague George D. Wilson and our friend and Danish legal scholar Henrik Spang-Hanssen, we have just published the third edition of our legal research book, a revision of Legal Research Methods in the U.S. and Europe, 2nd Edition.  But with the inclusion of short but good (in my opinion) chapters on legal research in China and Russia and some other materials, we have changed the title to Legal Research Methods in a Modern World: A Coursebook.

The book, now weighing in at 453 pages (and bargain priced at $ 55.00), is rich with illustrations and peppered with legal research tips.  My contribution is mainly Chapter 5, about legal research methods in the United States, and it is based upon and follows the advanced legal research class that I co-teach here at Stanford.  New to this edition, in addition to other updates, is the inclusion of research exercises that we have found most useful from the class.  I did not include the answers — because I hope to continue to use these exercises — but I would be very happy to share the answers and my thoughts on approaches with other instructors of legal research.

The legal world is certainly getting smaller, and it is our shared belief that this would be handy book for any attorney to have as he or she deals with lawyers from other countries and their legal cultures.

The book should be available from Amazon.com; but if not, or if you want to order copies in mass quantities, the U.S. distributor is International Specialized Book Services.  For other countries, the distributor is Marston Book Services.

We also have a corresponding website here.

A Tiny Heart Beating: Student-Edited Legal Periodicals in Good Ol’ Europe

A Tiny Heart Beating: Student-Edited Legal Periodicals in Good Ol’ Europe

ILSU Working Paper No. 2008-12/EN

LUIGI RUSSI, Bocconi University

FEDERICO LONGOBARDI, affiliation not provided to SSRN

This paper has a twofold aim: to analyze the possible opportunities disclosed by the observed growth of student-edited law reviews in Europe and to propose an innovative model of student participation to legal publication.

The first part explores the phenomenon of student-edited law reviews in the U.S., focusing on its recognized educational benefits. Among others, it is observed that participation in student-edited law reviews might promote greater scholarly maturity among J.D. students, who might in turn be better equipped for a career in the academia after finishing law school, in comparison to their same-age European peers. Hence, there follows an examination of the possible beneficial repercussions that the establishment of student-edited law reviews may yield on the process of faculty education in (continental) Europe, in light of the general practice therein endorsed of academic “apprenticeship” under a mentor. Such benefits may consist, among others, in the enticement of larger numbers of potential academicians and in their possible greater intellectual maturity, providing new meaning to the aforementioned time-honored European practice.

The second part of the paper focuses, instead, on the drawbacks brought about by excessive proliferation of student-edited law reviews in the U.S., such as alleged decrease in the quality of published scholarship as a consequence of the superficial quality control that student editors sometimes perform. In view of the foregoing, an innovative model of student publication is proposed, in order to prevent the onset of such drawbacks in Europe, while retaining the above-outlined benefits of early student involvement in academic discourse. It is suggested to complement few, authoritative sources of published scholarship in the form of peer-reviewed journals with student-edited working paper series which, if based on the guideline to provide substantial constructive feedback to authors, could ultimately help foster a quality improvement of published scholarship.

Source: LSN Legal Writing Vol. 3 No. 15,  08/18/2008