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George Mason University Law Library Introduction to Lexis


									                           George Mason University Law Library
                           Introduction to LexisNexis, Spring 2006


      A. Contacts & Background Information

           Instructors: Femi Cadmus,, Christine Ciambella,
    , Deborah Keene,
           Help: Reference: Room 141, 703- 993-8076; LEXIS Customer Support: 1-800-455-
               3947 (1-800-45-lexis)
             Research Aids: Booklet: Understanding LexisNexis:
               Online Tutorials:
             Policy: Lexis is restricted to educational use only. Use for law firms or outside
               employers is prohibited.
             Printers: Free printing is available on Lexis stand-alone printers in Labs 342 and 350.
             Pricing: Law schools receive a lower annual flat rate but firms pay very high prices.

      B. Signing-On (Internet Explorer is preferred for Lexis)

           From your browser, enter
           From the Sign On page, enter your custom ID & password. Then click on Research
              System tab at top.

2. SEARCH TABS (Across the Top Left)

           Search — starting point for doing full-text searching in any Lexis database.
           Research Tasks — lets you search over 30 selected areas of law using pre-designed
              search forms; also gives links to related resources.
           Search Advisor — quick way to find cases and secondary sources from among 42
             broad legal topics.
           Get a Document — use to retrieve a case or other document by citation, party name,
             or docket number.
           Shepard's — helps you update your citation and find related citing documents.
           Alerts — Shepard's Alert lets you run regularly scheduled Shepard's reports to
             receive updates on a particular citation; LexisNexis® Alert is an electronic clipping
             service that is available in most databases and lets you rerun searches automatically at
             intervals you specify.

3. SOME ADDITIONAL FEATURES (Across the Top Right)

           Sign-Off - click sign-off or close browser to end your Lexis session.
           Preferences — lets you personalize a number of features.
                  Click on Preferences.
                  From the General Tab, choose the following preferences
                          Retrieve... increase to 25 or 50 documents at a time
                          Results View: Check Show FOCUS Bar
                  Click on the Shepard's Tab and make sure that you have a check next to
                       Show Citing Reference Signals.
                    Click Set.
           Live Support — you can chat with a legal research professional, 24 hours a day, 7
              days a week.
           Help — gives you information on searching and quick tours of the main features of
           History — saves your searches for up to 30 days where they can be rerun or renewed.


      In-class exercise: Find the full-text of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 on preliminary

             Click on the Get A Document tab.
             Make sure that the Citation tab is selected.
             Click on Citation Formats
             Type federal rules of civil procedure
             Click on Fed. R. Civ. P.
             In the text box, type 65 and click Get.


      To get back to the Sources Directory, click on the Search tab and make sure that the Sources
      tab is selected.

            Three Ways to choose a database to search:

        1. Recently Used Sources — Lexis saves a list of the last 20 databases that you
        2. Look for a Source under one of the 3 main directories: Legal, News & Business,
            Public Records (note: you can edit these tabs).
        3. Use Find a Source to look up a specific title.

            In-class exercise: Is George Mason Law Review available on Lexis?

         Click the tab marked Find a Source.
         In the text box, type george mason law review and click Find.

         Click on to see a description of the title and the years of coverage.


     In-class exercise: Research the requirements to obtain a motion for a preliminary
     injunction in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

         Click the Search Tab.
         Click the tab marked Legal to go back to the directory of legal sources. (Note: There is
             a large directory of secondary legal materials under the link Secondary Legal which
             includes law reviews, treatises, CLE materials, Restatements, ALR's, and
             encyclopedias. You can also find secondary materials under other links such as
             Federal Legal - U.S. and States Legal - U.S.)
           Under States Legal - U.S., click on Virginia
           Under Restatements & Jurisprudences, click Michie's Jurisprudence of Virginia
             and West Virginia. (Note: this is an encyclopedia that covers both state and federal
           Make sure that the radio button for Terms and Connectors is pressed.
           In the text box, type preliminary /2 injunction; click the radio button for Table of
             Contents (TOC) only and click Search.

         Click § 88 General Consideration
          Use Focus to easily find 4th Circuit cases discussed in the chapter.
                In the FOCUS™ Terms text bar at the top, type 4th circuit and click Go.
                      (Note: 4th will pick up fourth.)
          Jump to each occurrence of "4th Circuit" by using Term navigation at bottom right.

          Scroll back to the top of the page and click Exit FOCUS.


     In-class exercise: Find a statute in the U.S. Code that addresses diversity jurisdiction in
     the federal courts.

          Click the Search Tab.
          On the directory page, scroll down to Federal Legal - U.S. and click on United States
              Code Service - Titles 1 through 50.
          In the text box, type diversity - be sure to check Table of Contents (TOC) only.
          Click Search.

              § 1332. Diversity of citizenship; amount in controversy; costs [Part 1 of 3]
          Scroll through the results.

     Tips for Reading a Statute Online

          Use the Explore feature (bottom left) to jump to different parts of the document.

          Practitioner's Toolbox — available for US Code and selected state codes; links to a
              variety of resources cited or referenced within the statute and links to other related
              documents including treatises and other secondary sources.

            Click on Book Browse (top of screen) — let's you flip back and forth from section to
               section using Prev and Next.
            To leave Book Browse, click on Return to Search Results (at top).


      A. Get a Case by Party Name

      In-class exercise: Find Blackwelder Furniture Co. of Statesville, Inc. v. Seilig
      Manufacturing Co., Inc., 550 F.2d 189 (4th Cir. 1977)

              Click Get A Document.
              Click the Party Name tab.
              Type in names in party boxes: blackwelder v. seilig
              Select a Jurisdiction for your search: Select US Courts of Appeals, 4th Circuit .
              Click Search to retrieve the case.

      B. Creating a Terms and Connectors Search

            Choose key words from the issue.
            Select synonyms or alternate terms for key words.
            Link search words with appropriate connectors.

(1) Words or Search Terms

Singulars,      Lexis automatically retrieves the singular, plural   party=parties
Plurals,        and possessive form of words that form their         but child will not pick up
Possessives     plurals by adding s or es but does not               children
                automatically pick up nouns with irregular plural
                NOTE: On Westlaw if you enter a plural, you
                will not retrieve the singular; West retrieves
                irregular plurals.
Hyphens         Lexis reads a hyphenated word as two separate        e-mail=e mail (will not
                words.                                               pick up email)
                NOTE: On Westlaw if you enter a hyphenated
                word, you will pick up the non-hyphenated
Equivalents     Equivalent words and abbreviations are               4th = fourth or
                automatically retrieved.                             cir = circuit
Noise Words     Common words are not read, e.g. this, of my, his,    rules of evidence = rules
                her, are                                             evidence
                You can use them but they are ignored.
Truncation:     Replaces a single letter in a word and can be        wom*n=women or woman
Asterisk (*)    used anywhere other than the first letter of a       bank***=bank, banks,
                word. It also specifies the number of letters at     banker, banking (will not
                the end of a word.                                   pick up bankruptcy)
Truncation:     Replaces an infinite number of letters that follow   negligen!= negligence,
Exclamation     the root word.                                       negligent
Point (!)

(2) Connectors — establish the logical relationship between words in a Boolean search

or        Requires either or both terms in document.            alcohol or liquor or beer
          NOTE: Westlaw reads "or" as a space.
phrases Do not need to enclose in quotation marks.        social host
        NOTE: Westlaw requires that phrases be in quotes.
and       Requires both terms in document no matter how far alcohol and negligen!
          apart (broad connector).
/n        Requires that terms appear within a certain number    alcohol /5 intox!
          of words of each other. (from 1 to 255)               retrieves alcohol within 5
                                                                words of intox!
/s        Requires that both terms be in the same sentence.     alcohol /s intox!
/p        Requires that both terms be in the same paragraph.    alcohol /p negligen!
Cannot use /n in same search as /p and /s; otherwise, can mix connectors in same search.
NOTE: Westlaw does allow mixing of numerical and grammatical connectors.

C. Formulating Your Search

In-class exercise: Find cases from the US Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit that discuss the
requirements for granting a preliminary injunction.

    Click the Search tab.
    Under Look for a Source
           Under Cases - U.S.,click Federal Court Cases, Combined.
    Check the radio box for Terms and Connectors.
    Type the following query in the search box: (Use the option Restrict by Segment to
       restrict cases to the 4th Circuit.)

    Check your spelling
    To retrieve a list of suggested synonyms for your search terms, click Suggest Terms
       for My Search
    Complete your search by clicking Search,
    Browse through the Cite list. Note: you can choose to Hide Hits (your search terms) or
       Show Hits.
    Click on case number 11 in the citation list: Scotts Co. v. United Indus. Corp.

D. Page Display — Note that there are 4 ways to view a document.

    Cite — displays the citation for each document retrieved.
    KWIC — (keywords in context) displays a window of text of about 25 words around
       search terms in your document.
    Full — displays full-text of the document.
    Custom — allows you to select the segments of the document to display.

E. Key Features of a Case

       (1) Prior History and Disposition of Case

       (2) Case Summary - concise, targeted synopses of cases prepared by Lexis
       editors. Each summary comprises three sections:

            Procedural Posture — Describes case's procedural history.
            Overview — Brief review of court's holding on legal issues raised.
            Outcome — Reviews procedural disposition of the case.

(3) Core Terms — computer-generated list of key words and phrases drawn
directly from the text of the case.

(4) HEADNOTES — Key legal points of a case prepared by Lexis editors.
Similar to Westlaw's Topic & Key Number system. Can choose to Hide

Symbols included in headnotes:

                Jumps to the text in the opinion that is referenced by the
                headnote. Note: HN1 contains a discussion of the 4-part
                test required to obtain a preliminary injunction.
                When you click this icon, then select a jurisdiction, you'll
                see all the cases with headnotes on this topic, as well as
                additional cases containing discussion relevant to the topic.
 More Like This When you click this link, then select a jurisdiction, you'll
   Headnote     see all the cases with headnotes on this topic.
  Shepardize: Provides Shepard's report limited by the headnote.
  Restrict By

(5) Use Explore (bottom left )

Navigate to different parts of a case, e.g., history, case summary, counsel,
judges, opinion, etc.

(6) Star Pagination (at bottom)

Allows you to navigate to a specific page in a parallel reporter by typing a
page number in the box and clicking Go.


     In-Class Exercise: Shepardize Blackwelder Furniture Co. of Statesville, Inc. v. Selig
     Manufacturing Co., Inc., 550 F.2d 189 (4th Cir. 1977)

         Click on Shepard's® tab on menu bar at top.
         In the text box, type 550 f2d 189 . Make sure that the Shepard's® for Research radio
            button is pressed and click Check.

           Shepard's pulls up over 600 cites.
           Take a looks at your results. Note the color-coded Signals next to the citing cases.
           If you don't see the signals, click on Display Options at top left and check Citing Ref.

Shepard’s FOCUS

   Click on FOCUS™- Restrict By at top of screen.
   Check box for each restriction you wish to select: Criticized, Distinguished, 4th
   Click Apply to process your request.

   To return to the full Shepard’s display, click Unrestricted at the top of screen.


      In-class exercise: Quickly find the following two cites and email the case
      briefs and Shepard's reports to yourself:
      550 f2d 189; 952 f2d 802.

            Use to retrieve and print out multiple citations.
            Click on Shepard's® tab or Get A Document (Citation) tab.
            Click Get & Print:
                 1. Enter your citations.
                 2. Select a Format (Case Brief or Full Text) and choose to
                     Shepardize or not.
                 3. Select Delivery Method. Choose Email as Attachment. (Pop-
                     up blockers prevent delivery to the browser)
                 4. Click Get .


      Click tab at top for Web Courses.
      Click Launch Web Courses.
      Click red Courses tab (at top)
      Click Browse Course Catalog (at right).
      Click George Mason University.
      Find Lexis Quiz 2006, Instructor(s): FEMI CADMUS and click Enroll.
      You will see a message indicating that you have been successfully enrolled. Click OK.
      Click Lexis Quiz and then OK. Wait for the instructor to give you the password and
       then click Submit.
      Complete all of the questions - you will see all of the answers after you complete the
      When you are done, sign-off and close your browser.
      THANK YOU!


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