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Prepare to Practice Series


Understanding authority is foundational to good legal research. This video covers the basics of authority in the federal and California courts. 

Where Do I Start?

In practice, you'll likely have some "starting point" for your research--a case, a statutory cite, or a regulatory cite. This is great! There are lots of ways to find additional information from one piece of primary authority. 


If you have a case cite, pull up the case on a database like Westlaw or Lexis. 

The headnotes assigned by Lexis and Westlaw attorney-editors are useful in identifying key points of law in the case and finding similar cases. The video below walks through using headnotes to locate additional cases. 



You can also use a case citation to locate secondary sources that will help you understand the area of law and identify additional cases. 


Citators can help you determine whether the case you've pulled is still "good law." This video covers the basics of using citators on Lexis and Westlaw.