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10hour lawschool

  • 5 Minute Law School Summary: Law is passed ------> Slip law -------> Session laws ------> Compiled statute

Examples: CLS (New York Consolidated Laws Service), USCA (United States Code Annotated), Annotated Law of Massachusetts, and Deering's California Codes Annotated. The books that contain statutes from a legislature can be identified by the words "Statutes," "Code," or "Laws" on the cover and spine of the individual volumes. Statutes are laws. A state legislature will meet two or three times a year. Besides attending wild drunken parties at the expense of the taxpayer, the legislators will vote on various proposed laws ("bills"). The proposed laws that get enough votes will become actual laws. The laws first appear on individual slips of paper for those people who have a burning urge to see the new law immediately. These are called "slip laws." These slips of paper are gathered together and placed in a soft bound volume containing all the laws passed for a given session of the legislature. This soft bound volume is called "session laws."


The problem with session laws is that they are in order of the date on which that the law was passed. This makes it very hard for a lawyer to research a specific topic. A lawyer looking for exciting taxation laws would be forced to hunt and peck through tons of unrelated statutes. As a result, many states will take a further step of sorting the statutes by topic. A set of statutes that has been rearranged into topics is called a "revised statute" or "compiled statute." There may be 50 or more different topics (i.e. taxation, public health, corporations, etc.) and each topic might be made up of 3 or more volumes.


What is an "Annotated" Statute?


Q: What are "Case Blurbs"

A: "Case blurb" is an informal term used to describe the "building blocks or raw material" of many of our books. A case blurb is nothing more than a short (20-50 words) summary of an important point of law found in a court case. A single court case may contain many important points of law. An editor will read a given court case and distill out the important points of law. He will then create a small paragraph summarizing this point of law and attach the cite of the case so the reader will know where the information came from.


West Group has a very clever and efficient system of creating its case blurbs. As was discussed earlier, when a new case comes in, headnotes are created for each important point of law at the advance sheet stage of the process. These headnotes then get funneled off in a million different directions. For example, the case blurbs might be sent to an Editor that is annotating a statute or to another department that is creating a set of books called a Digest (discussed later). As a result, another name you might hear for case blurbs is "Digest Paragraphs."


A case blurb might look like this:

Burden is upon the plaintiff to prove by preponderance of evidence that death or injury was causally related to inoculation with swine flu vaccine. Warner v United States (1981, MD Fla) 522 F Supp 87.


Q: What do the words "Annotated" or "Annotated Statute" mean?


A: The word "annotated" lets a lawyer know how you are using your case blurbs. When you see the word annotated, you are generally referring to an "annotated statute."[15] This is nothing more than the laws of a given state. However, what makes the statutes "annotated" is the fact that case blurbs which explain and interpret the statute are placed by the publisher after each statutory provision. For example, if you have a statute requiring everyone to stop at a stop sign, the full text of this statute would be followed by case blurbs that deal with the ins and outs of the stop sign law.


It is important to note that statutes are written in a very general fashion (like our stop sign statute). As a result, just knowing what a statute says only gives a lawyer half the law. The lawyer also needs to know what the case law says about stop signs. An example is our stop sign statute. All the statute says is that "all cars must come to a complete stop at a stop sign." This seems quite clear.


However, circumstances can arise that make the issue of whether your client has violated the statute cloudy. For example, what if your client said that a tree branch had grown down, blocking the view of the stop sign and as a result, he did not stop (or what if the a construction crew took the sign down for the day, etc.). It is easy to see how useless the statute is by itself. This is where case law is useful. Case law fleshes out the unique fact patterns not covered in the statute. However, the cases dealing with stop signs are not located in one place. The cases are scattered throughout a large set of books. What the editorial staff has done is locate all of these cases, read them, distilled the important points of law out and created case blurbs. These blurbs will then be placed after the text of the statute. The lawyer can then, in a matter of seconds read over these case blurbs and find all the ones that interest him.


Great Lessons in the English Language # 3 -- "Currency" v. "Currentness"


Very often you will hear someone state that their CD-ROM product has a "currency problem" or that the disc’s "currency is at issue." Forgive this person for so butchering the English language. This person probably eats catsup with his scrambled eggs and probably wears a large foam rubber hat shaped like a huge wedge of cheddar cheese with no shirt during subzero Green Bay Packer games. This poor misguided individual is not trying to tell you that he has a problem with exchange rates. Nor is this person trying to tell you that he is short on money or that he wishes the dollar would improve against the Japanese Yen. No, this person is trying, in his own little way, to tell you that he wishes the information on the disc would be more current. What this person really meant to say is that his disc has a "currentness problem" or the disc’s "currentness is at issue." After this discussion I know you will understand when people avoid you in the hall when you are discussing your "problem with currency." These people avoiding you are only afraid that you will be asking to borrow money in the future.


  • Summary: Jurisprudence = Encyclopedic treatment on an area of law.

Examples: American Jurisprudence (Am Jur), Massachusetts Jurisprudence (Mass Jur), Florida Jurisprudence (Florida Jur)


Q: What is a Jurisprudence?


A: Jurisprudences are legal encyclopedias that provide an in-depth discussion on a given area of law (i.e. Illinois law). These books bring together the statutes and the case law on whatever area of law is being discussed. The text of a given chapter (for example automobile accidents) is not just a reprinting of the cases and statutes on automobile accidents.


A jurisprudence article is created by our editorial staff. The editorial staff is comprised of mainly lawyers who write our books. An editor will be asked to write a chapter on automobile accidents. This editor will sit down and read all the cases and statutes relating to automobile accidents. Then the editor will create an outline covering all the various topics he just read about (i.e. drunk driving, defective brakes, etc.) Then the editor will cut and paste the relevant portions of the cases and statutes. Once this is done for all the cases and statutes the editor then allocates the portions of each statute and case to the proper area of his outline. Then the editor blends and paraphrases the statutes and case law together to create coherent readable text. (Note: A similar process takes place for ALR, Digests, and annotating a statute)


Q: What are Forms Books?


A: Forms books contain, as the title implies, forms. Lawyers are required to file a variety of papers. For example, to start a law suit a complaint must be filed. You may have no idea what a complaint should look like or what should be contained in it. A lawyer would go to one of our forms books and look in the index under "complaint." From there the lawyer would pick out the type of complaint that fits his situation.

The forms books are created by our editorial staff with the help of lawyers currently practicing and various government agencies or bodies. An editor assigned a forms chapter on “Nuclear waste disposal” would request from practicing attorneys the paper work they filed in any nuclear waste disposal cases that they handled (i.e. complaints, motions, requests for documents). The editor would, upon receiving these materials, edit the forms so that they were more generic and useful to a wide variety of lawyers. Each form will have numbered blanks throughout the text of the form (i.e. 87 ____________). The forms book will contain information on how to fill out the form and what information should go in a given blank.

Examples: Federal Procedural Forms, Am-Jur Legal Forms, New Jersey Forms-Legal and Business.


ALR Articles = ALR Annotations


Q: What is ALR?

A: The word annotation is very often used to refer to a case-finding tool called "ALR" (American Law Reports). An ALR author will be given a topic to write on. For example, the topic might be "The insanity defense." The editor will read all the cases that discuss the insanity defense.

He will then summarize the relevant parts of the cases into "case blurbs." The editor will then create a large outline that covers all the ins and outs of the insanity defense. The editor will then allocate the case blurbs he created into the proper places of the outline. When all is said and done the editor has a finished ALR article (These articles are often referred to as "ALR annotations" or simply as an "annotation." The reason these articles are called annotations is because the article is made up of nothing more than case blurbs, which are similar to those used to annotate a statute.)


Three locations where ALR type annotations can be found:


(1) ALR 3rd, 4th, 5th (Are case finding tools for the courts in all 50 states)

(2) ALR Fed (Is a case finding tool for federal case law)

(3) L Ed Annotations (Is a U.S. Supreme Court only case law finding tool)

Did you know that 1cent doubled each day for an entire month would total more than $10.7 million dollars.


(A law by any other name is still a law)


Examples: CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), NYCRR (New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations), Florida Administrative Code.


Q: What are Rules and Regulations and how are they different from laws?


A: Congress apparently does not have enough time to make most of the laws themselves. There are just so many parties you can go to in a day. (Only lawyers have been able to find 30 to 40 hours in one 24 hour day. However, this amazing ability is used sparingly and then only for client billing purposes.) As a result, Congress delegates authority to a government agency. You already know about many of these agencies. Two of the more common ones are the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration, which governs all aviation in the United States) and the FCC (Federal Communication Commission, the guys who harass Howard Stern and brought us "FCC Class B Certification").


These agencies have been given the authority to make rules that govern their area. For example, the FAA can pass rules governing aviation. The FAA spends its time determining that you should not be able to smoke in the bathroom of an airplane or that you cannot (for some strange reason) take a loaded pistol onto a plane in your carry-on bag (I firmly believe that they are afraid you might use the pistol once you see the food they serve you).


The main difference between a "law" and a "rule" is the process by which rules come into existence. Rules are created by a process that is inexplicably called "rulemaking." (Side Note: I once wrote a chapter for Federal Procedure on rule-making and spent a lot of time debating how to spell "rule making.") In a nutshell, the rulemaking process consists of letting the public know what rules are going to be proposed. Then the agency will have public hearings where the few non-apathetic members of the public rant and rave about how terrible it is that the government’s nuclear waste must be disposed of in the same area in which their three eyed children play each day.


After the public hearing, the agency will pass the rules. If the agency is a federal agency, those rules are published in the "CFR" or by its little known full title, The Code of Federal Regulations. If the agency is a state created agency (this should be a tip off that state legislators don’t do much either) the rules or regulations will be published in an "Administrative Code" (or Admin. Code). These administrated codes are notorious for being hard to use and poorly organized. You will rarely hear a lawyer walk away from using the administrative code saying "Boy am I glad I went to the Admin. Code. That really clarified my client’s problem."


Examples: California Digest of Official Reports and U.S. Supreme Court Digest.


Q: What is a digest and can most digest problems be fixed with Pepto Bismol?


A:A digest is a large set of books that helps a lawyer find case law. In short, a digest is a case-finding tool that is created by our editorial staff. For example, California Digest would be a case-finding tool for California. Similar to our other books, an editor is assigned a topic (i.e. drunk driving), and the editor will read all the California cases on that particular topic and create a case blurb for every issue that relates to drunk driving that comes out of a given case. The editor will then create a detailed outline of all the issues concerning drunk driving. The editor will then allocate the case blurbs to their proper location of the outline. The editorial staff then repeats all these steps until they cover all the major and minor points of law in California. When all is said and done you will have almost every meaningful case (there are lots of meaningless cases) summarized and located under its appropriate topic(s). One way to think of digests is to imagine someone consuming or eating all the cases and regurgitating the information in a more useful form. This is similar to the way a cow chews its cud.


While we are on the subject of regurgitation, it would be appropriate to discuss West Publishing’s Key Number System® (When referring to another company’s numbering system, the numbers are called "digest numbers"). The Key Number System is a fairly straightforward concept. Remember that a digest is really nothing more than a large outline that is filled in with case blurbs. West has created its own outlines and numbered every level of the outline with a sequential number. These numbers are "Key Numbers."[16] It is important to note that each topic or point of law (i.e. Burglary), has a specific key number, i.e. 67, and this number is like a permanent tattoo (although not as cool as a flaming skull screaming Harley Davidson). West has a digest for just about every state and then some. The topics and numbers will be the same in each of these digests. As a result, you could take the key number that corresponds to a topic you are interested in (i.e. 146 for Embezzlement) and find cases that say the same thing as the case you liked under this number. This numbering system allows you to find case law quickly and easily in any other state by turning to the same number in another state’s digest.


Q: "I am not impressed, what is the big deal about Key Numbers, again?" (or as it was put in the Treasure of Sierra Madre, "Key Numbers? . . . We don’t need no stinking Key Numbers.")


A: You would think it would be no big deal, right? Guess again. Key Numbers gain their utility from their use in the headnotes of case law. If you remember back to the discussion of case law, a editor will read a slip opinion and create a headnote for each important point of law discussed in the case. Attached to each of these headnotes is an introductory line (sometimes bolded) that tells you, among other things, what the Key Number is for this given issue. There is a Key Number for just about every legal issue known to mankind. A hypothetical use of a Key number would go like this: A lawyer finds a case that says something he likes. He then finds the headnote that summarizes the point he is interested in. The headnote will have a Key Number attached to it. You can then take this key number to the West Digest and look up this Key Number in the huge outline. Here you will find cases that are similar to the case that you liked so much.


A sample headnote might look like this:

2. Negligence sec. 76 -- elements - breach of duty of care [17]
Four elements of negligence claim are duty of care on part of
defendant, breach of duty, causal connection between conduct and
injury and actual loss or damage.


The part of the headnote that is bolded (it is also bolded in the actual bound volume) is information that: (1) summarizes the information in the headnote and (2) tells the reader where to look in the digest to find cases that discuss this same point. The first word(s) is the broadest description i.e. "Negligence." The number that follows is the Key Number or a number that refers to the digest, i.e. section 76. The word "elements" is a sub-topic of "negligence" and "breach of duty of care" is a sub-topic of "elements." You might be wondering what the "2." is for. The headnotes are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. This number, in this case "2" is placed in [ ] in the text of the case to indicate where the headnote is discussed in the case. A lawyer will read the headnote he likes and then quickly flip through the pages of the case to find the number in brackets. Once there, the lawyer can read the small part of the case that discusses what he is interested in, close the book and go home. The text that makes up the headnote itself (i.e. Four elements of negligence . . .) was created by an editor and usually is a paraphrase of what the court said.


  • Digests are generally updated yearly by a pocket part. This pocket part will be cumulative and have all the newest cases in it.


  • Trivial Rubbish From Legal History: For those people who are going to appear on Jeopardy in the near future, the word “digest” was originally used to describe a set of books called "The Pandects" which were a compilation of the Roman laws that existed under the Emperor Justinian. I apologize to anyone who might have just accidentally read the foregone historical discussion who is not appearing on Jeopardy, or who doesn’t plays Trivial Pursuit for keeps.

Q: What is WESTLAW® and LEXIS®/NEXIS®[18]


A: WESTLAW and LEXIS/NEXIS (In Internet speak, they would be called "the companies that are always yelling" because of the all caps nature of their name) LEXIS/NEXIS is a gigantic heap of legal information that can be accessed and searched by modem (They, of course, would not refer to themselves like this). A lawyer buys a subscription and is allowed, for a minutely fee (lawyers understand the concept of charging by the minute), to do legal research. LEXIS has thousands of publications on-line that can be searched in seconds and printed out in full text. LEXIS works very much like one of our CD-ROM products except LEXIS is terabytes bigger. LEXIS has cases and statutes for all state and federal court systems. Its got everything. West Group provides all sorts of stuff to LEXIS, like ALR. In return, West Group gets paid each time someone uses one of these services. To be trite, LEXIS is the information superhighway or "infobahn" for lawyers. A lawyer can type in one search and run that search on the case law for all 50 states simultaneously.

LEXIS’s biggest on-line competitor is none other than West Group with our much better service called WESTLAW. LEXIS and WESTLAW are very similar services. When one company adds a service the other will add an improved version of the same thing shortly thereafter. A good example is that both services now offer "natural language searching" as an alternative to "Boolean"[19] searching. This means that instead of typing "Murder or death and impact and window and watermelon" you can now type "Has anyone ever been killed or murdered by a watermelon falling out a window and landing on their head."


Even better, and much more interesting, is NEXIS. NEXIS allows a person to do periodical research. You can do Boolean word searches of all major newspapers, magazines, transcripts of Nightline in seconds and print them out in full text. The only catch is that both LEXIS and NEXIS are very expensive for the user. Lawyers generally only need to be able to search electronically their cases and statutes from their state and CD-ROM is the cheapest way to do this searching. However, the on-line databases will always be more up-to-date than a monthly CD-ROM product.


Q: Why do Insta-Cite, Shepard’s and Auto-Cite exist and of what use are they?


A: Lawyers have a burning desire to not look like fools (Lawyers spend a lot of their time trying not to look like fools). A lawyer looks like a fool when he cites a case that has been overruled by a later or subsequent case. For example, a United States Supreme Court case named Plessy v. Ferguson, 41 L.Ed. 256, created a doctrine called "separate but equal." This doctrine allowed the creation of separate public facilities for blacks and whites (i.e. separate schools, water fountains, etc.) as long as these facilities were substantially equal. In practice, these facilities were not equal. Several years later, the Court wised up and declared the policy of "separate but equal" to be unconstitutional in a subsequent case called Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In lawyer speak, Brown[20] is said to "overrule Plessy." The Supreme Court specifically stated in the Brown opinion that Plessy was no longer good law (law that has gone bad). Lawyers can no longer cite to Plessy to support their arguments. Plessy is now "bad law." Brown is now the controlling case when discussing equality and public facilities.


You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with Insta-Cite, Shepard’s and Auto-Cite? It has everything to do with Insta-Cite, Shepard’s and Auto-Cite. Insta-Cite, Shepard’s and Auto-Cite are databases (or "databi" if you will) that allow a lawyer to type in a case cite and find out if that case has been overruled and is no longer good law. When a case is overruled, the publisher of the case reporters does not rip out the case that has been overruled. That overruled case will stay in the same volume and start on the same page for all of eternity. You might think this is dumb but it saves the publisher a lot of time. Since we are the publisher, this is a good thing. Moreover, sometimes a court will change its mind and reinstate the previously overruled case and make it good law again (very similar to the Jason horror movie series where poor old Jason just can’t stay dead).


Auto-Cite was created as a tool to help Lawyers Cooperative’s editorial staff. An Editor would write an article which cites to a ton of cases. Each one of these case cites would then be entered and run through the Auto-Cite program. The editor receives a printout listing each case that has what is called a "subsequent history." Subsequent history of a case tells a lawyer what subsequent courts have done with the case they want to cite. For example, if a lawyer typed in the cite for Plessy the subsequent history would contain a reference to Brown and a notation that Brown overruled Plessy. This would send up a LARGE, BRIGHT RED FLAG to the lawyer that he had better go and read Brown. [21]


Later in Auto-Cite’s exciting existence, someone at LCP put on their thinking cap and declared "I think we can sell Auto-Cite as a service to lawyers." Low and behold, LCP joined forces with an on-line legal information provider called LEXIS/NEXIS (LEXIS/NEXIS had the chutzpah to sue Toyota to prevent them from using the name Lexis as a car name. LEXIS/NEXIS lost). This was the unlikely beginning of the love\hate relationship between the companies (LEXIS is owned by Reed Elsevier, whose motto is "We’re not as inbred as you think"). A lawyer can log-in to WESTLAW or LEXIS with his computer and do searches for case law, etc. When a lawyer finds a case he likes, he can then go to, depending on the on-line service, Insta-Cite, Shepard’s or Auto-Cite to find out if the case is still good. Another thing you can find out by typing your case cite into Insta-Cite, Shepard’s and Auto-Cite is that case’s parallel cite(s).

Q: What is the Harvard Bluebook?


  • WARNING: Do not get involved with the Bluebook is if you can help it.

A: The Harvard Bluebook’s real name is The Bluebook - A Uniform System of Citation. Most people will only refer to it as "The Bluebook"[22] and assume you know what they mean (they don’t mean just any book that is blue). For the amount of pain and torment that The Bluebook causes, it is a relatively small and unassuming book (5 ½ inches x 8 inches).[23] The students of the Harvard Law Review are responsible for creating The Bluebook.[24] The Bluebook was created to give the legal world a uniform method of citing to any publication in existence[25] and any publication that will come into existence. The Bluebook has a standard way to cite to all of our publications. Lawyers in the real world are generally too lazy to follow The Bluebook closely and usually follow the Golden rule: Your citation method is O.K. if someone else can find what you are citing to.[26] Some courts will require that documents submitted to them follow The Bluebook.


One of the exciting topics covered by The Bluebook[27] is how to cite to a case properly. There are 25+ pages devoted to just this alone. Plus, the Bluebook leaves a lot to the user’s discretion. To deal with these rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty, a law review will often have its own mini-bluebook that has been created to eliminate any questions or disputes and create uniformity on the law review for citation method.[28]


I once took a test on the bluebook (that was meant as a joke) which asked the most obscure questions about citation method; I am embarrassed to say I got most of them right. I knew then I had hit bottom, and I should seek treatment immediately.


Q: What is the difference between "In re" and "In the matter of" when they are part of a case name?



  • In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceeding Against Joseph Jones, 169 Wis. 2d 137.
  • In re Termination of Parental Rights of Steven C., 169 Wis. 2d 727.
  • In re Marriage of Davidson v. Davidson, 169 Wis. 2d 546 (a child custody case).

A: Get a life. You might try renting one. At least get some real hobbies so that your mind is not so obsessed with such minute matters. If you must know, "In re" means the following: "in the affair" or "in the matter of" or concerning or regarding. "In re" and "In the matter" are synonyms of each other. The technical terms for these are "procedural phrases."[29]


Bankruptcy, child custody, and professional disciplinary hearings are the usual types of case that have these procedural phrases in the titles. However, if you are obligated to follow the Harvard Bluebook and its set of heinous rules, you will use "In re" as a substitute for the following: (1) "in the matter of;" (2) "petition of;" (3) "application of;" and (4) similar expressions.[30] As a result a single case can often have several "correct" names. A state may ignore the Bluebook and do whatever it pleases (i.e. use "in the matter of" in the title of a case just to be wild and crazy). Some states like, Wisconsin could not make up their minds (this is why people from Ill-noise call people from Wisconsin "Cheeseheads"[31] ) and use both (as you can see from the real world examples given above.) Someone who wants to follow The Bluebook might change the name of a case (i.e. the name given by the state itself) to a name that matches and conforms to Bluebook format.


A Quick and Dirty Look at Folio or just Dirty Looks from Folio


Folio is the software that West Group and many other companies use to search for information on our CD-ROM products. For the techno-babble impaired, this is called a "search engine." Just as an engine runs your car and generally makes 3000 pounds of rusting metal useful, a search engine is what allows you to retrieve information quickly from hundreds of volumes of books. The Folio program allows you to type in words that describe your client’s case. You can type in any words you want and the computer will swiftly look through all the volumes of, for example, a case reporter and let you look at the full text of the cases that contain your search terms. For example, if you wanted to search a case reporter for all cases that discuss "people injured while using a pay phone," you might enter the words "pay," "phone," and "injury." This search will find cases that deal with pay phone injuries, however, it will also bring back cases that have nothing to do with "pay phone injuries." For example, the computer will find cases dealing with someone who was injured on their payday and as a result, called the police. The program is sophisticated enough to allow the user to modify the search and limit the number of irrelevant cases found.


As I said before, West Group uses a search engine program called Folio for a happy family of CD-ROM products called LawDesk/Expertise. Folio doesn’t just dump all the information on the CD-ROM disc in a continuous database (a database is a huge pile of electronic data), it breaks it up into manageable page-size chunks (this is similar to why we slice a ham into slices instead of trying to jam the whole ham into our mouth like a snake. I suspect that if our jaws could unhinge like a snakes, we would do the same.) The Folio program calls these chunks—what else? -- “folios.” To better understand what a folio is, think of a single folio as being one index card. In a case reporter, a single case would be typed onto a stack of index cards. The longer the case, the more index cards you would need. Each page of the case would be put onto one index card and the headnotes would all be put onto another index card. When you were done typing, you would have a stack of index cards. Being an obsessive and compulsive person, you decide that it was so much fun putting this one case onto index cards that you are going to make it your life’s work to put the rest of the cases onto index cards (some of our products would require hundreds of thousands of index cards). So now you are surrounded by shoe box after shoe box of neatly arranged and carefully organized index cards.


You then decide that the world should be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. So you set up a teller window and post a sign that informs the world that they can now look at all the information you have in your collection (thinking that if this catches on, someday you would be able to sell the business to the same people who own the world’s largest ball of string).


Typing search terms into the Folio program would be like someone asking you to look through each index card for the search terms. You would then begin furiously rifling through box after box of cards and only pull those single cards that had all the search term on them. These cards would be set aside and given to the customer to examine. Being the obsessive type of person that you are, you go the extra step and highlight with a marker each of the customer’s search terms where they appear on each card. Reading these index cards, the customer can see his search terms in context and determine which cards are relevant.


Once the customer decides which cards are relevant, he would hand you these cards and ask to see the full case from which this card came. A single index card is the equivalent of one folio and a case is contained in a bunch of folio-like index cards. When folio searches, it is looking to find index cards with the search terms on it. You might be thinking, boy, would I would hate searching through all those cards every single time I wanted something. You may be obsessive and compulsive, but you are not dumb. After months of getting search requests, you realize that there are certain types you get over and over. You realize that your customers keep wanting to find cases written by a specific judge or by a docket number or the year the case was decided. You decide that if you bought some more shoe boxes, you could create a box that would contain a copy of all the opinions written by a single judge, etc., so that, when someone asks you for cases written by a given judge, you would only have to go to that one shoe box and start your search. The special shoe boxes are called "groups" by the Folio program, meaning that the program has grouped together all the opinions written by a given judge in one place for your convenience. Searching one of these groups is mysteriously called "group searching."


That’s Folio in a nutshell. (. . . and by the way, you did finally sell your collection of index cards, not to the people who own the largest ball of string, but to the proud owner of the largest ball of ear wax).


John A. Goldstein Ronin48th@aol.com

Copyright John A. Goldstein 1995-2004 all rights reserved

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