Oldies but Goodies
Dec 11, 2015
They're back. Fox Mulder and Dana Skully are at it again with their conspiracy theories and alien abductions. Man but those were the days. Of course, I'm talking about the days in the 1980's - 90's when the X-Files were king. Turns out the fire never really died out and back are the days of Mulder and Skully.
You know, law and legal research stuff is just like that. I remember back when I was in law school (a couple decades back), there were three resources that I used all the time. As time rolled on, I stopped using them so much but when I get into a crunch, I find myself drawn to the magic that was.
The first such magical resource was Am Jur Trials. Am Jur Trials is a great resource that walks you through the guts of a trial on any number of issues and then provides the questions and answers you might ask a witness. Take, for example, the section on Small Claims Court Defense (Vol. 121). Starting on page 189, this section shows how to mount a successful defense in small claims court and walks you through the
- Case Intake
- Settlement, Negotiations, and other options
- issues relating to Damages
- and Post Trial procedures
The thing like about Am Jur Trials is that it gives you the questions you might ask a witness in court (and their possible answers). This helps you know what to expect when you are actually litigating an issue. Very, VERY helpful, I must say.
Next resource is Am Jur Proof of Facts ("POF"). Like Am Jur Trials, POF walks you through a set of questions. However, the real treasure of POF is that it is useful to introduce evidence. So, if you're looking to introduce testimony of a surgeon (as an expert) who is looking to testify on the incompetence of the doctor who operated on your client, POF hands you the questions (and subsequent answers) you would ask in trial that allows that expert to submit his testimony. Pretty slick, huh?!
Finally, there's Causes of Action. Almost daily we have people come into our library looking to file civil complaints. Problem is most people think "I didn't like the guy" is a valid reason to sue them. Causes of Action properly identifies the basis for complaints and explains in great detail how to plead a particular cause of action to avoid being demurred to. Yeah, it is that awesome.
So, when next you need to litigate, know that just because a resource has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust for decades, it doesn't mean it's not a great resource. It just means people have forgotten how awesome it is and just have to rediscover it's awesomeness again.
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.