Presenters: Ajaye Bloomstone, Coordinator; Francis X. Norton, Jr. , Speaker, Loyola University New Orleans; Heather Casey, Speaker, Georgetown University Law Center.
After Bloomstone's introductory and housekeeping notes, Norton led the session with a brisk and witty overview of US Primary & Secondary Law. After pointing out that our English roots begat language, a love of tea, and common law, he led with his thesis statement: the whole of law is born of conflict.
Norton’s content was truly a basic level introduction to US Law. Levels of rulings were discussed (The Constitution > Statutes > Regulations), as were several basic US Primary Law sources, such as the US Code, the more helpful US Code Annotated, and the Code of Federal Regulation.
Secondary sources, unlike primary sources, are treatises that explain or comment on the law. He pointed out several types, such as Restatement of the Law, digests, and law journals.
Norton’s way of framing law research, asking the question “who cares?” (or “who might care?”), was probably the most useful takeaway concept if one already had some familiarity with the basics of US Law. Asking what conflicts are inherent in your query or whose jurisdictions will be affected by your conflict is a good way to narrow down what sort of resources to use. His talk was supplemented by a US Law Resources handout covered largely print sources of primary and secondary law.
Casey presented a practical guide to collecting Foreign, Comparative, and International Law materials. Casey broke down the components of FCIL materials and listed types of resources that generally accompany each, such as codes and gazettes. Her talk was supplemented by a handout listing major print as well as free and fee-based electronic FCIL resources.
Due to the nature of foreign publishing, managing the time expectations of researchers is key when hunting down resources. Creating an FCIL policy was also suggested to help smooth out questions relating to formats, foreign language acquisitions, and binding policies for pamphlet-type publications. For anyone beginning their journey into FCIL collection, Casey’s talk and handout were likely to be a great resource.