News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Law Library Legal Research Seminars – Always Available for You!

Law Library Legal Research Seminars are for C|M|LAW students, including our MLS and LLM students.  The Seminars are continuously available online via the Westlaw TWEN platform.  You earn points for completing an online Seminar by correctly answering 3/4 of the questions on that Seminar’s quiz.  Your Seminar points are good for the entire time you are here at C|M|LAW.  When you earn 100 points, you are awarded a Law Library Legal Research Letter of Recognition and a Digital Badge, which you can post to your LinkedIn page.  You can earn multiple Letters and Digital Badges.  Here are the currently available online Law Library Legal Research Seminars:

  • Starting Research with Secondary Sources – Why recreate the wheel? Examine how secondary sources explain and analyze “the law” for you, as well as cite primary authority. [17:02 mins; 12.5 points]
  • Westlaw Overview – [10:48 mins; 12.5 points] – Leap beyond Google and start to harness this legal research gtiant. Understand big box and pre-filtered searching, as well as how to print/download/email search results.
  • KeyCite – [10:16 mins; 12.5 points] – Why is a red flag different from a yellow flag, and what should you do when you see either one? Learn how to use the Westlaw citator service to update and expand your research.
  • Lexis Advance Overview – [21:11 mins; 12.5 points] – One more time, leap beyond Google and start to harness this legal research gtiant. Understand big box and pre-filtered searching, as well as how to print/download/email search results.
  • Shepard’s – [11:54 mins; 12.5 points] – Why is a red stop sign different from a yellow triangle, and what should you do when you see either one? Learn how to use the Lexis Advance citator service to update and expand your research.
  • Terms & Connectors Searching – Explore the power of search techniques beyond natural language searching. Learn the basics of combining terms & phrases in effective search statements. [10:48 mins; 12.5 points]
  • Bluebooking – For faster legal drafting, review how to effectively apply citation and style rules, as well as abbreviation and jurisdiction tables. [38:47 mins; 25 points]
  • Administrative Law – [29:59 mins; 25 points] Break through the mysteries of agency rulemaking and case adjudication. Learn the key resources for finding federal and Ohio agency regulations and decisions.
  • Bioethics Resources & Scholarly Writing – Examine a wide array of bioethics resources, and learn how these resources can be used to select a paper topic and conduct effective research on that topic. [28:33 mins; 25 points]

For more information on the Law Library Legal Research Seminars, contact Laura Ray, Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian.

3/1 Half-Hour “Cost-Effective Searching” Seminar

Image of laptop and notepadThe Cost-Effective Searching on Lexis Advance & WestlawNext Seminar is today, March 1st, 5pm-5:30pm, in Law Library Room 212 (2nd floor, north end of Library).  Attendees will earn 12.5 points toward a Law Library Research Certificate.

Here are key points about the Law Library Research Certificate Seminars this Spring 2016 semester:

  • You do not need to register in order to take a Seminar –  simply come to the Seminar(s) you want to attend.  We will take attendance at each Seminar, to be sure you are credited points as you earn them.
  • We are offering a few 30-minute very focused Seminars, but most will be 60-minute in-depth Seminars.  Many of the Seminars will concern WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law, as well as key research strategies and resources for students working this semester or during the summer.
  • You earn 12.5 points for attending a 30-minute Seminar, and 25 points for attending a 60-minute Seminar.  Your Seminar points are good for the entire time you are here at C|M|LAW.  When you earn 100 points, you are awarded a Law Library Research Certificate, and you can earn multiple Certificates.  [You cannot earn points for attending the same Seminar twice.]
  • If you earn a Certificate within the 2015-2016 academic year, you will be entered into a drawing for a $150 Amazon gift card!

Unless otherwise indicated, the Spring 2016 Seminars will be on Tuesdays, in Law Library Room 212.  Here is a list of the remaining Spring 2016 semester Seminar dates, times, and topics:

  • March 8th –  4:50pm-5:50pm –  Using Ravel Law & Fastcase –  Not everyone has Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, or WestlawNext at work.  This Seminar will examine content and search features of two “alternative” legal research systems.
  • Thursday, March 24th –  4:50pm-5:50pm –  Administrative Law & Legislative History Research Refresher –  This Seminar will help get you back up to speed in these commonly assigned legal research project areas.
  • March 29th –  4:50pm-5:50pm –  Ohio Legal Research for Your Summer Associate Experience –  This Seminar will discuss strategies and resources in Ohio legal research to help you ace your legal research work projects.
  • April 5th –  4:30pm-5:45pm –  LB60 –  Getting Ready to Clerk –  This Seminar is a joint program with the C|M|LAW Office of Career Planning.  After a review of Law Library resources and professionalism issues, legal practitioners will discuss the types of projects to expect, how projects are typically assigned, the type of feedback to expect, as well as overall tips and advice on how to best approach your work.

Questions?  Contact Laura Ray, Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian, 216-687-6880,

How Does Lexis Advance Rank Results?

When you perform a search on Lexis Advance, the results you get are ordered by Relevance.  You can select another results order by going to the Sort By pulldown menu in the upper right,  and select jurisdiction, court, date or document title.

How does Lexis Advance order by relevance?  Several factors influence the results ranking including:

  • Phrase recognition:  Priority is given to documents containing legally related terms and phrases identified within the search query.  For example, for a query probable cause, a document containing probable cause would be more highly ranked than a document containing probable and cause.
  • Case names and citations:   The Lexis Advance search algorithm recognizes case names and loose/exact use of case citations, and will more highly rank documents referencing them.
  • Concentration of terms:  The closer that search terms exists to one-another, the more highly ranked a document will be in your answer set.
  • Coverage of terms:  Documents which contain all the terms specified rank higher than documents which contain fewer terms but more individual hits.
  • Prominence: With respect to case law, the prominence or landmark-status of a potentially responsive document will increase its ranking.
  • Recentness of information; level of rendering authority; jurisdiction or forum (local, state, for federal); and validity of the content (has it been negatively impacted by later authority).
  • Document Segments: “hits” within certain segments of the document are more important for certain types of searches.

Improvements to Lexis Advance

  •  Atleast command available – pull up documents where a word or phrase is mentioned at least a certain number of times.  This is a good way to find documents with an in-depth discussion instead of getting tons of results that just mention the search term in passing.
  • Litigation Profiles provide information on judges and lawyers.  A great way to prepare for a job interview.  To access, click on the red Research tab at the top left of  Lexis Advance.  Then select Litigation Profile Suite.
  • Shepard’s Grid view shows a colorful chart of the number of positive, negative or neutral cases in each jurisdiction.   Click on a box, eg. positive cases in the Sixth Circuit, to see a list of cases.  There is another chart showing cases by year  by treatment(positive, negative, etc.)  Shepard’s history also has a useful Map View, to visually show what happened in the case at various court levels and when.


Prior improvements are mentioned in these posts:

but a few bear repeating:

  • Topic Summaries – On most cases, click on Topic Summaries: View Reports on the right.  For various topics discussed in the case, (eg. felony murder or expert witnesses), get a definition, the major cases, secondary sources, elements, burden of proof and standard of review.
  • Legal Issue Trail – Select a paragraph in a case, and get cases that cite to the issue discussed in that paragraph.

Segment Searching Now Available in Lexis Advance

Segments can now be used when searching Lexis Advance, including name, court, writtenby, title, summary, headline and more.   The Atleast connector is also available (e.g. Atl5(Obama)), as well as more pre and post filtering options.

Another new feature is the Depth of Discussion indicators in the Shepard’s reports.  Table of Authorities are now included in the Shepard’s reports too.

Finally, much content has been added to Lexis Advance, including Ohio Jury Instructions and Ohio Forms of Pleading and Practice.  99% of is now on Lexis Advance.

Discussion indicators in Shepards: