Searching in Google
professions have a favorite search engine. Skillful
searching requires that you, the paralegal, know how to use a
variety of search tools.
If you don't know what jurisdiction your case is
from but you know the names of the parties in a case, you can try
using Google or Yahoo. If you know the names of both parties in the
case, using any of the major search engines should work fairly well.
Construct your search using quotes and all lower
case letters, i.e. "brown v. board of education".
You can also try using keywords from the case, i.e. bowers
and hardwick and privacy and supreme court. If one search
engine doesn't find it, try another. If two or three are unable to
find it, your case may not be on the Web.
Advanced searching in Google
I have had so many students say to me, " I like Google because it
the librarian in me
winced. I do not want to dampen his enthusiasm but I could not let
this go unchallenged.
As a paralegal, you
may be tempted to use Google and Yahoo to find legal information.
Try finding for example, websites devoted to the municipal bond
law OR education law in Yahoo. What is the result? How many
hits to do you get?
Legal professionals sometimes complain that they cannot locate
information on the Web. In this situation, you will have to
apply a few helpful strategies.
For instance, my
uncle is in the hospital for Alzheimer's. You need to track down the
Centers for Medicare &
position on the use of tranquilizers to sedate an elderly
Alzheimer's hospital patient who becomes anxious at night and roams
the night. You want to know whether the use of this drug
violates the patients rights. What do you do?
First step: You could go directly to the CMMS website
but the homepage fails to offer obvious links like "guidelines" or
"patients rights". Further drilling down into the website is
Instead of using the CMMS's website, you might want to go to
Google. Use the advanced search feature. Locate the "find"
option for querying "all" words and enter any of the suggested
- drugs hospital
- drugs patient
- drugs restrain
Before pressing the Google search key, locate
the "domains" field. Select "only" return results and enter the
domain of the agency (in this case it is .gov). The first website
will give you the recommended dosages.