Archive | Legal Research

Now on the Web: IL Legislative Debates Back Through 1971

BookScanned text-searchable transcripts of the Illinois House and Senate floor debates going back to 1971 are now available on the legislature’s website. Before February 2007 the transcripts available online only went back to 1997. This is a significant development that will assist attorneys and other interested persons better understand the context that existed when a particular law was passed.

The Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention held in 1969-70 drafted our current constitution. The legislature or some other institution should make available online the record of those proceedings, which are contained in seven volumes entitled “Record of Proceedings, Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention.” A constitutional convention also drafted the 1870 Illinois Constitution. A record of those proceedings is available online here.

Continue Reading

Copy Protected General Assembly Transcripts?

Here you can access transcripts of the Illinois House and Senate floor debates going back to 1997 1971 (change noted here). The transcripts are in PDF format. On occasion I include an excerpt from a transcript in my work. But I can’t copy and paste from the PDFs because they are set to prohibit copying. Check it out for yourself. Why is the copy function blocked on the PDF transcript files?

NoCopy_GenAssmTrans2

Continue Reading

How to Proofread Perfectly

HeadphonesAnswer: Don’t read it… let the computer do it.

I find the best way to perfectly proofread a document, legal memo, or even an email is to have the computer read it back to me using a text-to-speech program while I follow along looking at the text. I currently use a free utility called “Ultra Hal Text-to-Speech Reader.” The voices in the reader are not the most human-like but it gets the job done.

ITConversations recently featured a talk by Kevin Lenzo who believes that the key speech technology is not speech recognition, but is text-to-speech (TTS). He presents “a long list of possible applications of TTS, including hands-free in-car navigation systems, location-based weather reporting, remote network monitoring, and just-in-time broadcasting.”…

Continue Reading

Illinois Has One Appellate Court

Illinois Appellate Court MapI am surprised at the number of Illinois attorneys who do not know that Illinois has one appellate court. Yes the appellate court is divided into districts, and the first district is further divided into divisions. But the Illinois Supreme Court has long held that all the divisions and subdivisions should be seen as one court. [People v. Layhew, 139 Ill.2d 476, 489-90 (Ill. 1990); People v. Granados, 172 Ill. 2d 358, 371 (Ill. 1996)].

What does this mean? It means, a decision from any district appellate court is binding on circuit courts outside of that district unless there is a conflicting opinion from the appellate court of the district where the circuit court sits. [Schmidt v. Ameritech Illinois, 329 Ill. App. 3d 1020

Continue Reading

Research Tip: How to Quickly Find (for Free) Cases Supporting a Rule of Law

Often when writing a legal memo I come to a point where I want to recite a widely accepted rule of law, like a canon of statutory interpretation. For example, when interpreting a statute the court must determine and give effect to the intent of the legislature. I know there are hundreds of cases which recite this principle. But in legal writing any rule of law should be supported by citation to authority. Running a search on LexisNexis or Westlaw could be expensive. The solution is to search the Illinois Supreme Court website for an opinion supporting the rule of law. Here’s how to do it:

  1. The Illinois Supreme Court website does not make it easy to find the opinions search page. If you click on the opinions link
Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes