Chapter Seven: The Legal System and Legal Research

This chapter is only a general introduction to legal research for a federal prison lawsuit. It does not explain how to research other legal problems you face, and it does not go into every detail that could be useful for a Section 1983 or Bivens suit.

Although the rules explained in this chapter are very complicated, it is important to keep in mind that most judges will understand that you are not a lawyer, and they won’t disregard your arguments just because you cite a case wrong. Lawyers spend years perfecting their legal research and writing skills, and usually have the […]

When you make a legal argument, you should always back it up by citing the names of the cases you are referring to. Every decision in a case has an official “citation,” which is the case name, followed by a bunch of letters and numbers that tell you where you can find a copy of […]

To understand how to make legal arguments, it is important to have an understanding of our court system. This section focuses on the Federal Court system. Every state has its own state court system, which is separate from the federal system. 1. The Federal Court System The federal court system is not separated by state, […]