Dr. Ronald B. Standler
Legal research is necessary to find statutes, cases, and regulations
that can be cited in a Brief as authority to support a litigant's
position, and to inform the judge of the controlling law in the
jurisdiction. Citation of authorities is part of effective advocacy
and is a duty that an attorney owes to his/her client.
For more information on the obligation to do legal research, see my
Legal Research Attorney
Bumbling around in on-line databases can easily waste hundreds — even thousands —
of dollars and can either return too much to read or miss relevant material,
which, together with the need to learn unfamiliar search skills, quite
understandably intimidates new users.
I have used online databases in science, electrical engineering, medicine,
and patents since 1981 and
I have used online legal databases since 1991,
so I am experienced with such research methods.
End of Service
Because of the high cost of a subscription to unlimited use of Westlaw
databases (i.e., $3500/year in 2013), and because of a lack of paying clients
for legal research services, I discontinued my legal research services in
July 2015. I can resume my Westlaw subscription, and resume providing the
legal research services described below, but only if a client
guarantees at least $7500/year in payments to me.
I can quickly search and find relevant cases, statutes, and regulations
in the USA, print them on paper, and send them to you.
Alternatively, I can download relevant cases, statutes, etc. from Westlaw
in PDF and copy them to a compact disk to send to you. That gives you the
ability to search the text for specific words, and — of course —
you can print the files.
Memoranda of Law
I can also prepare a memorandum of law that summarizes and critically reviews
cases, and distinguish apparently contradictory holdings. Such a memorandum
will also include quotations from cases and with citations in
Blue Book format.
Such memoranda can save time for a litigator who is busy with
court proceedings and depositions.
Note that reading and analyzing cases requires significantly more time
than the simple service in the above section, so producing a memorandum
of law is more expensive.
I can send a memorandum as an e-mail attachment in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format —
with printing enabled and cut-and-paste enabled —
for your secretary to use to create future Briefs via cut-and-paste,
without needing to retype the quotations and citations.
This method avoids errors in the quotations and citations in your Brief,
because I obtain the quotations directly from Westlaw via a cut-and-paste.
Litigators are familiar with getting facts and opinions from opponents
through interrogatories, document requests, and depositions.
However, many litigators overlook a parallel way to find
information useful in litigation: searches of published information
in science, engineering, medicine, technology,
engineering standards, and patents.
There are many different ways that such published information can be
useful to litigators, for example:
- find legally significant facts from journals in science, engineering,
or medicine, or from government reports, etc.
Such facts may suggest additional legal theories and help formulate
questions to ask expert witnesses (including impeachment).
- in products liability litigation: find patents to show availability of
a feasible, safer alternative at the time of manufacture.
- in torts: engineering standards may help establish a duty of care for
- in patent infringement litigation:
find prior art to invalidate plaintiff's patent.
- obtain peer-reviewed, scholarly publications to provide to
inexpensive, local expert witnesses, to provide them with a basis for their
opinions that will withstand a Daubert hearing.
- searches of scholarly literature will identify expert witnesses
with an impressive list of peer-reviewed publications
and a strong international reputation.
Because I have more than 16 years of experience in scientific and
engineering research, and because I have more than 14 years of experience
as an attorney,
I can do more than merely find such technical information:
I can also interpret it in the context of law, as well as
provide critical reviews of the technical information.
My brief credentials:
- I earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1977.
- I have more than 16 years of experience doing research in physics and
electrical engineering, including writing more than 35 published technical
papers, and one book that
has been in print for more than twenty years.
- I earned a J.D. in 1998, and I am licensed to practice law in all state
and federal courts in Massachusetts. I am an attorney and consultant
in solo practice. To show my enthusiasm for legal research and analysis,
I have posted at my websites more than 97 scholarly essays on law.
- I have used Dialog online databases in science, engineering, and patents since 1981.
I had a personal DIALOG account continuously from December 1990
until November 2004.
I now access DIALOG from within Westlaw or by credit card.
- I used Lexis online legal databases during 1991-97.
- I have used Westlaw online legal databases extensively since December 1995.
From Sep 2002 until Aug 2013, I had a subscription to unlimited use
of the Westlaw databases for judicial opinions and statutes from all states
and the federal government. During 2003-2013, I spent a total of more than
2200 hours using Westlaw, so I am experienced with Westlaw.
- I have used the online access to U.S. federal court dockets
since August 2002, to retrieve briefs, judgments, and
- I did tedious, manual searches of printed medical abstracts in the 1970s,
and online searches of medical literature since 1981.
My c.v. is posted at my website.
I will personally do all work on your project, so you get the full
benefit of my knowledge and experience.
List of information sources available to me.
Fees and Expenses
I charge an hourly rate for my time, plus reimbursement of expenses, and
interest on invoices that are not paid within 30 days.
Details are posted at my webpage on fees and terms.
I charge for actual expenses of searching databases in Dialog.
My legal research services are available exclusively to licensed
As a matter of policy, I do not work for pro se litigants,
unless they are also a licensed attorney.
Contact Dr. Standler:
Dr. Ronald B. Standler
P.O. Box 3780
Concord, NH 03302-3780
Some attorneys think on-line searches are too expensive,
but searches are much cheaper than the cost of ignorance.
Searches for reported cases on similar facts are an excellent
way to find relevant statutes and legal theories, and to avoid arguments
that failed in the past for good reason. And briefs with many citations
can be more persuasive than arguments without citations to authority.
Companies and individuals often spend hundreds of hours of time "reinventing
the wheel", when a search of technical literature would have quickly
allowed them to build on the results of others and would have avoided
wasting more than $10,000 filing a patent application
that is invalid because of the existence of prior art.
Copyright 2003-2013 by Ronald B. Standler
This document is at http://www.rbs2.com/legres.htm
first posted 24 Sep 2003, revised 30 Oct 2015
go to my Consulting Services on Scientific Evidence in Torts
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