July-August CBA Report

T here is a principle in project management known collo- quially as the triple constraint. While there are several complex versions of this principle, a simplified adaptation is this: Ideally, you’d like a project done with quality, completed quickly and accomplished affordably (good, fast and cheap). 1 However, it’s very difficult to have all three of these features at once. You generally need to pick two. For example: 1. You want a project done quickly with high quality work. That likely won’t be cheap. 2. You want a project done affordably with high quality work. That likely won’t be quick. 3. You want a project done quickly and affordably. That won’t necessarily yield the highest quality results. To an extent, this same principle can be applied to legal research. Most researchers recognize that the quickest way to find quality results is by having your own access to a costly legal research database. You can find the same quality results in books or by visiting your local law library to access those databases, but that isn’t necessarily fast. You can do a quick Internet search for an Ohio Revised Code section and conveniently pull it up while on the go, but it won’t have the same annotations or breadth of related material you’d get using other resources. While this seems dispiriting, there are tools available that can provide a better balance of these three features if you know where to look. Keep reading for some insider tips. Statutes There are many places you can access state and federal stat- utes completely free. The Lawriter site is a great go-to for the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code. 2 While it isn’t annotated, the site is well-indexed and easily searchable, whether you’re using Google or its own internal search functionality. The content of the site is updated in a timely manner. The Ohio Revised Code is current through the 132nd General Assembly and the Administrative Code is, as of this writing, current through May 17, 2019. 3 The Ohio General Assembly website provides easy access to bills from the 131st-133rd General Assemblies. 4 In addition to the bill text, you can find a summary of the legislation, analysis by the Legislative Service Commission, Fiscal Notes, the history of the legislation as it has moved through committee and the break- down of votes. There are also transcripts of committee testimony and the ability to track legislation as it moves through the General Assembly. The United States Code is available online in many locations, including government websites such as the Library of Congress 5 and the Government Publishing Office. 6 Another readily acces- sible place to find federal statutes online is the Legal Information Institute, which is a project of the Cornell University Law School. 7 This site provides quick access to the US Constitution and US Code. While not annotated, it is both easily searchable and well- structured for browsing, making it a good stop for quick research. These resources are all available online for free. While they don’t offer robust annotations, they are a quick source for reliable information. There are also research options available as a benefit of membership to certain organizations. While not always tech- nically free, as the memberships often cost money, they offer low cost options that you may not be fully utilizing. Using these, you can up your research game by supplementing free sources with access to additional research tools. Casemaker is available with a membership to the Ohio State Bar Association and provides access to annotated statutes from all 50 states and federal. 8 Its editors frequently update the stat- utes to make sure the content is the most recent version. 9 Fastcase has grown increasingly robust, and is available on site at the Hamilton County Law Library (HCLL) for anyone, and remotely for subscribers who are solo attorneys or whose entire firm subscribes. It also features statutes from all 50 states and federal, with annotations. Additionally, a robust Westlaw plan is avail- Free (and Low Cost) Legal Research Tools By Lauren Morrison 12 l July/August 2019 CBA REPORT www.CincyBar.org Tech Tip