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Top Tips for Choosing Reliable Practice Guides | case text

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As a lawyer or legal professional, you already know that practice guides save you time when doing legal research, drafting a legal document, or in a range of other scenarios. These secondary sources can be particularly helpful when navigating an unfamiliar area of ​​practice or a more nuanced issue in an area of ​​law with which you are familiar.

Practice guides are widely available from a number of publishers and widely used by attorneys, but there are no rules stating how a practice guide should be written, or standard formats dictating what content should be written. , at a minimum, be included.

Therefore, not all practice guides are created equal.

Choosing a trustworthy publication from the many options available can be overwhelming. A practice guide is an investment – a tool in your practice kit – and therefore should be a reliable resource. Below, we’ve outlined some tips that will help you determine if a practice guide is reliable and will meet your practice needs.

Tip 1: What is the publisher’s history?

Take a closer look at the publisher of the practice guide or treatise you are considering. Go to their website. If they are new to the legal publishing industry, consider their expertise in this area.

The publisher may have been in business for a while, but only recently entered the legal publishing industry. These types of publishers do not specialize in legal publications and are likely trying to grab market share from a profitable industry. Look for well-established legal publishers that focus on practical law books, such as James Publishing, a reputable legal publisher that has specialized solely in treatises and practice guides for over 40 years.

Tip 2: Who is the author?

Before investing in a guide, think about the author of the publication. There are several media conglomerates that quickly produce guides covering countless areas of law. While some of these guides may be written by judges or expert practitioners, many are written by anonymous legal analysts who have little or no experience in the practice of law. Is this the person you would need to guide you when crafting a complex legal argument in your brief or preparing for a trial? Probably not.

Look for guides written by practicing lawyers and judges who have several years of experience in the specific area of ​​law and who are highly regarded as experts in their area of ​​practice.

Tip 3: How “practical” is the Practice Guide?

Beware of the boastful practice guide or the overpackaged treatise. These books will claim to be “the most comprehensive guide” to a particular area of ​​law. If a guide really is that comprehensive, it can not only be overwhelming to navigate (which defeats the purpose of saving time), but also quite expensive. Think: do you need the most expensive and comprehensive book in your toolkit, or the guide that has exactly what you need for a fraction of the price?

Go to the table of contents or the index to see what is included. A helpful guide will have what you need for real practice, not just theory. Truly practical guides will contain time-saving motions and pleadings, forms, client letters and step-by-step procedure checklists, model arguments, model questions, pitfalls to avoid and tips practice.

Tip 4: Is the guide searchable?

This ties in with tip 3 above, but think beyond the table of contents. Instead, ask yourself if the practice guide is available in digital format. Purchasing a digitized practice guide means you’ll be able to easily search for a practice guide, so you can quickly find what you need. This makes your practice guide even more valuable, especially when you’re short on time.

Casetext offers 91 top-notch how-to guides from James Publishing. In addition to being real practical guides written by experts, what makes them even more valuable is that they can be purchased and accessed directly from the Casetext platform. The availability of these guides on Casetext makes them even more powerful as they are searchable, making it easier for lawyers to find what they need in their guide.

In short, a practice guide can be a valuable tool in a lawyer’s toolbox. A practice guide is an investment, and to be truly useful it must be reliable, practical and searchable. Next time you’re shopping for an upcoming practice guide or treatise, consider the tips above to help you find the right publication for your practice.