How To Use This Book

Locating Standards of Review:   You may use either the Table of Contents or the “search” function (located in the upper right hand corner of the book) to find the standard of review applicable to your issue.  In our view, the search function will yield the most efficient results, given that reasonable minds may differ on where to place a certain topic within the Table of Contents.   It would not be unwise to use both tools.

As a Starting Point for Legal Research: Computerized legal research oftentimes gives one too much information.  You can use this book to get a head start on identifying the most recent cases on a particular point.

For example, assume you are responding to a motion to amend a complaint filed by opposing counsel.  If you search “motion to amend” in this text you will quickly find the chapter “Pleadings, Motion to Amend.”  As of this writing, that search will lead you to the summary of three decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court and three of the Court of Appeals addressing the subject.  Look at the quoted material and you will find the standard of review.  But click on the links to the cited cases and you will find a discussion of the law of amendments to pleadings in six recent cases, and citations to even more cases.  The total time to enter the search term and find the six recent cases is less than ten seconds.

Of course, you will have to exercise professional judgment about how much deeper you need to research the issue of interest.   But for routine matters at the trial court level, my guess is your experience is like mine:  the quicker you can find a leading case(s) the quicker you can complete your research.  Searching for case law in this way allows you to quickly find the cases the appellate courts thinks are leading cases on a particular issue and will help you identify arguments other lawyers have made on both side of the issue.


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