Step 5.5 Review and sort sources

Review your sources and sort them according to the legal questions they relate to. You can sort your sources on computer, in manila folders, in filing cabinets, or whatever.187

For one of the simplest methods, sort your printed sources into piles. Decide the first question to address. Turn to the pile that relates to that question and sort the sources into more piles according to the principles of law relating to that question. Continue for each question. After sorting, you will have several smaller piles. 'You should also have a pretty good sense, from reviewing these sources, of the governing principles of law.'188

Software that can help you to sort your sources includes AskSam.

187 See further, for example, Terry Hutchinson, Researching and Writing in Law (2nd ed, 2006) 25.

188 Barbara Cotton, 'Advanced Legal Research and Writing: How to Build a Cadillac' (1991)13 Advocates' Quarterly 232, 239. For a different approach, see Steven D Stark, Writing to Win: The Legal Writer (1999) 63–4 (outline the argument, then research it later).

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