Category Archives: Advanced Legal Research

ALR Student’s Corner: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Website

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by Congress, in response to the thousands of bank failures that occurred in the 1920s and early 1930s, to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system. To advance this goal, the FDIC insures deposits in banks and thrift institutions for amounts up to $250,000; examines and supervises financial institutions for safety, soundness, and consumer protection; and manages receiverships when banks fail.  Since the start of FDIC insurance on January 1, 1934, no depositor has lost a single cent of insured funds as a result of a failure.

The President appoints and the Senate confirms a five-person Board of Directors at the FDIC – no more than three directors can be from the same political party – to manage the supervision of more than 4,500 banks and savings banks for operational safety and soundness.  This is more than half of the institutions in the banking system. Generally, banks can be chartered by the states or by the federal government, but banks chartered by states also have the choice of whether to join the Federal Reserve System. The FDIC is the primary federal regulator of banks that are chartered by the states, but they do not join the Federal Reserve System. In addition, the FDIC is the back-up authority for the remaining insured banks and thrift institutions.

When a bank or thrift institution fails, the FDIC responds immediately to protect insured depositors, which typically involves the chartering authority – the state regulator or Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – closing the troubled institution. The FDIC has several options for resolving institution failures; most commonly, it sells deposits and loans of the failed institution to other institutions, hence, the process of bank mergers and acquisitions. Most of the time, the transition for customers is relatively easy, since those of the failed institution automatically become customers of the assuming institution.

Every consumer who has established a deposit account with any insured banking institution will benefit from being up-to-date on the information provided by this website. The FDIC provides resources to educate and protect consumers, revitalize communities, and promote compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws.  The website has a page dedicated to Consumer News & Information, which are free publications to help consumers be better informed. The Consumer Assistance Online Form gives consumers the opportunity to submit comments and bank complaints.  There is also a traditional search box for research queries of the website’s resources and information.

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The website makes navigating easy by providing a section dedicated specifically to first-time users. To access the First-Time Users webpage, click the link “Help for First Time Users” located under the “Quick Links” tab on the homepage.  The quick links to the most popular materials on the FDIC’s website make navigation seamless because they are categorized by “types of users” and customized to meet the needs of a particular user. Additionally, the main navigation drop-down tab, located on the homepage, provides links to materials in the following categories: Deposit Insurance, Consumer Protection, Industry Analysis, Regulation & Examinations, Asset Sales, News & Events, and About FDIC.  Below is a short description of the scope and purpose of each category:

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  • Deposit Insurance consists of information on insured institutions, deposit insurance coverage of individual accounts, and the deposit insurance premium system.
  • Consumer Protection includes resources that are used to educate and protect consumers, revitalize communities, and promote compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws.
  • Industry Analysis offers financial information on specific banks, as well as analysis of the banking industry and economic trends.
  • Regulations & Examinations provides information on banking laws and regulations and applicable policies and procedures used by the FDIC in examining financial institutions.
  • Asset Sales involves information concerning loans, real estate, and other assets for sale by the FDIC in its role as receiver for failed institutions.
  • News & Events offers FDIC announcements and provides a schedule of FDIC-sponsored events.
  • About FDIC provides explanations of what the FDIC is and what it does, as well as the corporation’s plan and reports, current job openings, and business opportunities with the FDIC.

~ Courtney Clark, L’15 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: The Central Intelligence Agency’s Website

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The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is responsible for providing national security intelligence to US policymakers. The CIA’s website states that its mission is to “preempt threats and further US national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the President, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our Nation safe.” The CIA’s website can easily be accessed by logging onto https://www.cia.gov.   Once on the website, users have the ability to learn more about the role of the CIA, explore available careers and internships, and search intelligence reports in the CIA library.

The content on the website suggests that its target audience are members of the general public. The different categories on the website help users find the information they are looking for by grouping the information by topic. Some of the information on the website includes details about the history of the CIA and how it is currently structured. There is also a library section that provides current and archived reports about CIA operations and world events, as well as a news and information section that provides press releases and featured stories.

The website’s user-friendly set-up allows users to navigate it with ease. For example, located across the top of the homepage are six tabs: Home, About CIA, Careers and Internships, Offices of CIA, News and Information, Library, and Kids’ Zone. So, if a user is trying to find out about the different leadership positions within the CIA, the first step would be to click on the tab labeled “About CIA.” Second, the user would click on the link titled “Leadership” that is displayed in the drop-down menu. This will display a part of the website that gives a detailed description of all the leadership positions within the CIA.

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The website is also extremely interactive. Along the left column of the website, there is a link to the CIA’s YouTube channel. Once on the YouTube channel, users can watch videos to learn more about the organization’s structure and operation. There is also a virtual tour available to provide users with the opportunity to see inside the CIA Headquarters. At the bottom of the right column, there is a section labeled “Kids’ Zone.” This section is divided by age group. There is a section for K-5th grade, 6th-12th grade, and parents and teachers. Additionally, there is a link to games that allow kids to learn about the CIA by completing such games as word find and break the code.

The CIA’s website is a great user-friendly resource. It not only provides an abundance of information about the history and current structure of the organization, but also includes informative videos and an interactive game section for kids.  Regardless of whether the user is needing information for a research project or just wants to learn more about the CIA, the website has something for everyone.

~ Jeremy Babb, L’15 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: Law and Practice with Forms

Civil and criminal practice guides are astonishingly beneficial sources for both practicing attorneys and laypersons. Practice guides provide detailed information about specific areas of litigation, from annotations, to checklists, to fillable forms, to recent news about relevant legislation.

Workers Compensation is an area of litigation that has both cost effective and expensive (i.e. WestlawNext, Lexis Advance) electronic and print practice guides. With the intention of elaborating on a helpful resource for the newly formed law firm that needs to save on overhead costs, and the large firm that can afford a yearly subscription to WestlawNext, I will review North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: Law & Practice with Forms.

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This practice guide gives in-depth coverage to every component of workers’ compensation.  Substantive and procedural issues analyzed include the following subtopics in workers’ compensation law: jurisdiction, notice, definition/classifications of employer and employee, accidents arising out of employment, insurance, minors and incompetents, disability benefits, statute of limitations, medical expenses and treatment, and hearings and appeals before the Industrial Commission.  For every issue and subtopic covered, the practice guide references the applicable North Carolina cases in the footnotes.

Additionally, the practice guide includes forms, pulled directly from the Industrial Commission and downloadable in PDF format, and a brief summary about the key forms.   The appendix provides links to the following supplemental materials: 1) North Carolina Industrial Commission Rules, 2) guidelines for payment of fees to medical providers, and 3) ethics opinions.  Workers’ compensation is a challenging area of law, but the “general summary” chapter and “interpretation of policies” chapter help to demystify such complex issues as insurance and hearings before the Industrial Committee.

A general table of contents, consisting of 33 chapters and appendices, and as many indices as there are subtopics help to navigate the practice guide.  The print version of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: Law & Practice with Forms is located in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at the Charlotte School of Law library; the call number (KFN7742 .J47) can be accessed via the library catalog with the following search string: north carolina workers compensation.  To locate the practice guide on WestlawNext, drill down in accordance with the navigational steps below:

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This practice guide is in an incredible resource and a one-stop-shop for attorneys practicing in workers’ compensation law.  Unfortunately, the electronic version of the practice guide on WestlawNext is quite expensive.  Thankfully, the continually updated print version at the CSL library provides a cost effective alternative.

~ Elizabeth Bowling, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Douglas’ Forms

Douglas’ Forms is an indispensable, five volume set of hundreds of forms covering the following areas of North Carolina civil practice: Business Transactions; Civil Litigation; Wills, Trusts, and Estate Administration; and Domestic Relations and Guardians.

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Whether you are a new attorney starting in a large firm or a seasoned attorney managing your own practice, Douglas’ Forms will save you valuable time drafting documents, which is now more important than ever, as attorneys shift their billing structures, away from hourly billing and to such things as fee-for-service solutions, to satisfy and retain clients who have become savvier at negotiating attorneys’ fees.

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Douglas’ Forms can be accessed electronically via the Charlotte School of Law library catalog or Lexis Advance.    For those who prefer print, Douglas’ Forms can also be accessed at CSL’s Library on the fifth floor in the “Reference: Carolinas” section.  But, if you get lost in the stacks, even with the call number (KFN7468.D622) in hand, there is always a reference librarian to assist (by the way, CSL has the best reference librarians ever).

Researching electronically on Lexis Advance for the correct Douglas’ form should begin the same way as any other research project, with an effective search string.  For example, my client, a hospital, would like to enter into a joint venture with a medical practice.  Therefore, I need to draft a joint venture agreement. To access Douglas’ Forms on Lexis Advance, I can either type the title in the universal search box or use the “Browse Sources” feature.  Once I’ve pulled up the resource, the most efficient starting point is to search “joint venture” from the Table of Contents tab. Then, from the result list, click the link for “Form 8-5 Joint Venture Agreement.”

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Once the document is open, click the save icon to import into your word processing platform.

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The last step before downloading is to choose the document format, format options, and content-specific options.

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After you click download, retrieve the form by clicking the .docx link from the pop-up window.

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Finally, the form will require minor formatting adjustments depending on the word processing platform being used. Now all that is left is to tweak the contract according to the agreed upon terms and make sure the contract does not violate either federal Stark law or Anti-Kickback laws.

Douglas’ Forms is an excellent resource for essential forms related to every aspect of North Carolina civil practice, designed for attorneys to adapt the relevant form to their client’s particular situation.  So, why recreate the wheel – save yourself some time with Douglas’ Forms.

~ Kriss Anne Carlstrom, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Lee’s North Carolina Family Law

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Introduction

Lee’s North Carolina Family Law (“Lee’s”) is a vital secondary resource for attorneys practicing family law in North Carolina.  The Fifth Edition of this treatise, authored by Suzanne Reynolds and published by The Michie Company of Charlottesville, Virginia, provides comprehensive coverage and analysis of family law in North Carolina, including but not limited to substantive case law and statutes, overview of relationships from marriage to divorce, and the parent child relationship.

Lee’s is located in the Charlotte School of Law Library on the fifth floor in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at Call Number: KFN7494.L43, or by searching “family law north carolina” in the Library Catalog.  Additionally, Lee’s can be accessed electronically with a valid Lexis Advance login and the following navigational steps: 1) click on “Browse Source” in the upper right corner, 2) choose sources beginning with the letter “L”, and 3) select Lee’s North Carolina Family Law.  However, this post focuses on the hardcopy print volumes of Lee’s.

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Author Suzanne Reynolds is an Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law.  Suzanne is widely recognized for her scholarship and research in the family law field.  She was the principal drafter of the North Carolina statutes modernizing alimony and adoption.

The Fifth Edition of Lee’s is a three-volume hardback series originally published in 1993, but is routinely updated and kept current with additional pocket parts which can be found on the inside back cover of the relevant volume.  The most current pocket parts were updated in December 2012.

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Content of Lee’s North Carolina Family Law

As aforementioned, Lee’s is divided into three volumes covering all aspects of family law in North Carolina.  Volume I covers Acts Prior to Marriage, Entering Marriage, Annulments, Nonmarital Living Arrangements, Spousal Rights and Obligations during Marriage, and Divorce from Bed and Board.  Volume II focuses on Absolute Divorce, Post-Separation Support, Alimony, Child Support, and Enforcement of Awards.  Additionally, Volume III addresses Division of Property Upon Divorce-Equitable Distribution, Child Custody, Separation Agreements, Parent and Child Relationship, Unmarried Parents and Their Children, Adoption and Assisted Conception, and Procreational Liberties- Abortion and Sterilization.

The volumes combine ease of use with practicality by outlining specific topics efficiently and thoroughly.  However, the researcher must be careful not to rely solely on the Summary Table of Contents because the corresponding Table of Contents contains topics that might not seem correlated at first glance.  The Summary Table of Contents at the beginning of each volume lays out the topics covered and the applicable page numbers with clarity and precision.  Furthermore, the actual Table of Contents is intricately detailed, which is initially overwhelming, but ultimately incredibly valuable to the user as a research tool.

The annotations are another incredible research tool.  In the footnotes section on nearly every page, Lee’s provides citations and references to secondary authority, such as articles and scholarly journals, and to primary authority, such as case law and statutes, that are on-point with the legal issue being discussed.  Moreover, all three volumes contain a “Table of Cases” and “Table of Statutes” that a cost-conscious researcher can then look up for free on FastCase or the www.nccourts.org website.

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this practice guide is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Suppose, on behalf of a client, I was researching the requisite elements of the marital tort, alienation of affection.  Upon consulting the Volume I Summary Table of Contents, I see that Chapter 5 deals with Spousal Rights and Obligations during Marriage.  Subsequently, a search of the Chapter 5 Table of Contents reveals that “Alienation of affections and criminal conversation; elements” are located in § 5:46(A) on page 393.  There, I learn the requisite elements of alienation of affection are as follows: 1) marriage with love and affection, 2) love and affection alienated and destroyed; and 3) defendant with malice, caused the loss of love and affection.  The text includes a relevant footnote to the premier North Carolina case explaining and analyzing the elements.  Furthermore, the text provides legal analysis discussing the satisfaction of each element and additional references to the relevant case law.

Conclusion

If an attorney is under a time crunch, Lee’s in print might not be the most time efficient resource, relative to the ease of navigating the electronic version on Lexis Advance. But, if that same attorney seeks comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the legal principles of family law in North Carolina, then Lee’s in print at the Charlotte School of Law library is the same invaluable tool, only more of bargain.

~ Michael Haigler, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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