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LRAW Research Fall 2024

Orientation to LRAW and the Law Library

Law Library Home Pagescreenshot

The law library home page,, is your starting point for legal research.


To be even more efficient, you can bookmark the resources you'll need for LRAW:


Quick Links at that are useful for LRAW include:

  • Ask a Librarian — online chat with a law librarian Monday-Friday, 9 to 5
    On the other side of the chat is a human who can answer law students' questions, or redirect to someone who can answer. You can ask anonymously.
  • LRAW Research Textbook — the text you're reading now
  • Lexis (see below)
  • Westlaw / TWEN (see below)

Technology Requirements

You will use technology in LRAW and throughout law school to access course documents and complete assignments; to collaborate with classmates; perform clinical, intern/externship, clerkship, and even paid work; and meet with classmates, professors, and future or current employers.

You can access more information on these tools and mobile computing in general from Academic Technology. If you need more information about these tools, please ask.

We expect that you will have up-to-date technology, including:

  • A laptop or tablet that has a current operating system with updates installed (i.e. Mac OS Sonoma, Ventura, or Monterey, or Windows 10/11), plus headphones/earphones with microphone, and a webcam (integrated or not).
  • Reliable data storage to store and backup your work. This might be a USB drive or cloud storage like OneDrive which comes with your Microsoft Office 365 account.

The Law School provides several software packages for free that you will need to download and use, including:

  • Microsoft Office 365You can access the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite for free by logging into your student email account, clicking on the Gear icon in the upper right, and selecting “Office 365.” This package includes, among others, Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams, both online and offline versions. We suggest that you download and install at least Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams to your computer, as the installed versions of these programs have capabilities that the online versions do not.

Additionally, the Microsoft Word Fundamentals for Efficient Lawyers and Law Students guide developed by Professor Amy Milligan offers tips and instructions, plus links to tutorials, for key tasks in MS Word for law students and lawyers.

Online Legal Research Platforms

What are Westlaw and Lexis?

Westlaw and Lexis are two platforms that many practicing lawyers use to do online legal research. They are competitors, and they have other competitors as well.

The law library pays for your subscription to both platforms, so you can become accustomed to both interfaces.

You will be using both Westlaw and Lexis to do online legal research throughout the Fall semester in LRAW.

In the Spring semester, we will continue using both Westlaw and Lexis, and we will expand our focus to include other platforms at that time.

The idea is to prepare you so that no matter which platform a future employer uses, or switches to down the road, you will be ready to research!

Registering Your Westlaw & Lexis Accounts

Registering Your Westlaw Account

  1. Go to
  2. Type your name, email address, and Registration Key. Your LRAW professor for Research gives you your Registration Key. Click Start Registration.
  3. Follow the prompts to "Register a product" (the product is Law School Portal) and "Create profile." 
  4. After you have created a OnePass Profile, click Continue to Law School Portal. Fill out the additional registration information for Law School Registration. You can use the law school address—1525 Senate St, Columbia, SC 29208—if you don't want to use your own address. For the graduation date, select Spring 2027. Click Agree & Register.

Registering Your Lexis Account

  1. Go to and click Register for Lexis+.
  2. Follow the prompts to register. Your LRAW professor for Research gives you the school Registration Code.
  3. Complete your personal and sign-in profiles.

Using Westlaw & Lexis


After setting up your accounts, bookmark these two pages in your browser so you can easily get to Westlaw and Lexis.

Westlaw and Lexis are also linked from the law library homepage,, just in case.


If you encounter problems with your passwords, contact our dedicated account managers at Westlaw or Lexis.

Learning Platforms

Blackboard and TWEN

Blackboard and TWEN (The West Education Network) are learning platforms.

  • Blackboard uses your USC Network ID and password. On Blackboard, you have been automatically added to your classes.
  • TWEN uses your Westlaw username and password (also known as OnePass, which you used the instructions above to create). If your professor uses TWEN, you will need to add the TWEN course (using the instructions below).

USC Law professors may choose Blackboard, or TWEN, or both, or neither, to organize their class materials.

You will need to find out from your LRAW professor—and from each of your professors for your other classes—which learning platform(s) they have chosen.


CALI provides online lessons you can do on your own to supplement your learning for any of your classes. Ask your LRAW professor or any librarian for the USC Law CALI registration code to set up your own CALI username and password.

Adding a TWEN Course

To add a TWEN course, you must first have registered for a Westlaw account. (Registering your Westlaw account.)

screenshotOnce you receive your Westlaw password, sign in to Westlaw at

After signing in, select TWEN from the bar at the top of the page. Select TWEN from the drop-down menu.


To add a TWEN course, click the triangle by the Manage Courses button, and choose Add Course from the drop-down menu.


Find your course in the list, and select the correct section. Then, click the blue +Add button.screenshot

When you close the list of USC courses and return to your TWEN home page, the course you added should be in My Courses.

Now you can click the name of the course to find the course materials your professor provides on TWEN.

Legal Research, Analysis & Writing (LRAW)


I’m Seth Stoughton, and I am here to talk to you about the importance of LRAW, which is weird, because I don’t teach LRAW. I teach Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, classes like that. But I need you to know that the skills you are learning in LRAW are the skills that I need you to be able to apply in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure and in any of your doctrinal classes. What you’re learning in LRAW is how to do legal analysis. And what I need you to be able to do, and what your other doctrinal professors need you to be able to do, is legal analysis. So if you’re wondering, how do I figure out this complicated issue of mens rea? Or, how do I approach this Fourth Amendment question, or this contracts question or this health law question? The answer is: do good legal analysis.

Legal Research Expectations from South Carolina Lawyers


Please describe typical research projects you might assign to law clerks or first-year associates.

  • 00:27 research to support correspondence or motions
  • 01:00 research on a narrow topic
  • 01:20 research at any stage of the litigation process
  • 02:00 research on judicial candidates
  • 02:30 research in business disputes
  • 02:50 research on topics such as the Freedom of Information Act or premises liability
  • 03:30 procedural research, for example, about subpoenas
  • 04:15 research about legislation
  • 04:54 family law research
  • 05:30 research on motions for summary judgment


How can law clerks or first-year associates present the results of their research in a way that is most helpful to you?

  • 06:20 Make your work "brief-ready."
  • 07:05 Proofread, be critical of your own work, consider both sides, and do full research.
  • 07:40 Start broad, using secondary sources, and narrow it down.
  • 07:50 Use a template or checklist.
  • 08:47 Bluebook (Provide proper citations.)
  • 09:56 Ask for clarification when needed.


What research resources do you use, or do you expect law clerks to use?

  • 11:10 Efficient online legal research using Lexis and Westlaw, as well as books.
  • 11:40 Fastcase
  • 12:17 Get help from Westlaw and Lexis agents, and go beyond what what they provide.


What are some typical research pitfalls, and how can law clerks avoid them?

  • 13:20 Address problems early.
  • 14:00 Ask questions when you don't understand.
  • 15:05 Answer the question that is asked, without under-researching or over-researching.
  • 15:22 If you've never heard of something before, ask for clarification instead of Googling.


Any comments on professionalism?

  • 16:18 The more you put into your work, the more you get out of it.
  • 16:28 Be invested in helping the client.
  • 17:07 Lawyers will be depending on you.
  • 17:54 You can't do it all yourself; don't rely only on your own perspective.
  • 18:28 How you talk to people in all walks of life reflects on your professionalism.
  • 19:16 Provide unbiased information, and cite your sources.
  • 19:48 Take your LRAW class seriously.