Apr 19

AM JUR Trials

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This LibTour on AM JUR Trials, which you can download here, was written by Darla Jackson. Darla is the Associate Director of the Law Library at Oklahoma City University School of Law.

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This CALI LibTour covers AM JUR Trials. Published by West, a Thomson Reuters business, American Jurisprudence Trials (commonly referred to as AM JUR Trials) has traditionally been a treatise on trial practice.  West has expanded the treatise to include other dispute resolution forums, such as mediation and arbitration.  So for example, in Volume 118, you’ll find an article discussing mediation and arbitration of family law disputes.

The multi-volume set was initially published in 1964 and now contains 119 volumes.  The first six volumes, entitled Practice Strategy Controls, cover matters common to all types of trial practice.  The remaining volumes, entitled Model Trials, contain articles detailing the handling of specific types of issues, including criminal, personal injury, and business transactions.   Articles provide guidance on all phases of litigation and dispute resolution, including client interviews, discovery, pleadings, motions, witness examinations, review, and appeals.  The articles feature checklists, model pleadings, discovery and motion forms, sample litigation aids, sample witness examinations and cross-examinations, and sample opening statements, and final arguments.

AM JUR TRIALS is updated by annual pocket supplements.   The set is accompanied by a separate annual multi-volume softcover index, which is occasionally supplemented with an update pamphlet.   The first volume of the index also contains a Quick Access Guide listing articles by volume and topic.  Index entries are arranged alphabetically by topic; and for volumes 1-76 are pinpointed to volume and page.  Entries for volumes published after volume 76 are pinpointed to the article and section.

Articles in AM JUR TRIALS, unlike the entries in American Jurisprudence Second and other related sets, are not prepared by the editorial staff of the publisher.  Rather, an experienced lawyer authors each article.  Thus, using AM JUR Trials is an excellent means of obtaining practice advice from experienced lawyers in the trial bar.

Let’s use AM JUR Trials to find some guidance on a criminal trial issue in the following scenario.  You are serving as the appointed pro bono counsel for an individual charged with rape.  You normally are involved in civil litigation and would like to obtain some general guidance on handling this type of prosecution.  More specifically, you are interested in learning about DNA evidence in a rape prosecution.   Using the List of Articles by Topic provided by the Quick Access Guide in the first volume of the 2010-2011 Edition of the General Index, you find an article entitled “Handling the Defense in a Rape Prosecution” is located in Volume 18 at page 341.  Before you review the article, you want to see if the article addresses DNA evidence.  You locate the term “Rape” in the General Index, but do not find a reference to DNA evidence under the term rape.  Nonetheless you turn to the article and find useful information, including some cross-examination questions for the complaining witness.  Then, you turn to the 2010 pocket supplement in the back of the volume and find that the article has been updated and despite its omission from the index, Section 50.5 in the update addresses DNA evidence in rape prosecutions.

AM JUR Trials is also available on Westlaw and WestlawNext.   On WestlawNext , the system suggest the resource if you type in “American Juris”;  and AM JUR Trials is also available by following the links for secondary sources on the homepage for academic subscribers.  Typing “DNA in rape prosecution” in the search box for AM JUR Trials does retrieve the new section contained in the 2010 supplement to Volume 18.

For further assistance in using AM JUR Trials, ask a reference assistant or reference librarian.