Your research will require you to investigate the official websites
for all state court systems. Most states also have a state law library
website, with librarian help. Most are linked in the court system or bar
association site. Find the trial courts of your state.
Keep track of your research efforts for question 4 below. The
LexisNexis site in the online library does not have a compiled list of
the levels of court for each state. Our Rasmussen librarians can help
you by recommending ways to navigate state court websites.
the correct court where the criminal case will be held. Assume that the
criminal case will be in a court that handles felonies. If no court is
specified for criminal cases, use the court of general jurisdiction. It
should be the state court in your state.
- Identify the correct
court for the civil lawsuit. Again, use the state court in your state.
Assume the lawsuit will be for $25,000 or more. As for criminal, if no
court is specified for civil lawsuits, use the court of general
- Does your state have one or two levels of appeal? What is the name of each court? Which court is the top one? Hints:
Possible examples are Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. Unlike the
U.S. federal courts, your state may not label the top court as Supreme,
so be careful.
- What efforts did you make in your research? State which websites you used
and whether it took a number of repeated attempts to find what you were
looking for. Did you use phone calls or emails to the state court
system, or a librarian, before you were sure you understood the
structure of your state’s courts? What road blocks and successes did you
meet? Using help and learning how to report which methods worked and
failed are paralegal skills and add to your score.