Research Guides

Thurgood Marshall Law Library Guide to Legal Research,
2013 - 2014


Prepared 2013 by the Thurgood Marshall Law Library Instructional Group. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint any part of this work, contact the administration of the Thurgood Marshall Law Library.

CHAPTER 1 (Full Chapter - PDF)

INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL AUTHORITIES AND LEGAL RESEARCH

  1. Introduction
  2. How does legal research differ from research in other contexts?
  3. Types of legal authorities
  4. Relationship between statutory law and case law
  5. The universe of choices for legal research
  6. The legal research process
  7. Understanding citations to basic primary sources

CHAPTER 2 (Full Chapter - PDF)

ELECTRONIC RESEARCH TECHNIQUES

  1. Electronic research basics
  2. Boolean searching
  3. Field and segment searching
  4. Lexis and Westlaw basics
  5. Westlaw Next: organization of materials
  6. Lexis Advance: organization of materials
  7. Selecting databases/sources
  8. Composing Lexis and Westlaw searches
  9. Quick tips for composing online searches
  10. Newer subscription databases for legal research
  11. Internet research
  12. Strategies for Internet research

CHAPTER 3 (Full Chapter - PDF)

BACKGROUND RESEARCH USING SECONDARY SOURCES

  1. Secondary sources: background
  2. Using legal periodicals
  3. Using legal encyclopedias
  4. Using treatises, hornbooks, and nutshells
  5. Using Restatements
  6. Using American Law Reports
  7. Using litigation sources
  8. Tips for using secondary sources
  9. Practice materials and form books
  10. Preparing for trial: selected environmental sources
  11. Highlights of Bluebook form for secondary sources

CHAPTER 4 (Full Chapter - PDF)

STATUTORY LAW RESEARCH

  1. Statutory law: background
  2. Terminology used in statutory research
  3. Sources for statutory research
  4. Highlights of Bluebook form for statutes

CHAPTER 5 (Full Chapter - PDF)

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY RESEARCH

  1. Getting started
  2. Researching federal legislative history
  3. Rsearching Maryland legislative history

CHAPTER 6 (Full Chapter - PDF)

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW RESEARCH

  1. Strategies for researching administrative materials
  2. Using looseleaf services: basic pointers
  3. Topical databases and online looseleafs

CHAPTER 7 (Full Chapter - PDF)

CASE LAW RESEARCH

  1. Case law: background
  2. Court hierarchies and the appellate process
  3. Print sources for case law research
  4. Electronic sources for case law research
  5. Citators: function and formats
  6. Print citators
  7. Electronic citators
  8. Citation format for cases
  9. Highlights of Bluebook form for cases

CHAPTER 8 (Full Chapter - PDF)

RESEARCHING A STATE LAW PROBLEM

  1. The legal research process: state law sources
  2. Identifying state court structure and reporters
  3. Using secondary sources for state law problems
  4. Using state annotated codes in print
  5. State and regional case law resources
  6. Using West digests to locate state court cases
  7. Using American Law Reports to locate state court cases
  8. Tips for selecting state law databases
  9. Strategies for researching a state law problem
  10. Highlights of Bluebook form for state law sources

CHAPTER 9 (Full Chapter - PDF)

RESEARCHING A MARYLAND LAW PROBLEM

  1. Maryland code
  2. Maryland session laws
  3. Maryland local law
  4. Retrospective Maryland statute searching
  5. Baltimore city materials
  6. Maryland administrative materials
  7. Maryland case law
  8. Maryland practice materials

CHAPTER 10 (Full Chapter - PDF)

RESEARCHING A FEDERAL LAW PROBLEM

  1. The legal research process: federal law sources
  2. Federal court system
  3. Using secondary sources for federal law problems
  4. Using American Law Reports Federal
  5. Federal codes
  6. Using federal annotated codes
  7. Federal session laws
  8. Sources for federal case law research
  9. Using the Federal Practice Digest
  10. Federal court rules and practice materials
  11. Strategies for researching federal statutes and case law
  12. Locating and updating federal administrative materials
  13. Highlights of Bluebook form for federal statutes
  14. Highlights of Bluebook form for federal cases
  15. Highlights of Bluebook form for federal administrative sources

CHAPTER 11 (Full Chapter - PDF)

FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL LAW RESEARCH

  1. Terminology used in researching international law
  2. Selected sources for researching United States Treaties
  3. Locating implementing laws and regulations and judicial interpretations
  4. Selected sources for researching world treaties
  5. Strategies for researching international law
  6. Basic foreign law research
  7. Selected sources for researching European Community law

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