Research Guides

TMLL Research Guide - Chapter 8


THE LEGAL RESEARCH PROCESS: STATE LAW SOURCES


Analyze the facts and formulate a preliminary statement of issues.

Develop a system for organizing research notes & putting cites in Bluebook  form.

Familiarize yourself with the court structure of the jurisdiction.

  • Bluebook Table T1

Do background research to get an overview of the subject area, identify issues and terms, and get clues to primary sources.

  • Hornbooks [Reading Room across from library desk]
  • Law review articles [print - compact shelving on Level 1; Lexis; Westlaw; HeinOnline]
  • American Law Reports (ALR) [print on Level 2; Westlaw]
  • Seek expert advice

Search for legal authority (relevant statutes & cases) using appropriate methods of updating.

  • Annotated codes [print on Level 3 (Md. Code is on Level 2); Lexis; Westlaw]
  • West digests [Level 3 (Md. Digest is on Level 2)
  • full text case databases (Westlaw; Lexis; Internet sites)
  • American Law Reports (ALR) [print on Level 2; Lexis; Westlaw]
  • BCite [Bloomberg Law]
  • Shepard’s [Lexis]
  • KeyCite [Westlaw]

Read and evaluate primary authorities.

  • Reporters [print on Level 3 (Md. reporters on Level 2); Westlaw; Lexis; Internet sites] 

Make sure cases are still good law.

  • BCite [Bloomberg Law]
  • Shepard’s [Lexis]
  • KeyCite [Westlaw]          

Refine analysis & formulate conclusion.

  • Treatises [Level 2; check the library's online catalog]
  • Law review articles
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