Research Guides

Consumer Protection


You may contact Jenny Rensler, the course liaison, for research-related questions at jrensler@law.umaryland.edu.

Getting Started | Secondary Sources: Journals & Law Reviews | Secondary Sources: Books | Primary Sources: Statutory Materials | Primary Sources: Public Records | Primary Sources: Judicial Materials | Related Websites


Getting Started

With any project, unless you are already knowledgeable about the topic area, it is best to start with basic, introductory resources and then to consult more focused works, moving from secondary sources to primary sources.

Secondary sources such as articles and books can provide you with an overview of your topic and help you think of search terms you might not have thought of otherwise. They also cite primary authorities such as statutes and cases. You can use the primary sources cited in secondary sources as a jumping off point to find other primary sources in several ways:

  • Shepardize or KeyCite them to see what other sources have cited them;
  • Read cases to see what other sources they cite;
  • On Westlaw or in West Digests, look up the topics and key numbers in the cases you've already read to find other cases that address the same issues;
  • On Lexis, use "More Like This" to find other sources with wording or citation patterns similar to the document you started with;
  • Read annotations to statutes to find cross references to cases that have analyzed them or regulations that have been issued under their authority.

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Secondary Sources: Journals & Law Reviews

The two main indexes to law journals are LegalTrac and Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (which includes books as well). These indexes include references to many journals not included in Westlaw or Lexis databases and in some cases provide access to the full text electronically. Each of these two online indexes has a parallel print version: the Current Law Index (K33 .C87), and the Index to Legal Periodicals (K9 .N32) are shelved near the print journals on level 1. The Index to Legal Periodicals is particularly helpful if you need to find articles published prior to 1980. For additional help on finding articles, link to Finding Articles in Legal Journals and Law Reviews.

Most print journals are shelved on level 1 of the library, in alphabetical order by journal title. To find out if the library has a particular journal title in electronic format, use the e-journals link on the Library home page or ask a librarian for help.

Lexis:

Westlaw:

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Books

Use the online catalog to find consumer law treatises available in the Thurgood Marshall Law Library. A suggested subject heading to search is Consumer Protection - United States. For research hints on how to use the catalog, see the Research Guide - Searching the Catalog. Also, browse the stacks both on Level 2 and in the Reading Room under KF1610.

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The treatise Consumer Financial Services is available electroncially through Westlaw.

Below are Maryland practice books that you may find helpful throughout the course.

Books - Maryland:

Forms

Lexis:

Westlaw:

 

Primary Sources: Statutory Materials: Consumer Protection

Statutes relating to consumer protection exist at both the federal and state levels.

Some useful electronic sources of statutory and legislative materials are linked below. For more information on federal legislative research, including federal legislative history, see Chapter 5 and Chapter 10 of the Thurgood Marshall Law Library Guide to Legal Research. For more information on state legislative research, including Maryland legislative history, see Chapter 9.

Maryland:

Lexis

Westlaw:

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Primary Sources: Public Records - Maryland

 

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Primary Sources: Judicial Materials

For general information on finding and updating case law, see Chapter 7 of the Thurgood Marshall Law Library Guide to Legal Research.

Free Resources:

Note: Free databases do not include cases dating back as far as the materials in Lexis and Westlaw databases. It is not recommended that you use free case law databases in your research.

 

Lexis:

Tip: If you find one good case on Lexis, you may be able to find others by identifying the headnote that best describes the issue of interest to you, then clicking "More Like This Headnote," or by Shepardizing the case to find other cases that have cited it for the issue represented by that headnote.

Westlaw:

Tip: If you find one good case on Westlaw, you may be able to find others by identifying the headnote that best describes the issue of interest to you, then clicking "Most Cited Cases" for that headnote. You could also try clicking "KeyCite Notes" to find other cases that have cited your good case for issue represented by that headnote.

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Related Websites

Listed below is a selected list of websites of organizations and other entities with information on Consumer Protection:

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