Ten Legal Research Things

February 10, 2006

Here is an item that was inspired by WisBlawg's Top Ten Things Law Librarians Wish Students Would Know or Do. One of our Top Ten Legal Research Things every law school student should know before entering the law firm environment: Before going to Lexis or Westlaw to research an unfamiliar area of law, get acquainted with the subject matter by looking at a resource that contains background information on the issue, such as a hornbook or treatise. Also look to secondary sources, such as legal encyclopedias, Restatements of the Law or ALRs for the "big picture." These can provide relevant background, definitions, case annotations, cite majority and minority rule and survey the law on your issue. A topical looseleaf service such as the CCH Federal Securities Law Reports can also be a handy one-stop shop for relevant laws, regulations, cases and current developments. By all means, update your research with Lexis or Westlaw, but familiarize yourself with your topic by taking a look at some of these other resources first.


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