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Legal Secondary Sources Presentation


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  • 1. Secondary Sources Advanced Legal Research February 2, 2009
  • 2. Secondary Sources: Introduction
    • Using secondary sources is a great way to start your research because they …
    • Provide references to primary sources
    • Offer explanations and analysis of governing legal doctrines
  • 3. Secondary Sources: Intro. (cont’d)
    • More benefits to using secondary sources … they
    • Aid you in practice with practical breakdowns of the law and helpful forms (e.g. motions, etc.)
    • Help law students understand complex legal doctrine: Hornbooks, Nutshells, Examples & Explanations, etc.
  • 4. Secondary Sources: Citation?
    • As a general rule, you should not cite to secondary sources.
  • 5. Secondary Sources – Citation?
    • There are rare exceptions to this general rule: If the legal question is one of first impression or controversial, you may cite influential treatises, law review articles, the restatements, & hornbooks.
  • 6. Secondary Sources
    • This lecture will cover the following secondary sources:
      • Online Research Guides
      • Directories
      • American Law Reports (ALR)
      • Looseleafs
      • Periodicals
      • Treatises
      • Encyclopedias
      • Restatements
      • Form Books
  • 7. Secondary Sources – Online Research Guides
    • Online research Guides, pathfinders, bibliographies are good places to start research because they show you the various sources you can explore to execute your research
  • 8. Secondary Sources – Online Research Guides (cont’d)
    • Available from many library web sites
      • Rutgers – Newark Law Library
      • Georgetown
      • Univ. of Minnesota
    • Online Searches:
      • Cornell Law Library : Legal Research Engine
      • Google! : European Union Law
  • 9. Secondary Sources – ALR
    • ALR contains articles called ‘annotations.’ These annotations are essays that collect summaries of cases from a variety of jurisdictions.
    • If you find an ALR annotation on your subject, your in luck because most of your research is already done.
  • 10. Secondary Sources – ALR
    • Availability:
      • Print:  KF132 .A533 (1 st floor, Foosaner Reading Gallery)
      • Online: Westlaw
    • Access Points – Print: Digest, Quick Index (on reserve), Multi-Volume Index
    • Access Points – Electronic: Keyword searching
  • 11. Secondary Sources – ALR Click on ALR link on the main Westlaw Page
  • 12. Secondary Sources -- ALR Choose your terms …
  • 13. Secondary Sources -- ALR Yay! A result that looks relevant Now, let’s look at all the helpful information that this annotation has …
  • 14. Secondary Sources – Periodicals
    • Law review articles are a useful research tool not only in research papers, but also in practice, too.
  • 15. Secondary Sources – Periodicals
    • Law review articles can be useful in obtaining an overview of an area of the law, finding references to primary & secondary authority, and developing ideas for analyzing a question of first impression or resolving a conflict in the law.
  • 16. Secondary Sources – Periodicals
    • Accessing law review articles:
    • Keyword searching in Lexis & Westlaw
    • Citators: Key Cite & Shepard’s
    • HeinOnline
    • Index to Legal Periodicals
    • Current Index of Legal Periodicals
    • Google Scholar
  • 17. Secondary Sources – Periodicals
    • Find print indexes in our library …
    • FYI: Don’t forget about the online catalog
    • Location: law library lobby
    • Call numbers:
      • Index of Legal Periodicals: KF 8 .I5
      • Current Index to Legal Periodicals: KF 8 .C8
    • Using print indexes: pointers
  • 18. Secondary Sources – Encyclopedias
    • Legal encyclopedias provide a general overview of the law on a variety of topics. They are a good introductory source if you know little to nothing about an area of the law.
  • 19. Secondary Sources – Encyclopedias
    • Encyclopedias can be general or cover a specific jurisdiction:
    • General: AmJur, CJS, Words & Phrases
    • Jurisdiction specific:
      • NYJur
      • Encyclopedia of New Jersey Causes of Action
        • Only in print; Reserve  KFN 2335 .A59 B3 2004
  • 20. Secondary Sources -- Formbooks
    • Formbooks exist to assist practitioners with completing basic transactions & court filings.
    • The best formbooks also contain analysis & citations to primary authority.
  • 21. Secondary Sources -- Formbooks
    • General: West’s Legal Forms, American Jurisprudence Legal Forms 2d, American Jurisprudence Pleading & Practice Forms
    • Jurisdiction/Topic Specific:
      • West’s Federal Forms
      • New Jersey Practice
      • New Jersey Transactions
      • Current Legal Forms with Tax Analysis
  • 22. Secondary Sources – Looseleafs
    • Traditionally, a looseleaf service is published in a binder and limited to a specific topic.
    • Looseleafs contain a goldmine of information including cases, administrative decisions, analysis, and legal news.
    • They are favorites of practitioners because they are so specialized.
  • 23. Secondary Sources -- Looseleafs
    • Often looseleafs are difficult to use, but once you get used to them, they are great ways to monitor a specific area of the law.
    • Available in print & electronic form: Westlaw, Lexis, Stand-alone platforms (BNA & CCH)
      • Source: Labor Relations Reporter, KF 3319 .L32; BNA platform & Lexis
  • 24. Secondary Sources – Directories
    • Most people think that the internet has made legal directories obsolete. I was one of those people, until I realized that sometimes it is easier to find information in a directory. Honestly.
  • 25. Secondary Sources -- Directories
    • There are directories of courts, state governments, administrative agencies, etc.
      • NJ Diary, NY Diary (on reserve at the circulation desk)
    • Some offer professional biographies.
      • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 26. Secondary Sources -- Treatises
    • Treatises provide in-depth treatment of a single subject such as contracts or constitutional law
    • Often written by influential legal scholars; therefore, they are well respected
  • 27. Secondary Sources – Treatises
    • Access points: keyword searching or an index
    • There are usually treatises in every major area of the law. Many are on Westlaw & Lexis
  • 28. Secondary Sources – Treatises
    • Examples:
      • Williston on Contracts
      • Nimmer on Copyright
      • Collier on Bankruptcy
      • The list could go on & on and I’m sure you’re sad that it doesn’t 
  • 29. Secondary Sources -- Restatements
    • Restatements of the law summarize, in a concise manner, the common law rules on a subject (what the majority of JRDs say)
    • Published by the American Law Institute (i.e., experts)
  • 30. Secondary Sources -- Restatements
    • They are available in print and on Westlaw & Lexis.
    • Restatements have been published in the following fields:
    Agency Conflict of Laws Contracts Foreign Relations Judgments Law Governing Lawyers Property Restitution Security Suretyship & Guaranty Torts Trusts Unfair Competition
  • 31. Secondary Sources -- Restatements
    • Access electronically: keyword searching
    • Access in print:
      • Index or Table of Contents to find rule; commentary is located after the rule
      • Can find cases by going to the appendix volumes at the end of the set. The appendices are organized numerically by the Restatement numbers.