Regardless of what kind of treatise you are using or whether you’re using a print or online version, the index or table of contents are generally the best tools to find the specific topic you’re searching for.
Many major treatises can be accessed online through subscription databases. The advantage of using treatises online is that they may be easier to search, and the online editions may receive updates more promptly than the print editions. It is also helpful that updates are incorporated directly into the text, whereas in the print edition, you would need to check for updates in the pocket part at the end of the volume.
On the other hand, some researchers find online editions to be more difficult to read at length or browse through, and many treatises are only available in print.
You can access Westlaw’s collection of treatises by browsing to “Secondary Sources” > “Texts and Treatises”. You can either select the topic area you want to explore, or navigate to Westlaw’s collection of Colorado specific treatises.
In Lexis Advance, you can find treatise titles by clicking on Browse Source above the search bar, and then narrowing the search by selecting “Secondary Materials,” then “Treatises,” then selecting the practice area and jurisdiction you are researching in. Most of the major treatises will be found in the “Non-jurisdictional” sources, while selecting your state will help you find practice guides and state forms that are relevant for practitioners.
Nolo Press publishes legal books for people who have no experience with the law.
You can browse the Nolo Press books in our collection here or you can search our catalog with the search terms “Nolo” and the topic you wish to know more about, such as “bankruptcy” or “custody”. Make sure you are searching for keywords rather than authors or titles for the best results.
Laypeople may also find treatises written for law students helpful, because while they tend to be more technical than Nolo publications, they are intended to be read by students who start out knowing nothing about the law.
Law students will generally need treatises that are detailed enough to help them understand the nuances of the areas of law they are studying in their classes, but not so comprehensive that they will be unwieldy to use. There are many treatises that are designed to fit this role, and many of them can be found in our guide to 1L Subject Study Guides.
Sometimes law students will need to research a topic in more depth than is needed for their doctrinal classes, such as when doing research for a legal writing assignment, for clinical work or while working as a summer associate. In these cases, they will find it useful to refer to practitioner or academic treatises.
The treatises most useful to academics are generally the multi-volume, authoritative texts that cover an area of law in exhaustive detail and are frequently updated. The latest edition of a major treatise is often kept on reserve behind the circulation desk. Please feel free to ask a librarian for advice in selecting one.