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Introduction to Legal Research

Series of presentations to teach the fundamentals of legal research.


Secondary authority is commentary about primary authority.  While decision makers are never required to follow secondary authority, it can be quite persuasive.  In addition to helping the researcher learn about the law, it provides citations to primary authority as well as additional secondary authority.  

There are several types of secondary authority.  The first presentation sets out the different types and when to use them.  The additional presentations cover particular types in more detail.  

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this presentation are the following:

  • Understanding the various types of secondary authority and when to use each of them for your research
  • Knowing the difference between descriptive and prescriptive secondary authority
  • Knowing that legal encyclopedias, nutshells and hornbooks provide descriptive overviews of areas of law
  • Realizing the value of American Law Report annotations for researching specific issues of law
  • Learning the coverage limitations of sources of journal articles and advanced techniques for finding journal articles
  • Learning about the various kinds of treatises and when to use them for academic and practical work
  • Understanding the various methods by which treatises can be found
  • Knowing the various search techniques of secondary authority
  • Understanding the value of restatements and uniform law collections


Additional Resources

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