Legal Research

  • This Subject Area Index lists all CALI lessons covering Legal Research.
  • The Legal Research Outline allows you to search for terms of art that correspond to topics you are studying to find suggestions for related CALI Lessons.
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Federal Legislative History Research - Compiled Legislative History

Compiled legislative histories are collections of the documents that make up the legislative history of a law. They save researchers the time and frustration of collecting the documents themselves. This lesson builds upon the CALI lesson How to Research Federal Legislative History. While it is not essential to complete that lesson first, doing so will improve your understanding of compiled legislative histories.

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Rulemaking: Federal Register and CFR

This lesson will introduce you to the quasi-legislative process known as rulemaking. It will familiarize you with the publication system and with the sources you will access to research regulations. The lesson includes several images of Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations pages, and links to regulatory information on the Government Publishing Office's homepage. The lesson is designed to augment a substantive Administrative Law Course or an Advanced Legal Research class.

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U.S. Treaty Research

This lesson will provide an understanding of the language, mechanics, and process of conducting research of U.S. treaties: the major sources of treaty texts (both official and unofficial), major indexes and finding tools, resources for updating treaties, and a basic strategy for treaty research.

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American Indian Treaties

This lesson will teach you how to locate treaties between Indian tribes and the United States government. It will also show you how to determine whether a particular treaty provision is still in effect and how to interpret ambiguous treaty provisions.

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Introduction to Secondary Resources

This lesson will provide an overview of secondary resources used in legal research. Secondary resources are books and other material ABOUT legal subjects and issues: they discuss and explain primary resources such as cases and statutes and can be useful in assisting our understanding about specific areas of law. The student will learn about the different types of secondary resources and what secondary resources are most useful for specific types of legal research tasks.

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Legal Encyclopedias - Print Format

This lesson is about Legal Encyclopedias in print format. As one of the main types of secondary resources for legal research, Legal Encyclopedias can be useful for a variety of basic legal research tasks. This lesson will give you an overview of legal encyclopedias, explain how they are used in legal research, and run through a couple of hypotheticals. The lesson focuses on one of the two legal encyclopedias covering American Law in general - American Jurisprudence 2d (Am. Jur. 2d) - and gives some examples of state legal encyclopedias.

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American Law Reports

This lesson is an introduction to the American Law Reports (ALR) and is intended for use by students in introductory legal research classes. The goal is to give you an understanding of the features of the resource, the best methods for using it, and an understanding of when to use it. The lesson covers both print and electronic formats of ALR.

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Periodicals and Periodical Indexes

When conducting legal research, it is frequently better to begin with secondary sources that explain and interpret the law rather than attempting to start with primary legal authority. Legal periodicals are excellent secondary source starting points. This lesson introduces strategies and resources to find legal periodicals in support of legal research projects.