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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Law

This guide provides a basic introduction to U.S. legal research and to primary legal resources in the United States. Comparative and foreign research guides are also included.

Searching HeinOnline

Secondary Legal Sources in U.S. Law

Secondary legal sources help to learn about points of law and about the legal issues of a wide range of topics.  They also serve research by citing relevant primary sources, such as cases, statutes and regulations.  Finding legal primary sources is made easier by first using secondary sources.  Secondary sources described on this page are accessed similarly to using other indexing databases.

Legal research should include the use of legal journal articles. A great deal of scholarly legal literature is published in law school law reviews. Other types of law journals are bar association journals and journals written for legal practitioners.  These publications are all available via HeinOnline.  

1.  HeinOnline's "Law journal library" indexes legal articles, newspapers and bulletins.  Searching is done by topic keyword, by author, or by title of article.  For example, searching "Catholic" yields thousands of legal articles on the subject.  Results can then be modified by combining with other terms or authors' names.  Because of its expansive coverage, HeinOnline is the preferred search engine.  Searches which result in lengthy lists of articles can be modified by year of publication and also by other keywords. 

2.  LegalTrac indexes legal articles in traditional academic publications. 

3.  LexisNexis Academic indexes American law reviews.  It allows you to pre-sort your search by legal topic ("constitutional law," for example).

Other Secondary Sources

Other secondary legal sources include encyclopedias, treatises, restatements, and newspapers.  Lauinger holdings include some encyclopedias, treatises, and newspapers.  Restatements of the law may be found at GU Law Center Library.  News sources are found in HeinOnline's "Law Journal Library."

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