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Researching Legal Topics

Tips on legal research for seminar papers and law review articles for law students.

UW Research Guides

UW Library Catalog

Use the UW Library Catalog, to locate books on your topic. 

 

Books and other materials on can be found in the UW-Madison library catalog.

 
Research Tip:  Select Advanced Search to refine a search on your topic.   To limit to the Law Library, select the LIMIT function button at the right-hand side of the screen.  Here are a few more tips for finding books in the UW catalog:
  • Match All/Any:
    • select "All" to require all the fields in which you enter search terms
    • select "Any" to find at least one of the fields in which you enter terms
  • Use OR to search alternate words
    • gay OR lesbian OR transgender sports
    • OR must be in uppercase
  • Use - (minus) or NOT to exclude a word
    • klezmer -russian
    • name: frida kahlo
      subject: NOT (catalog OR exhibition)
    • NOT must be in uppercase
  • Use quotes when you know the exact words you're searching for
    • keywords: russell
      subject: "logic, symbolic and mathematical"
    • title: "immortal life"
  • Truncation and wildcards are not supported. Word stemming is done automatically.

WorldCat

Use WorldCat to locate books that are not in the UW system.  Use Library Express to borrow the material.  Give yourself plenty of time when ordering material outside of the UW Library System.  It can take up to three weeks to retrieve a book that is not part of the UW Library System.

Google Books

Legal Encyclopedias & ALRs

Wisconsin CLE Books.   CLE practice material published by the Wisconsin State Bar Association.  You can locate individual titles on your topic in our online catalog that are specific to the Wisconsin Legal Practice.  If you are doing research in another state, keep in mind that most State Bar Associations publish practice material.

Restatement of the Law by the American Law Institute are housed together in the Grand Reading Room in our Reference Collection as well as in the Law Library Reserve Collection behind the circulation desk:  Restatements are organized by topics, for example: agency, contracts, & torts are all covered in the Restatement of the Law collection. Call no. REF KF395 A2-

American Law Reports.  The American Law Reports are located on the 5th floor of the Law Library in the Habush Habush & Rottier Grand Reading Room.  Call no. REF KF 132 A52-

Books at the Law Library on Legal Research & Writing

This is a brief list of books at the Law Library that can help you learn more about the legal writing process: