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Secondary Legal Sources

This guide highlights a variety of secondary sources which are extremely useful in legal research. A go-to list with books organized by topic.

Restatements of the Law

Restatements attempt to "re-state" or codify American common law.  When this resource first began in the 1920s, anonymous cases were used as hypotherical illustrations to state general principles of what the law should be.  New editions now take on narrower topics and include citations to the cases.  Authored by a roster of noted professors, judges and lawyers, each Restatement goes through numerous drafts before being formally adopted by the American Law Institute. Because of this detailed publishing process, the comments and illustrations in Restatements are often cited by the courts.

New series of the Restatements are issued as the law develops and changes, so always start your research with the most current version.  To update citations, check the annual pocket part as well as a pamphlet entitled Interim Case Citations to the Restatemens of the Law.  For older Restatements, consult the Appendix volumes. 

Using Restatements on Westlaw and LexisNexis allows you to easily Keycite or Shepardize these rules.  Westlaw has prepared a brief Restatement overview which explains formating and special editorial features.

Current Restatements include: