Once the researcher has researched the secondary sources on the platform and narrowed them down to those on a particular topic, they can either use the finding aids to work with a particular source, or use the research techniques described in Chapter 5 to search for the thematic sources. Given the breadth of the definition, it is not surprising that secondary sources can be as diverse in nature and purpose as different methods of evaluating legislation and jurisprudence. For example, many secondary sources take the form of recent authoritative articles, some of these bodies compile case law or laws from many jurisdictions, and still others are in the form of live or recorded seminars. And this only scratches the surface of all available secondary sources of law. Loose sheets are an alternative publishing format that makes it a little easier to integrate updates into the text. “Loose-leaf” is the term used to refer to treaties or exercise documents published in a file rather than in a bound volume. To update loose sheets, a title editor sends pages to replace obsolete pages. Old pages are deleted and new pages are inserted. The volume`s table of contents, index, and other finding aids can also be updated to reflect the new content. This method of updating eliminates a step for the researcher; It is not necessary to consult additional parts in the set to update the hardware, as is the case for attached assemblies. The downside of this method of updating is that it can be difficult to understand what this secondary source said at any given time, as a researcher must do when looking for secondary sources cited in older documents. A researcher may need to consult a secondary resource to gain insight into an unknown area of law, jurisdiction, or the area of overdeveloped law. Many secondary sources have value that goes beyond citability in a legal argument.
In particular, many titles offer valuable information about current court decisions or new laws. Some may analyze new legal authorities to break down their meaning into more digestible terms, while others consider the potential impact of a new judgment or law. Even more secondary sources may examine current legal trends or the current state of a particular area of law, based on recent court decisions or updates to legislation. Legal encyclopedias are the most common secondary sources. They have more breadth than depth and can therefore provide an introduction to a variety of legal topics. If the researcher is not familiar with an area of law and needs a list of key key authorities in that field as a starting point for further research on that topic, legal encyclopedias are a solid place to begin their research. They are, as one would expect from the term “encyclopedia”, arranged alphabetically by subject. American Jurisprudence 2d (Am. Jur.
2d) and the Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S.) are two of the best-known legal encyclopedias. Some states have jurisdiction-specific legal encyclopedias, such as Ohio Case Law 3d. Some platforms also allow the researcher to search for available secondary sources related to a particular jurisdiction. In Lexis Advance, the Search Sources screen provides filters to narrow down the list of titles by category or type of resource, jurisdiction, areas of activity, and topics. These filters are indicated by arrows in Figure 220.127.116.11b. So far, this text has examined the main legal authorities and methods of localization. Now let`s move on to secondary authorities, also known as secondary sources, which are the sources that researchers often use to begin their research. Secondary legal sources are texts that comment on and analyze the law for the benefit of the reader. Secondary sources come in a variety of forms; They can be general or detailed, cover a specific jurisdiction and be written for a wide audience. Different secondary sources may be used at different stages of the research process; The choice of secondary source may also be based on the researcher`s prior knowledge of the subject. This chapter describes the most common types of secondary sources the researcher is likely to encounter, when they should (and not) be used, and a variety of methods for locating them. There are a number of reasons why secondary sources are so important to the practice of law.
One of the main reasons is that secondary sources may reflect the prevailing view of how courts interpret primary sources. Some secondary sources are so authoritative that the courts themselves base their decisions on them. Find an appropriate secondary source for each individual legal issue. One of the most useful features of secondary sources is that they direct researchers to primary authorities and sometimes to other secondary authorities on the subject. An ALR article may summarize cases on a narrow topic in different jurisdictions; A treaty not only summarizes cases, but also provides a detailed analysis of opinions on a particular legal issue; A series of court-specific practices will highlight critical cases on this issue in that state. For underdeveloped areas of law, a scientific paper can refer the researcher to a multitude of excellent papers. This scientist probably conducted months, if not years, of research, identifying the most relevant primary authorities and consulting the most authoritative secondary sources on the subject. Secondary sources can influence a legal decision, but do not have the supervisory or binding authority of primary sources. The secondary resources discussed in this guide fall into six broad categories: the benefits don`t stop there; As diverse and extensive as secondary sources are the many ways they can add value to your law practice. They should always be a central part of any research process to ensure that the resulting product is of the highest quality. Like codes, secondary sources tend to have an inherent thematic organization.
As a result, expert researchers often find the use of printed secondary sources more effective than electronic versions. We will briefly discuss the main methods of using secondary sources in printed form. Given the importance of secondary sources for understanding the law, you may not need to convince that they can improve your legal practice. However, you may be less clear about exactly how they can be used for this purpose. When searching for an unknown area of law or jurisdiction, a secondary source gives the researcher a quick overview of the state of the law in a particular area of law or jurisdiction. For an unknown area of law, a general resource such as a legal encyclopedia may be the best place to start. Once the researcher has a basic introduction, they can move on to a treatise or how-to guide. A law-specific legal encyclopedia would be beneficial for the researcher working with the law in a state where they do not normally practice.