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Law 792-GRD: Legal Research and Writing for LLMs: Legal Encyclopedia

Legal Encyclopedia

Corpus Juris Secunmdum and American Jurisprudence 2d


The broadest coverage of the widest variety of legal topics are found in Legal Encyclopedias. 

When you don’t know which type of secondary source to use,


There are two National Legal Encyclopedias:

Corpus Juis Secundom (CJS)

   CJS is more scholarly and historical

American Jurisprudence 2d (AmJur)

   AmJur is more practical   


Many states also have Legal Encyclopedias.  Illinois has two:

Illinois Law & Practice KFI 1265 .I442X

Illinois Jurisprudence  KFI 1230.5 .L38

      They are found in the Illinois Alcove near the Reference Desk.


VIDEO: Encyclopedias


PRINT: AM JUR 2d is found on the shelves in the middle of the main Reading Room


ONLINE:  Lexis, or Westlaw


Legal Encyclopedias sometimes use "hidebound" (old) terms, so it's always a good idea to begin in the INDEX.  

      Example:  when you look up Sale of Real Property, you will be directed to a topic called Vendor & Purchaser.


American Jurisprudence - General Index

Sale of Real Property, Vendor & Purchaser This Index

Vendor & Purchaser


acceptance, above

offers, below








This Index = find the index volume that covers the letter V and look there for Vendor & Purchaser 

above = stay in this listing, but look for a sub-topc above (supra)

below = stay in this listing, but look for a sub-topic below (infra)


Legal Encyclopedias are updated with annual Pocket Parts.  

   Be sure to check the same Topic and Section Number in the pocket part insert in the back of the volume.

Additional Resources

Legal Research in a Nutshell, pp. 32-36.