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The goal of this guide is to provide patrons, who are representing themselves in a legal matter, with basic legal research and to provide specific materials needed to conduct legal research. The law refers to self-representing parties as a "pro se." While this guide focuses on Illinois sources, the guide covers federal and general legal sources.
There are three parts to this guide:
- General Overview: Briefly outlines ways that legal research might differ in terminology, the organization of materials and level of background knowledge required.
- Resource List: Describes sources of information and the types of legal resources offered such as cases, statutes, and regulations. While most legal research is written for practicing attorneys, some materials address the pro se litigant.
- Referral: Organizations that assist pro se litigants or those in need of further assistance.
The law uses a very specific language that differs from other disciplines. Here is a link to our page of dictionaries that provides call numbers for dictionaries in our reference collection. If you need to look up a term or to study a more in-depth discussion, we provide links to more detailed resources as well.
Our Dictionaries Encyclopedias & page here: http://law-illinois.libguides.com/c.php?g=575272&p=4083338
NOTE: This guide is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel. It serves only to provide resources for individuals seeking to advocate for themselves in a legal dispute or represent themselves in court. Basic guidance for developing a research plan is also provided.
Research Guides & Resources
The following guides develop a foundation for legal research needs.
Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies (7th ed.) by
Call Number: KF240 .S66 2018
Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies, Seventh Edition by Amy E. Sloan is known for its clear, step-by-step instruction in the basics. Using a building-block approach, the textbook breaks material into discrete, readily comprehensible parts. Self-contained chapters on sources make the book flexible for any type of legal research course. Useful pedagogy throughout the text includes end-of-chapter checklists, clear examples, and summary charts. Helpful sample pages and examples of research sources guide students through the presentation.
Illinois Legal Research, 2e by
Call Number: KFI1275 .W65 2009
Publication Date: 2009-08-01
Shows how to find and stay current with Illinois cases, statutes, regulations, and local court rules. Focusing on state materials, it can be used as a supplement to national research texts or on its own to learn legal research. This book also explains how to locate secondary materials specific to Illinois law. Although the text was designed primarily for law students, seasoned attorneys will also appreciate the many secrets of Illinois legal research disclosed in this text. Wojcik's book includes materials on on citing Illinois under the Bluebook (for both law review formats and practice documents), the ALWD Manual, and local court rules.
Legal Research in a Nutshell: Links and Images
Maintained by the University of Virginia Law Library.
Provides URL links to resources discussed in the 12th (2016) edition of "Legal Research in a Nutshell." NOTE: Some links will require resource login and passwords that may be available to subscribed users only.
International Legal Research in a Nutshell by
Call Number: KZ1234 .H64 2021
This Nutshell provides a basic introduction to international and foreign legal research for the non-specialist. It offers guidance through the unfamiliar pathways of research using international and non-US legal materials and demystifies the world of treaties and international case law. Since it's aimed at the non-specialist, it provides straight-forward background information on the United Nations and the European Union and includes guidance using the documents and legal materials of these institutions. There are extensive links to the rich world of Web resources, but it also describes print research tools that remain important in this field. It also sets out a road map for approaching a research problem involving international, foreign and comparative law. Finally, there is information on keeping current on new information and resources as well as tips for how to do handle source collection and cite-checking an international law journal article. Additional teaching materials are available for this title, and include online links to research sources noted in the book: Appendix A: Comprehensive List of Sources Appendix B: Websites Containing National Law Appendix C: Web Treaty Collections Appendix D: Planning Your Research and Organizational Tools
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