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Self-Representation Guide (Illinois) - Assistance for Pro Se Litigants: Dictionaries & Encylopedias

This guide provides resources for those representing their case in the courts. Content by Corrine Vogel and Michelle Hook Dewey. Additional content and LibGuide created by S.K. Van Poolen

Dictionaries & Encyclopedia

Dictionaries: Language used in law can be very complex. Often words you may be used to speaking will have a more precise, or even different, meaning in the legal community. 

Legal dictionaries can provide more precise definitions for unknown words or word applications in a legal text.

 Encyclopedias: Legal encyclopedias provide comprehensive but brief articles on various legal  topics. In the same manner as general encyclopedias, legal encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically by topic. Most legal encyclopedias contain an index at the end of the final volume. Encyclopedias can be used to provide a topical overview, as well as cites to cas law on the topic.

While American Jurisprudence and Corpus Juris Secundum are the most common general legal encyclopedias, they are not freely available online. You may find these encyclopedias at your local law library. States may have the own specialized encyclopedias as well (e.g., Illinois Jurisprudence)


Dictionaries in the Law Library

Dictionaries on the Web



Encyclopedias in the Law Library

Ecyclopedias on the Web

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