Most of you probably remember your Law 627 professor telling you, over and over, to start your legal research with secondary sources. The advice is no different when thinking about jurisdiction-specific research.
The good news is that states usually have secondary legal sources specific to them. In this class, we will discuss two types of secondary sources: (1) basic/traditional and (2) advanced/practitioner. The traditional secondary categories are encyclopedias, treatises, and periodicals. While the American Law Reports (ALR), for instance, is considered a traditional secondary source and does cover state law, there is no Illinois specific version of the ALR.
In addition to focusing on state specific law, many of these resources are further specialized by area of law.
Look over this page and peruse some of the offerings for traditional resources in Illinois. Have you used any before? What did you like about the resource? What did you not like? Which ones look most helpful? Are there traditional Illinois secondary materials which are specific to your legal interests? Which ones?
From LAW627 LibGuide:
A form of INTERMEDIATION, (see Unit 7 of LAW627 LibGuide) Secondary Sources analyze, explain, summarize, or comment on the law. These materials do not have the force of law, but instead provide helpful information to legal researchers. These sources are persuasive.
Secondary Sources help legal researchers understand an area of law, and provide citations to relevant primary sources.
Encyclopedias provide broad coverage over a wide array of topics. If you are not sure where to start, a legal encyclopedia is a good place to start. There are two main encyclopedias in Illinois.
Encyclopedias of Illinois Law:
Treatise, is just a fancy legal word for "book." It can be a monograph (single volume) or a multi-volume set. Traditional treatises cover a topic start to finish. State-specific versions do this within the scope of the law for a given jurisdiction. In terms of practice-oriented materials, we will also look to items which may be referred to (or organized as) treatises, but which also function as handbooks and practical-guidance sources.
Select Treatises Covering Specialized Topics in Illinois Law:
Bar Journals and other magazine style periodicals may also be of assistance. These periodicals are more practice oriented and often have content which provides more how-to guidance or articles describing recent litigation and legislation pertinent to the jurisdiction.
Scholarly journals are those journals which publish academic articles. These articles tend to focus on a legal problem or issue which the author has researched and which the author has posed some solution. Academic articles are high in theory, but often offer little practical advice. They can, however, be a great source for understanding the full reach of a problem, as well as its background.
Though scholarly publications are often published by regional entities, such as law schools, their focus is usually much more broad. An Illinois law journal may not publish a single article specific to state law. Academic articles which do focus on a single state jurisdiction, however, are more likely to be published in a journal originating from said state.