When looking for legal materials, determine jurisdiction and branch of government by THINKING IN TRIANGLES:
FEDERAL Legislative (Statutes)
STATE LOCAL Judicial(Cases) Executive(Regs)
Start a search for legal informaton by determining who has jurisdiction (is it a Federal, state or local issue), then decide whether the answer to the question will be found in the statutes, court opinions or regulations. Once these questions have been answered, you can begin to search in appropriate legal resources:
Legal resources are divided into two categories: primary sources and secondary sources.
In simple terms, primary sources are the rules of law. They include the version of the Federal or state government's Constitution, statutes, court opinions and administrative regulations that those jurisdictions recognize as official or having "primary authority."
Secondary sources provide analysis and commentary about primary sources. They assist legal researchers in locating and explaining the law. Examples of secondary sources include:
· Legal Dictionaries
· Legal Encyclopedias
· Law Reviews
· Annotated Law Reports
· Treatises, Hornbooks and Nutshells
· Restatements of the Law