Legal Practice Handouts

The handouts listed below summarize the research techniques you learned in your Legal Practice classes, and feature links to helpful resources in our databases. These handouts are designed mainly for researching practical legal questions, but you may also find them useful for academic projects.

Before beginning your research, try to determine the relevant jurisdiction, since this will be important in deciding what resources to use. If you're presented with a factual situation, knowing the relevant location(s) might help you determine the jurisdiction. If any contracts are involved, examine them for a choice of law provision. Keep in mind that some areas of law, such as copyright, are governed exclusively by federal law. Sometimes you'll have to research previous versions of the law, so make sure you're aware of any relevant dates.

We generally recommend doing your research in the order listed below, but not all of these areas are relevant to every problem, and the process is not always linear.