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Legal Research Pathfinder

Print Sources

 Legal Information: How to Find It, How to Use It (Ref. KF 240 .O365 1999); it can serve as a guide to the literature of legal research. It starts with an overview of the American legal system and then informs the reader of the standard encyclopedias, web sites, law reviews, journals, etc. It also reviews the literature of the federal and state law.

For online sites, see Research Guides and Introduction to Basic Legal Citation. The first site,Research Guides, is outstanding; everything from law exams, notable court decisions in various areas and even pathfinders in different areas of the law. Yahoo! has a directory link to Legal Research which directs the reader to dictionaries, cases, academic papers and so forth.


We have several dictionaries in the Ref. KF 156 area but only one title stands out. Black's Law Dictionary (Ref. KF 156 .B53 1990) is the one by which all others are judged and a lawyer who never heard of it can be accused of downright ignorance--it dates back to1891.A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage doesn't define legal words as much as it tells you how to use them. It cites a wide variety of sources, including literary, to illustrate how a word might be used.

Some online dictionaries include Lawdictionaries.com, Shark Talk  and Legal Lexicon's Lyceum.

 The Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (Ref. KF 387 .G27 2003) is a two-vol. set that contains practical information on topics such as estate planning, visas etc.


Legal Thesaurus (Ref. KF 156 .B856 1992) briefly defines the word and then lists synonyms, associated legal concepts and even foreign phrases when necessary.


National Survey of State Laws (Ref. KF .N38 1993) is divided by legal categories such as education, employment or real estate into eight sections. This is the place to which one would turn to find laws on corporal punishment or right to die in various states.


There are several sites on clear and effective writing, such as Legal Writing.


 ILRG Legal Forms Archive. There are several other forms on Legal Forms on the Web.


See Legal Citations for online help.


Law library State of Mchigan 

Frequently Requested Laws.  Both alphabetical and subject arrangement available.

Internet Law Library Michigan. Good for executive orders, administrative code, environmental code and municipal codes.

MEL Legal Resources. From the Michigan Electronic Library, this site is good for wills, landlord relations, etc.

Shepard's Michigan Citations (Ref. KM 4259 .S54) provides a history of either a case or a statute and its subsequent treatment by the courts.

West's Michigan Law Finder (Ref. KFM .W47 2002). Alphabetically arranged by subject, e.g., bail, partnerships, homeless. This book provides a "master reference guide" to such West's publications as Michigan Digest (Mich. Doc. KFM 4257 .M5) and Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated (Mich. Doc. KFM 4230 1948 A44). State and federal laws, court rules, etc. are indexed under 4000 subject headings.


Pay particular attention to FedLaw. If you don't find it here, it doesn't exist.
Internet Resources
 I believe that you will have the best results with Yahoo!, WWW Virtual Library, and the Internet Legal Resource Guide..
Library Contact
Picture: Dan Ring

Dan Ring
Reference Librarian


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