A Guide to Law and Law Research

guide to law

Many aspects of life require legal interpretations, from criminal cases and family disputes to intellectual property cases. However, legal knowledge is not widespread and ignorance leads to challenges. Fortunately, there are several ways to understand law better. Read this guide to learn about how the law works and get tips on how to find a good lawyer.

This guide introduces the New York legal system, provides instruction on researching New York law, and shows how Harvard Law School affiliates can access New York-specific primary and secondary sources through the Harvard Law Library. It also discusses how the New York legal system differs from the other U.S. states and how the research process is different for each jurisdiction. The guide is co-authored by Jennifer Allison and Catherine Biondo.

This guide helps librarians familiarize themselves with the laws of other jurisdictions by providing links to online resources for individual state, territorial, and foreign jurisdictions. Emphasis is placed on sites that offer full texts of laws, regulations, and court decisions, with commentary from lawyers writing primarily for other attorneys. The guide also addresses a variety of unique issues that arise when conducting legal research in other jurisdictions, including how to find information about specific courts, how to determine the jurisdictional law for an issue, and how to conduct judicial research in that jurisdiction. Librarians can contact the authors with questions or suggestions for additional resources for other jurisdictions. The guide is based on the American Association of Law Libraries’ Guiding Principles for Public Information on Government Websites.

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