Today a colleague and I had a lunch meeting with a group of attorneys in Salt Lake to discuss legal research. One of them kept pointing out that law students need to realize they don’t have to recreate the wheel. Secondary sources provide a lot of pre- packaged research that can save a lot of time and money.
One of the best secondary sources are legal treatises. Legal treatises are all different, but most provide a fairly in-depth look at a particular subject. You should become familiar with some of the major treatises in your practice area. Recently ZiefBrief, the blog of the University of San Francisco’s Law Library, provided some links to web pages listing treatises by subject. Here are some you may find useful:
Treatises and Services by Subject – Kent Olson
Legal Treatises by Subject – Harvard Law Library
Many firms still have relevant treatises in print and some have access to treatises through Westlaw or LexisNexis (although you should always check if they are under the firm’s subscription). Local law libraries will also have access to many treatises as well. Wherever you find them, in most cases it’s a good idea to head to a treatise to get your research started.