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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

Searching for Reliable and Free Legal Resources

The amount of free legal information on the web continues to grow, particularly for primary source information, such as judicial decisions, legislation, bills, debates, committee proceedings, international treaties, agreements, and documents put out by international organizations. It is also used by law firms and organizations to publish articles, papers, and conference proceedings.

At the same time, it can be, as someone once said, like using a library in which all the books have been dumped on the floor. Information appears and disappears from various sites, some sites are official and put together with care while others are hammered out in someone's basement, and the whole thing lacks any organizing principles.

This raises two fundamental issues:

  • how do you find relevant information efficiently and effectively?
  • once found, how do you evaluate the information?