Legal Reference Tools

Dictionaries

Black's Law Dictionary, 1999. 7th ed.
KF156 .B56 1999 (Reference)
The standard legal dictionary for lawyers.
Duhaime's Law Dictionary
A dictionary of legal terms written in plain language. Browse alphabetically, but no search option. Canadian bias.
Everybody's Legal Dictionary
Legal terms in plain English. From Nolo Press.

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Directories

Martindale Lawyer Locator
Locate a lawyer or law firm based on specialty, location, firm size, law school, and even language. Includes directory information and (for some) short biographical blurbs.
FindLaw: West Legal Directory
Find phone numbers, addresses, and basic biographical information on attorneys in the United States, Canada, England, and Europe.
LexisNexis Academic -- Law School Directories (WTAMU only)
Search either the Martindale-Hubbell Law School Directory or the NALP National Directory of Law Schools by school or faculty name.

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Encyclopedia and Digests

Legal encyclopedias are good sources for detailed subject access to legal research. Organized by topic, they provide a basic discussion of the law in question and citations to selected supporting cases and legislation. Digests, which take cases and distill out short summaries (called "squibs") of the individual points of a case and then arrange the squibs in subject order, are also useful for both identifying and explaining the law.

United States

Two sets of legal encyclopedias dominate American legal research: Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) and American Jurisprudence 2d (Am.Jur.2d).

Westlaw Campus -- American Jurisprudence, 2d ed. (WTAMU only)
KF75.A47 (Reference)
Similar in coverage to Corpus Juris Secundum with only selected case references. Somewhat greater emphasis on federal statutory laws. The Desk Book functions as a legal almanac. Accessed either by topic or through the general index. Print cancelled in 2003. You will be required to accept an online license agreement to access the database. Scroll down to "Encyclopedias" and select American Jurisprudence 2d. Click on the icon for scope of coverage for help on searching. Access to this database is limited, so please log off when you are finished.
Corpus Juris Secundum
KF75.C67 (Reference)
A restatement of the entire body of American case law (and some federal and state statutory law) in encyclopedic form, with citations to reported cases as well as references to the National Reporter System (i.e., the South Western Reporter or SW3d). Access is either by topic or through the general index. Cancelled in 1998 but still useful.

Texas

Just as there are two major sets of legal encyclopedias for federal legal research, there are two major sources for Texas legal research: Texas Jurisprudence (TexJur) and Texas Digest (Tex.Dig.2d).

Texas Jurisprudence, 3rd ed.
KFT1280.T490 (Reference)
Follows the format of American Jurisprudence but covers the case and statutory laws of the courts of Texas. The arrangement is alphabetical by topics and there is both a general index and an index in each volume.
Texas Digest, 2nd ed.
KFT1257.T5 (Reference)
Indexes and digests Texas case law from both state and federal courts. The Digest can be accessed from a variety of means: by topic, through the Table of Cases, or through the Descriptive Word Index. Updating through cumulative annual pocket parts. Print cancelled in 2003. The same information can be found using Westlaw Campus. You will be required to accept an online license agreement to access the database. Access to this database is limited, so please log off when you are finished.

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Forms

Texas Transaction Guide: Legal Forms
KFT1268 .K45 (Reference)
Legal and business forms for Texas.
FindLaw Forms
Links to federal and state legal, business, and tax forms.
Texas Legal and Business Forms
Selected listing of Texas legal forms.
WashLaw Web Legal Forms
Links to federal and state legal, business, and tax forms.

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Internet Guides

LII: Law About ...
Organized into 18 broad topics which are then subdivided into narrower subjects. Includes brief summaries of the law with links to key primary source material and other Internet resources. Browse by topic or search by keyword.
FindLaw: Legal Subjects Index
Organized into 36 broad topics such as Securities Law. Each topic then lists available Web sites as well as subheadings on: laws and government documents; journals, newsletters, and articles; mailing lists and usenet groups; government agencies; outlines; and software.
Nolo.com Legal Research Center
Tools to help non-lawyers conduct legal research. Provides practical help for conducting statute and case research. Includes a Legal Encyclopedia which provides a good place to start when you are looking for practical, how-to information. Aimed at the general public and written in everyday English, this legal encyclopedia provides basic how-to information, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to more Internet links as available. Browse by topic and subtopic or search by keyword.
Zimmerman's Research Guide: An Online Encyclopedia for Legal Researchers
A guide to government and legal information on the web.
Jurist: Law Guides
26 subject guides to legal information on the Internet. Each subject area includes links to: news, information about books, law reviews, course pages, legislation, cases, associations, e-mail lists, and Web sites.

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For More Information

Public Library Toolkit
Basic information intended to "help public librarians understand the process of legal research, effectively develop and use the information located within their libraries, utilize information located outside their libraries, with the end goal of helping the patron locate the legal information they need".
Legal Research: How to Find and Understand the Law
Stephen Elias. 9th ed. Berkeley, CA : Nolo Press, 2001
KF240 .E35 2001 (Reference)
Legal Research in a Nutshell
Morris L. Cohen, Kent C. Olson. 6th ed. St. Paul, Minn : West, 1996.
KF240 .C54 1996 (Reference)

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