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Researching Secondary Sources in Law

This guide is designed as an introduction to researching secondary legal sources. Secondary sources are about the law rather than the law itself. They are great research tools that can save you time and money.

Overview

Restatements of the Law are highly regarded uniform statements of the common law produced by the American Law Institute (ALI), an organization comprised of prominent American judges, lawyers, and law professors.

Each restatement is arranged first by chapter, then by topic and title, and then by section. Restatement sections generally begin with a "black letter" statement of the law followed by comments, illustrations, and reporter notes.

The appendix volumes of each set contain annotated citations of cases that cite that particular restatement.

Restatements of the Law

Print

Restatements can be found most easily in the Reference 2 collection.

Online

Finding Tools Within Restatements

Index -- Note that there is no comprehensive index for the restatements

  • Restatement, First Series contains a one-volume index for all restatements in the first series
  • Each Restatement within the first series also has its own index
  • Restatements, Second and Third Series have indexes either for each volume, in the last volume, or in a separate volume

Table of Contents

Appendix Volumes

Updating

Update the print volumes through pocket parts.

Video Tutorial on Restatements of the Law

CALI Lesson on American Law Reports

CALI LogoAvailable to Law Students only (see a reference librarian if you do not have a CALI activation code).

Citation

Bluebook

Rule 12.9 of the Bluebook (20th ed.) covers the citation of restatements.

Elements

The citation should include the following:

  • Restatement series (italicized or underlined)
  • Section
  • Copyright date of the volume

Example

Restatement (Third) of Torts § 46 (2012).

ALWD

Rule 23 of the ALWD Citation Manual (5th ed.) covers the citation of restatements.

Elements

The citation should include the following:

  • Restatement series (italicized or underlined)
  • Section
  • Copyright date

Example

Restatement (Third) of Torts § 46 (2012).

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