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Your goal in legal research is to find Legal Authority you can cite to win your argument.
Primary authority is Law created by the 3 branches of government:
- Cases .... (Judicial)
- Statutes .... (Legislative)
- Regulations ..... (Executive)
Secondary Authority is NOT the law. It is ABOUT the law.
Secondary authority is helpful because it:
- provides citations to primary authority
- explains and interprets primary authority
- may provide analysis of what the law should be
- gives background and overview of topic
Mandatory = Binding
Is the law in your jurisdiction:
- Cases from the highest Court in your state (for state issues)
- Statutes from your state (for state issues)
- U.S. Supreme Court cases
- U.S. Appellate and District Court cases (federal issues)
- federal statutes (federal issues)
Authority MUST be Primary to be Mandatory.
Persuasive authority is all authority that is not Mandatory Authority
- All Secondary Authority
- All Primary that is not Mandatory in your jurisdiction