Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Legal Research Review: Home

Primary Authority

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

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 Authority

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

Persuasive authority is all authority that is not Mandatory Authority

  • All Secondary Authority
  • All Primary that is not Mandatory in your jurisdiction