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Law Library

Legal Research Review: Encyclopedias

Legal Encyclopedias


  • background information and jargon
  • cites to major cases, statutes and regulations
  • give general state of the law (settled doctrine)
  • do not analyze or criticize
  • slow to recognize new areas of law
  • cover many topics in little detail

National Encyclopedias

  1. American Jurisprudence 2nd
  2. Corpus Juris Secundum

American law in a ‘A to Z’ list by subject: ‘Abandoned, Lost and Unclaimed Property’ to ‘Zoning and Planning.’ 

State Encyclopedias

17 true state encyclopedias.  Often very helpful for state law issues.