Skip to Main Content

Law Library

Secondary Sources in Legal Research: American Law Reports


American Law Reports (ALRs)

American Law Reports are commonly referred to as "ALRs."  Each individual ALR is a comprehensive survey of a narrow legal issue. ALRs are thoroughly researched and include treatment of the issue across jurisdictions.  You will not find an ALR for every legal issue, but it is well worth your time to see if one exists because ALRs are a gold mine of legal information.

ALRs are published by West, but can be found on both Lexis Advance and Westlaw.  They are not included on Bloomberg Law.

When to use ALRs:

  • Find a survey of a legal issue
    • Across jurisdictions
    • With differing fact patterns
  • Identify cases and statutes on your legal issue
  • ALRs are generally NOT the best secondary sources to cite.


In each ALR Annotation you will find:

  • Table of contents
    • Some annotations can be hundreds of pages long. Browse Article Outline to find pertinent sections of the annotation
  • Index
    • A subject index to this one ALR annotation
  • Statutory Text
    • Full text of relevant statute(s)
  • Table of Cases
    • Cases cited in the ALR annotation, sorted by jurisdiction
  • Preliminary Matters, Includes:
    • Scope of the annotation, read to make sure the annotation is relevant to your research
    • Related annotations
    • Summary & Comment
  • Research References
    • Related ALR resources
    • WestlawNext databases
    • West Topics & Key Numbers
    • Other secondary sources

Locating on Westlaw

  1. Browse > Secondary Sources > By Type (at top) > American Law Reports
  2. Right hand Column:
  3. Click on American Law Reports Index
  4. Click on Table of Contents and then Search for your term(s)
  5. .