How to Use Treatises
Working PapersCurrent Awareness ResourcesGoogle ScholarIndexesABA Law Journal Search Engine
Federal: LIIFederal: Office of the Law Revision CounselFederal: USCS, USCATexas50 State SurveysAnnotated Code Handbooks by Subject
Federal RegisterRegulations.govCode of Federal RegulationsHow to Find Relevant Federal Regulations in the CFRTexas RegisterTexas Administrative CodeHow to Compile a Regulatory History
Google Scholar: Case LawLexis AdvanceWestlawNextAdditional Resources
How to Evaluate WebsitesGoogleGoogle Custom Search EnginesWikipedia
How to Find BlogsBloomberg BNA Newsletters
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Legal Research Process  

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2014 URL: http://tarltonguides.law.utexas.edu/legal-research-process Print Guide RSS Updates

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Introduction to the Guide

This guide was initially put together as a project of two advanced legal research courses taught by the Tarlton Law Library in 2011.

This guide provides a general overview of the resources one uses in conducting legal research, laid out in the rough order in which one uses them - start with secondary sources before moving on to primary sources.

Secondary sources include current awareness resources, research guides, legal encyclopedias, treatises, law reviews and the ALR. Primary sources include statutes, regulations and case law.

Generally each page within this guide includes:

  • a description of what a resource is,
  • when and how to use it,
  • and its strengths and weaknesses compared to other similar resources.

Among the additional resources discussed are the search engine Google and the publicly edited Wikipedia, both of which should be used with caution. 

Legal research is not strictly a linear endeavor; oftentimes one will want to circle back to resources for a second go round once there is more information in hand. Selected free resources are noted where appropriate as, no matter the stage of research, it can be helpful to explore free versions of legal resources before moving on to licensed databases.


This guide is not comprehensive. For those seeking a more thorough overview of the legal research process, please consult such works as Kent Olson's Principles of Legal Research.

Please note, access to certain databases linked in this guide may be restricted to UT Law or the UT community; please see the library's Databases page that lays out access privileges.

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