Skip to main content

United States Legal Research for L.L.M. Students

Overview of basic United States legal research. Originally written primarily for foreign law students, who are familiar with legal concepts but unfamiliar with U.S. legal materials, but useful also for the novice practitioner.

Guides to U.S. Legal System and Legal Research

Citation Form and Management

Citation Form

Citation Management

Collect and manage citations to your sources in EndNote or Zotero. See these guides for help:

Dictionaries and Directories

Foreign language dictionaries and foreign language law dictionaries are in D'Angelo Law Reference.  See the Library Catalog for call numbers.

Legal Encyclopedias

General Legal Encyclopedias

Topical Legal Encyclopedias

Law Reviews and Journals

Recent issues of all law school-published journals and most commercially published journals are shelved on the north side of the D'Angelo Law Library Third Floor. Earlier volumes are in storage; consult HeinOnline or reference librarians for assistance.

Most law journals can also be found online in the following resources:

Law Databases and Looseleaf Services

Looseleaf services in print

  • Focused on specific subject areas
  • Include statutes (laws), administrative regulations and decisions, cases and editorial commentary
  • Finding aids, indexes and citators
  • Most current of print sources

Law databases

Looseleaf publishers have migrated many of their print looseleafs to online formats. 

Treatises, Monographs, and American Law Reports

Major treatises in all areas of law are shelved in the D'Angelo Law Library Reserve Room. A list of major treatises by topic is available on the Law Library website. You can also search the Library Catalog by title or author or ask a reference librarian for assistance.


A list of hornbooks and study supplements is also available on the Law Library website. Study supplements published by West are available online through West Academic Study Aids.


American Law Reports, Annotated (A.L.R., ALR 2d ALR.3d, ALR 4th, ALR 5th, ALR Fed., ALR Fed. 2d.) Selected court opinions from state and federal courts with extensive annotations explaining and discussing the opinions. Available via Lexis Advance and Westlaw.

Restatements and Model Codes

Restatements of the Law

  • Prepared by the American Law Institute (ALI), a private group of practicing attorneys, academics, and judges
  • Compile the principles that make up the common law in agency, conflict of laws, contracts, foreign relations law, judgments, property, restitution, security, torts, and trusts.
  • Provide rules, commentary and examples.
  • Appendices contain cases that have cited the Restatements, and Reporter's Notes (which can be very valuable research tools).

Model Codes

  • Prepared by the ALI with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL)
  • Cover particular areas of state law.  They are only models, and only become law in a jurisdiction if they are enacted by the legislature.
  • Uniform laws adopted by at least one jurisdiction are compiled in Uniform Laws Annotated, XXKF165.A50 1968-, D'Angelo Law Bookstacks.

Uniform Laws Annotated volumes include

  • A "Table of Jurisdictions Wherein Act Has Been Adopted"
  • The code itself
  • Case annotations on the code provisions
  • Directory of Uniform Acts and Codes pamphlet provides an index to the uniform acts and tables showing which uniform acts each state has adopted.

Uniform Law Commission (ULC, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws) website

The ULC website provides full text of the uniform acts, drafts, committee activities and state enactment information, including states where the act[s] have been introduced but not yet passed.

Not law unless enacted

Neither a Model Code or Restatement is "law" unless adopted by the court or legislature of a particular jurisdiction, but they may nevertheless be influential tools of judicial interpretation.

Ask a Law Librarian

D'Angelo Law Librarians's picture
D'Angelo Law Librarians
Contact:
1121 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-9631
Website / Blog Page
Subjects:Law