Unlike conventional legal research books that just teach students how to find and use the various sources of law, this book stresses a systematic, practice-oriented approach to acquiring legal-research skills. It presents a simple yet highly effective research strategy that prepares students to efficiently solve the types of complex legal-research problems they can expect to encounter in the workplace. The book includes a section of tips on how to avoid common research pitfalls, as well as a Trouble-Shooting Guide to help students overcome the occasional obstacles that may crop up in their research projects. For these reasons, the book makes an ideal stand-alone text for the first-year legal-research class, as well as an excellent supplementary text for advanced legal-research classes.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: Coursebook
Publication Date: 10/23/2015

Mark K. Osbeck, University of Michigan Law School


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  • The book has been thoroughly updated to account for advances in research technology since it was originally published. The Second Edition provides extensive coverage of WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law. It also provides a basic overview of other electronic research platforms, such as Ravel, Fastcase, and Casemaker.
  • Chapters 1, 3, 4, and 6 have been modified to reflect the transition to the newer electronic research platforms (e.g., WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law).
  • Chapter 7 has been expanded to add an additional section to the Trouble-Shooting Guide on how to find the “best” cases to use.
  • Chapters 8 and 9 have been expanded in two ways. First, the discussion of the various primary and secondary sources has been fleshed out a bit. And second, there are three additional sections: a new section on loose-leaf services in Chapter 8, and new sections on local law and on foreign law/international law in Chapter 9.
  • There is also a new Research Strategy Checklist in the Appendix at the end of the book to make it easier for students to assess whether they have properly followed the 5-step research strategy set out in Part I of the book.
  • Finally, there are some additional, minor changes sprinkled throughout the book to elaborate on certain topics, and to ensure that the material is up to date.

Learn more about this series.