Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Washington Legal Research

Planning a research project involving Washington law? The second, 2009 edition of Washington Legal Research, co-authored by Professors Tom Cobb, Mary Hotchkiss, and Julie Heintz-Cho (former Seattle University professor who wrote the first edition), is a good place to start for information about the state’s legal resources.

This paperback book is concise and easy to use. It is designed for first-year law students and covers general research techniques and strategies. There are a number of helpful tables (e.g., a list of common citator phrases with their explanations) and figures (e.g., a case excerpt with the parts of the decision delineated). An appendix covers general legal citation conventions and Washington-specific citation rules.

Professors Cobb and Hotchkiss have rearranged the first edition to follow the research process taught by most law schools, beginning with secondary resources and moving on to primary law sources (statutes, cases, and administrative materials). Each chapter on primary Washington law includes additional information on federal legal research. Citators, legislative history, and digests are also covered. Readers are pointed to both print and online tools.

Whether you are in your first year of law school or just doing your first research project involving Washington law, consider consulting a state legal research guide. This book will get you quickly to the basic resources you will need. It is part of a series that now covers about nineteen states.

Other publishers also produce state guides. The Gallagher Law Library owns most of them and the most recent editions are located in the Reference Area. To locate a particular state legal research guide, run a subject search in the Law Library catalog like this one for a California guide: legal research California.

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