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FMST 112/POLI 112 Women and the Law Course Guide

Course Guide for Women and the Law

Arts & Humanities Research Support Team

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Major Legal Databases

A legal research tool for research law-related issues.  Available to anyone using the UCSC libraries, or to UCSC faculty, students, and staff through the campus network or through Off-Campus Access.

Westlaw Next is the preferred legal database for its ease of use and comprehensive coverage.  

  • Use Lexis Nexis Academic to find additional law review articles not already in Westlaw Next.

Find Law: Tips

Legal research can be very complicated due to the complexity of the law.  Use these tips to avoid getting stuck in an informational swamp.   

  • Begin with secondary sources. In legal research, primary sources are the sources of the law (e.g. statutes, regulations, court decisions), and secondary sources are publications about law (e.g. law review articles, treatises, encyclopedias).
    • Don't try to launch into a search in the law itself, it's too easy to get lost and lose lots of precious time! Let secondary sources provide needed references to specific laws instead.
  • If the area of law is unfamiliar consult a legal encyclopedia/background source like American Jurisprudence (AmJur), Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) or West's Encyclopedia of American Law. All are available through Westlaw Next
  • Read law review articles. Law reviews are published much more frequently than books and delve into specific areas of law of concern to legal scholars.
    • When you find references to primary sources in the secondary literature, use Westlaw Next to find the specific statute, regulation or court opinion.