Research tip #4: Capitalize on the knowledge of experts

Starting your research with secondary sources will save you a lot of time – instead of you spending hours first searching for the cases, statutes, and regulations relevant to your topic, and then toiling to decipher overarching legal principles from those laws, by cracking open a relevant secondary source you will often find citations to the core primary sources for your topic as well as clear explanations and expert analysis of the issue(s).  Which secondary source you choose will depend on your research needs.  To quickly learn about an unfamiliar area of law and get guidance from legal experts on your topic, we recommend practice materials.

What are practice materials?
Practice materials are publications written by legal practitioners for use by other practitioners.  They are often authored by attorneys who are experts in their field, and provide authoritative guidance on the practice of law in a specific area.  As their name implies, practice materials are very practical – they generally take a “brass tacks” approach to legal issues with a focus on real world legal problems.  Often these publications also include sample forms, checklists, and illustrations based on real cases.

Finding relevant practice materials
You can identify practice materials relevant to your topic by consulting the Ross-Blakley Law Library’s Arizona Practice Materials and General/Federal Practice Materials research guides for a listing of practice materials available through the Library.

You can also search the ASU Libraries Catalog for other practice materials.

To find sample forms, check out the Law Library’s research guides on Arizona Legal Forms and General/Federal Legal Forms and consider consulting one of the following multi-volume resources: