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MSL Introduction to Legal Research: Legal Research Process

Legal research assistance for MSL students writing seminar papers.

Categories of Resources

Primary authority is the law and is the heart of your analysis.

Secondary sources and finding tools are the most likely place to start your research. Their role is:

  • Identify/refine search terms
  • Obtain an overview of your subject
  • Locate primary and persuasive authorities
  • Refocus your research.

Citators (KeyCite & Shepards) allow you to be sure you are aware of the most current statements of the law and that you know how the primary authority you are relying upon has been subsequently treated.

Legal Research Self Study

Self-study options include legal research textbooks (both print and electronic) and the UNM Law Library's recorded screencast Summer Research Series (UNM Law intranet login required).

Process Diagrams

The path you choose depends on the situation:

  • How knowledgeable are you about the topic
  • What information do you have when you approach the problem.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.