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Introduction to Essential Lawyering Skills Research Guide: Treatises and Practice Guides

Guide provides information about library resources and research tips for students in the Introduction to Essential Lawyering Skills.

Treatises and Practice Guides

Treatises are scholarly publications containing an organized summary of the law on a particular subject, such as real estate or copyright law. Practice Guides are a type of treatise which is aimed at practitioners. They are usually less scholarly in tone and contains more practical information, such as useful forms and litigation procedures and timelines.

Treatises and practice guides typically contain:

  • An overview of the current state of the law (as of the treatise’s publication)
  • Citations to relevant primary authorities, like statutes, case law, and administrative regulations.

Print treatises also contain tables of cases and statutes cited, Popular Name tables to look up a Law or Act by name, and an index at the end so you to look your topic up by keyword. The Table of Content at the front of the treatise is also a quick and useful starting point to review important topics contained in the treatise.

Access to Treatises and Practice Guides at the Library

Important publishers of treatises include:

  • Rutter Guides, available in print and electronically on Westlaw (type Rutter guides in the main search field or click the Secondary Sources link)
  • Matthew Bender guides, available in print and electronically on Lexis (type Matthew Bender in the main search field or click the top tab Browse - Sources and then search by source on the left-hand side, or otherwise from this page click category-secondary materials then narrow by treatises)
  • CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) guides, available electronically on CEB Onlaw

Access to Treatises and Practice Guide at your job

Be aware that access to treatises on Lexis and Westlaw are costly and may be outside the institution or firm’s plan. If you use these electronically through Westlaw, Lexis or Bloomberg Law, and your firm does not subscribe to them, you will get charged per document you pull. Instead, the institution is likely to own the major treatise in their field in print, and you will be expected to use it to start your research assignment.

If you’re not sure which treatise to use, you can do the following:

  • Ask an expert, like the assigning attorney or the court librarian
  • Search the library catalog by keyword. At Hastings, narrow your results to the Location Research Alcove.