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Essential Legal Research Skills for Law Students: Home

During the fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, some of the library services will be modified to address the effects of the COVID-19 virus. Check the Law Library web page for updates (


          This guide supplements the legal research sessions in the first-year Legal Skills classes.
          It includes basic information on legal resources, citation, and resources available
          at the Law Library.

          Rules of citation are found in the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

          SOURCES OF LAW:

          Primary Sources:                                                              Secondary Sources:               
case law                                                                         - legal treatises
                 -  statutes                                                                           - hornbooks
                 - regulations                                                                      - law reviews
                                                                                                              - forms.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



While in law school, use your Westlaw ID and password
to access TWEN sites for your classes, to view the class
syllabus and course materials posted by your professors,
and to submit assignments online.



     Register for CALI. You can get the registration code from the Law Library on TWEN site.

Legal System Basics

Law School Exams as Study Aids

To submit your exams anonymously, obtain your anonymous code from the Registrar's Office, then follow the instructions on the Law Library's AskUs FAQ page.

To review old exams used for previous classes on the same subjects, add "Law Library on TWEN" to your course list, then follow the link for "Exams" in the left-hand column of the page. You can also find Database Passwords for the Law Library's periodical subscriptions, such as the Environmental Law Reporter.

Legal Research Competency

N.Y. Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1(a): “A lawyer should provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” 

“An attorney may be liable for ignorance of the rules of practice, for failure to comply with conditions precedent to suit, for neglect to prosecute or defend an action, or for failure to conduct adequate legal research.” Conklin v. Owen, 900 N.Y.S.2d 118, 119 (App. Div. 2010) (emphasis added).

Gonzalez-Sevrin v. Ford Motor Co., 662 F.3d 931 (7th Cir. 2011) (importance of governing precedents in legal arguments).