Legal guides and tutorials on the Web provide "on demand" legal research instruction. On these sites, you can guide yourself through an online tutorial, listen to a podcast or browse for an article or legal bibliography on your topic. These guides and tutorials are available from a number of sources as described below. Wisconsin Sites University of Wisconsin Law Library The UW Law Library staff has created many bibliographies and guides to materials and services available at the library or online. Some guides cover a specific legal topic, such as criminal law, estate planning, legal history, environmental law, foreign & international law, etc. Other guides direct users to services available to them, such as Sources of Information for the Wisconsin Attorney and Guide to Low Cost Legal Resources in Dane County. Wisconsin State Law Library The Wisconsin State Law Library has an extensive collection of guides and links to legal tutorials. Guides are available for Wisconsin law, federal law, treaties and international law, as well as, topical guides and legal tutorials. For more introductory materials, see the area on How and Where to Begin Your Research. To find the tutorials, scroll down to the Research Tools section. Marquette University Law Library Marquette Law Library also has a collection of research guides. Their Web sites states that the guides may be useful to those beginning research on a legal topic or undertaking legal research for the first time. Some serve as an introduction to an area of the law or a particular kind of resource, while others provide assistance in the practical tasks that accompany legal work, such as citing and using primary and secondary sources. Those who are experienced legal researchers as well as those new to legal research may find these guides useful in their descriptions of resources for locating the current state of the law and in their suggestions for manipulating unfamiliar databases. Other Law Libraries Many university law libraries provide legal research guides and several law libraries also provide an online tutorial for instruction in legal research. Listed are a few law libraries that provide these services:The Virtual Chase provides a list of legal tutorials on a variety of topics. To create your own list of links, enter "tutorial" in the search menu box at the top of the home page. For more on The Virtual Chase, see their "About" page. Another useful site on by The Virtual Chase is Internet Research Presentations and Teaching Web Sites. Findlaw.com Findlaw.com, a free legal web portal owned by Thomson Corporation, has a section for Law Student Resources which provides legal guides and tutorials for legal instruction. Legal Databases Westlaw.com Westlaw's Training Options provides a selection of topical subject guides and instructional tools for learning how to research with Westlaw. LexisNexis.com LexisNexis also offers a collection of tutorials and tours (log-in required). They range from basic research skills to researching in a specific area of law. LexisNexis also sponsors Zimmerman's Research Guide, a wonderful site containing legal research tutorials, as well as, many topical guides for legal research online. This is an excellent staring point when researching a new area of law.
Submitted by Jenny Zook, Reference Librarian on January 15, 2008
This article appears in the categories: Law Library/IT