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Legal Research and Writing

Legal Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Legal Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Learn about using legal dictionaries and encyclopedias.


The most basic secondary legal resources are dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Legal dictionaries are very valuable tools for legal research and writing, because the law has its own language. Everyday words can often have a different or specific meaning within the context of the law. The good news is legal dictionaries, most notably Black’s Law Dictionary, will help reveal those meanings in a familiar format. There is nothing unique or special about using a legal dictionary; rather, it is simply...