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Legal Research and Writing

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary and Secondary Sources

Master the distinction between primary and secondary legal resources and the value of mandatory and persuasive authority in forming arguments to put to a court.


When discussing legal resources, it is important to know the difference between primary and secondary legal materials. Identifying and aggregating these materials in order to solve legal problems is what legal research is all about. Articulating the solutions developed from your research is the role of legal writing.

This can be a bit more complicated than it appears on its face. The terms primary source and secondary source have a different meaning within the law than they do elsewhere. For...