In prep for our overview of secondary sources in Thursday’s class (May 13), please choose any one (or more!) of the articles linked below, read it, then reply to this post with a response, like something(s) you found interesting, and why; and/or question(s) you have; or anything else you’d like to say about this topic! To reply to this post, click “leave a reply” or “[#] Replies” below, or click the “comment” bubble in the upper right corner. Please post your reply by 9am Thursday morning!
Happy reading and replying!
- Daemen College, Paralegal Studies, “Secondary Legal Sources” (for paralegal studies students): https://libguides.daemen.edu/Paralegal/secondary-sources
- Yale Law School, “Secondary Sources” (for law school students, but you’ll do fine with it) https://library.law.yale.edu/secondary-sources
- Jeremy Byellin, “The basics of secondary sources – what, why, how” (for new attorneys, but you’ll do fine with this too!) https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/articles/the-basics-of-secondary-sources-what-why-how
I read “Secondary Sources” from Yale Law School one of the elements I found interesting is the overall value of secondary sources. Although secondary sources are not binding authority they can still serve a great purpose. For example, they can help find and locate an actual law that is binding and they can help to aid someone in simply having a better all-around understanding or description of the law. Additionally, for me, the most important aspect of secondary law is that it can be used to persuade because often in the law field, the law may not be on your side so you may have to anchor it to your position or stance. In essence, as long as secondary law is not confused with actual official law then its usefulness can be a very handy tool.
Thanks Jasiyah! I agree with that article that it can be very useful to cite secondary sources in certain situations. (Our textbook and many other commentators disagree. Oh well.)
The basic of secondary sources- I found it interesting to understand why people choose to use secondary sources although it does not establish the law but it explains it and gives it a better understanding. Also, understanding that it could save a person a lot of time when looking up unfamiliar cases.And also , looking up secondary sources can help bring a person to more relevant and updated information.
Thanks Sherona! Yes secondary sources can be a real time and effort-saver, especially when you enter the world of electronic research where you can literally get lost in the universe of sources.
I found some useful information on the secondary sources Yale law school website. Tools that can help you find treatises which are secondary sources are MORRIS or the Georgetown Treatise Finder. I also stumbled upon ALR which provide topical annotations, according to the article ALR can help you find cases.
Thanks Joseph! I’ve never used those treatise finders but I agree the ALR can be very helpful when you are researching a specific point.
Jeremy Byellin, “The basics of secondary sources – what, why, how” –“One of the chief reasons being that secondary sources may reflect the prevailing view on how courts interpret primary sources. Some secondary sources are so authoritative that courts themselves rely on them in their rulings.” ta da! I like a good read that is simple and straight to the point but idea very resourceful. Even thou we are not lawyer (yet!) we should be reading these articles that help break down what we need to learn.
Thanks Daniella! If one can find a secondary source, like an article or treatise, that was written by a well-respected judge or law school professor, that can be especially persuasive to a court!
After reading “Secondary Sources” from Yale Law School I thought it was very informative and well organized. Any questions that I had, they made sure to cover it. I liked how it gave us examples of what secondary sources are and explained as to why. Not only that, but I liked how in the beginning they made sure to clarify that second sources IS NOT the law.
Thanks Yaire! Yes, that point can’t be stressed too frequently: secondary sources are NOT “the law.” Even law school students need to be reminded!
After reading the three articles, it helped me see how essential secondary sources are. In the Yale Law article it said, “A secondary source can be used for three different purposes: it might educate you about the law, it might direct you to the primary law, or it might serve as persuasive authority.” Secondary sources not only give you more information about a topic but they can be so authoritative that courts themselves rely on them in their rulings. This is seen in cases of first impression.
Thanks Ariana! Yes secondary sources can be particularly helpful to cite in a case of first impression, where the court has an opportunity to “make new law” so they may be particularly open to different perspectives!
Reading the Deamen Library articles I found out that Jury instructions can also be considered “secondary legal sources” due to the fact that may jurisdictions both at state and federal level have approved pattern of jury instructions for previously tried cases. And because these patterns or uniform jury instructions are decided by a legal authority, they provide an understanding of the law.
Thanks Nasser! Yes it’s kind of odd to think of jury instructions as “secondary sources” but effectively, they are “about the law” because they instruct the jurors on what laws to apply. Thanks for bringing that point to our attention!
The article, “The basics of secondary sources- what, why, how”, discusses how secondary sources explain the law. Although it doesn’t hold much weight in some courts, it is used as a reference to current cases. Secondary sources are also a good way to spend less time researching a topic and offers valuable insight.
Thanks Ninmah! Yes, secondary sources have more benefits than many people expect.
After reading “Secondary Sources” from Yale Law School website, what I found interesting was how useful it was. Not only it desrcribes particular secondary sources and what they provide but it also showed photos of the source and descriptions. Furthermore, in the website I came to the conclusion that even though its “not the law” , secondary source could be very helpful. Secondary source is very easy to find and yet still be very accurate to its purpose of the law and not to mention that it is easier to understand. In the website, it described ALR which basing on the article, it came be very helpful to find cases.