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Georgetown Law Library

Secondary Sources Research Guide

This guide explains various types of secondary sources, including legal encyclopedias and American Law Reports, and how to use them.


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What are Restatements of the Law?

Restatements of the Law attempt to organize and codify the common law of the U.S. They are published by the American Law Institute, whose members include scholars, judges, and practitioners. Restatements provide black-letter rules, comments, illustrations, and reporter's notes. Areas of law covered by Restatements include Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Employment Law, Foreign Relations Law of the U.S., Judgments, Law Governing Lawyers, Property, Restitution, Security, Suretyship and Guaranty, Torts, Trusts, Unfair Competition, U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration.

Why Use Restatements?

They are the most persuasive secondary source because they can become binding law if adopted by a jurisdiction. The main volumes contain statements of the common law rules, whereas the appendices contain lists by jurisdiction of cases applying the corresponding rule. 

Restatements Tutorial

Running time: 1:42 minutes

Created/updated: August 2023
Last reviewed: August 2023

Restatements (Online)