Law students and lawyers will some times start their research on the internet, but rarely do they finish there. Real legal research is conducted in specific sources like case law, codes and regulations. While some of these sources are available on the internet the coverage is not usually comprehensive or up-to-date.
Secondary sources are materials that explain, analyze,critique or help you find the law. Law reviews are a great resource to get started. You can access them through the database JSTOR or the direct links below.
A basic understanding of the United States legal system is essential to knowing what to look for and where to find it. The legal system is actually three parallel systems -- federal law, state law, and administrative law -- operating under the authority of the US and state Constitutions. The primary law of each system flows from three primary sources:
Once you have identified useful cases, it is important to update the cases before you rely on them. Updating case law means checking to see if it is still "good law." Using Shepard's, you can see if a case has been overruled, reaffirmed, questioned, or cited by later cases.