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Legal Studies: Getting Started

Your Librarian

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Michael Perry
Subjects: Legal Studies

• How do I start finding books and articles related to my topic?

  • Take a look at the suggested readings in Kitty Calavita’s An Invitation to Law and Society (on reserve at the library).
  • Wiley- Blackwell publishes volumes (most available electronically through the library) contains essays by leaders in the field quickly summarizing existing scholarship on a variety of broad topics. I recommend: 
  • The Annual Review of Law and Social Science publishes annual review essays on different topics. In 2018, essays included “Eyewitness Science and the Legal System,” “Judging the Judiciary by the Numbers: Empirical Research on Judges,” and “The Role of Social Science Expertise in Same-Sex Marriage Litigation.” The journal began in 2005; it is useful to go through all 14 past volumes to see what articles there might be on your topic.

How can I quickly get up to speed in a particular area of law?


Nutshells are comprehensive guides to the law in specific areas. Written by recognized legal scholars, these books offer a summary of the law and provide references to relevant cases and statutes. These are a great place to get started in legal research.

The library holds many of the nutshell books (published by West), with some at Main Library and many more at the Pritzker Legal Research Center.

You can find these using NUsearch by doing a guided search for the keyword "nutshell" in the title field and "west" in the anywhere field.

Here are just a few examples: