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Master of Law and Business: Library Resource Guide

This Library Guide contains resources for the MLB Degree Program in the School of Law

Understanding Legal Resources

When looking for legal materials, first determine the jurisdiction and branch of government. Who has jurisdiction (is it a Federal, state or local issue)? Then, decide if the answer can be found within a statute, court opinion (case) or regulation. Once you have determined the answers to these questions, you can look for the answer within the appropriate legal resource:

  • Cases (Federal or state case reporters)
  • Statutes (Federal, state, municipal or county codes)
  • Regulations (Code of Federal Regulations - CFR, State Administrative Codes, or Local Ordinances)

Primary Sources - the rules of law. Include the version of the Federal or state government's Constitution, statutes, court opinions (case law) or administrative regulations that those jurisdictions recognize as having what is known as "primary authority." 

While there are a variety of types of laws that govern, there is a hierarchy to the U.S. legal system.

The legal pyramid is as follows:

I.  Constitution

II.  Statutes

III.  Administrative Regulations (carry the same weight as statutes)

IV.  Case law (court opinions)

Secondary Sources - these sources provide analysis and commentary about aforementioned primary sources. These are helpful in locating and explaining the law. 

  • Legal Dictionaries
  • Legal Encyclopedias
  • Law Reviews
  • Annotated Law Reports
  • Treatises, Hornbooks and Nutshells
  • Restatements of the Law

Finding Resources

Specialized Databases available through NU Library. To see all NU Library Databases, go to the A-Z Database List. 

To see all NU Library Databases, go to the A-Z Database List. 

Select titles providing background content available through NU Library. 

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias available through specialized legal resources.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias databases and select titles available through NU Library.