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Student Legal Services

Encyclopedias and dictionaries

Legal encyclopedias are secondary (and sometimes tertiary) sources that explain legal terms and concepts, legislation, and notable court cases. They are a useful starting point for research because they summarize the topic and often provide references to the most important statutes and cases. Legal encyclopedias can be general, or focused on a particular area of law.

Legal dictionaries briefly explain legal terms and concepts. and are useful when you are not clear on the meaning of a legal term, particularly due to the law's extensive use of Latin terminology. Legal dictionaries can be general, or focused on a particular area of law. Some legal dictionaries provide references to a term's use in legislation and court law, to show what the legislature and judiciary intended it to mean.

Legal encyclopedias

Legal encyclopedias can provide you with a summary of the law on your topic. 

UMass subscription databases

Books and e-books

Legal dictionaries

UMass subscription databases

Web links

Books

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