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Secondary Sources in Legal Research: Restatements

Encyclopedias. Treatises, Periodicals, Restatement, American Law Reports and other secondary source material.

Restatements

Published by the American Law Institute (ALI), Restatements are a codification of the common law.  Covering a variety of fields, the Restatements essentially "restate" the common law rules as they have developed over time in the majority of U.S. jurisdictions.  Along with providing common law doctrines, the Restatements include commentary, hypotheticals illustrating how the rules should apply, and case summaries. The Restatements generally carry substantial weight as persuasive authority and are frequently cited.

Restatement rules, comments and illustrations are available on both Lexis Advance and WestlawNext. Case summaries are available on WestlawNext and selectively available on Lexis Advance

When to use Restatements:

  • Find a well organized discussion of the law
    • Rules
    • Explanations
    • Examples
  • When primary authority is adverse, can use to suggest what the law should be
  • Probably the most persuasive of all persuasive authority.

Components

  • Restatement Rule
  • Comments
    • provide commentary on the proper interpretations of the rules
  • Illustrations
    • demonstrate how the rules should apply
  • Reporter’s Notes
    • may tell you if the rule represents a choice between conflicting rules, majority or minority
  • Case Summaries
    • for cases that have cited that restatement section. Many courts have adopted Restatement sections verbatim as the law of their jurisdiction.

Finding Restatements on Lexis

Log on to Lexis Advance

  1. Click Browse
  2. Click Sources
  3. Click Category
  4. Click Secondary Materials
  5. On left, under Category, click More
  6. Click Restatements

Choose appropriate Restatement by title or by Practice Areas & Topics (on left)

Finding Restatements on Westlaw

Log on to Westlaw

Click Secondary Sources

Click Restatements & Principles of the Law

Choose appropriate restatement.  Don't forget to look to the right for an index to the Restatement you are using.