Skip to Main Content

Secondary Sources

This guide will help explain why you should generally start your legal research with secondary resources, which to use for your research task, and how to use them effectively.

What are Restatements?

  • Restatements are an attempt to organize and codify the common law of the United States.
    • They are promulgated by the American Law Institute, which is an organization that consists of attorneys, judges and law professors.
  • There are thirteen Restatements covering broad areas of law, such as: Contracts, Property, and Torts.
  • They are not primary law but they can carry weight as persuasive authority.

When to use Restatements?

  • Restatements are used in a wide variety of ways.
    • They are sometimes used in court as persuasive authority, especially when that jurisdiction is making a preliminary ruling about a certain issue in the law.
    • They are used in preparing other secondary sources as predictions of how the law is evolving.
      • They are often used in preparing legal periodicals, treatises, and hornbooks.

How to use Restatements?

  • The format of the various Restatements vary slightly, most volumes have a Table of Contents at the front of the volume, followed by the text, which wille be in chapter, title and section order.
  • A very detailed index usually appears at the end of the volume or set of volumes. Each section will state the specific findings of the section, followed by comments from the drafters.

Examples of Restatements

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the State of Georgia, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Georgia State University College of Law and the authors of the works contained on this website do not assume or accept any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currentness, or comprehensiveness of the content on this website. The content on this website does not in any manner constitute the issuance of legal advice or counsel. The information on this website is intended to provide resources that may aid the research of the topics presented, and are in no way a comprehensive list of sources one should consult on the topics presented. Please note that case law, statutory law, and administrative law may be modified and/or overturned. Additionally, because the laws vary between jurisdictions, the laws referred to herein may or may not be applicable to the law within the reader’s jurisdiction.