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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.

Legal Dictionaries

What are legal dictionaries used for?
  • Legal terms have developed very complex and specific meanings making legal dictionaries a necessary part of all legal research.
  • They are arranged similarly to that of a regular dictionary.
  • In addition to definitions, legal dictionaries also include judicially defined terms with reference to cited authority.
  • The most commonly consulted legal dictionaries are Black's Law Dictionary and Ballentine's Law Dictionary. To the left of this page are links to free online searchable legal dictionaries, the dictionaries cited above are also searchable online via their publisher's website Westlaw and LexisNexis, respectively.

Examples and Links to Legal Dictionaries

A law dictionary is a dictionary designed to provide information about terms used in the legal field. 

Black's Law Dictionary

Photo by LibraryThing found here.

Blacks Law Dctionary

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.