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Secondary Sources:
ALRs, Encyclopedias, Law Reviews, Restatements, & Treatises

Secondary sources will help you save time as you begin research on a topic by providing analysis, explanation, and leads to key primary sources.

Intro to ALR

American Law Reports (frequently abbreviated and referred to as ALR) contains in-depth articles on narrow topics of the law. ALR articles, called annotations, provide background, analysis, and citations to relevant cases, statutes, law review articles, and other annotations.

ALR is published in series:

  • two series under its original title Lawyers Reports Annotated
  • eight ALR series, one through six
  • two federal series

ALR annotations are not jurisdiction specific. Each annotation contains a Table of Jurisdictions to help you find relevant cases within specific states. In the federal series, the Table of Jurisdictions directs you to cases by circuit.

All ALR series continue to be updated, though not on a regular schedule. When using the set in print, always check the pocket parts for updates. ALR is also available in both Lexis and Westlaw, and the electronic versions incorporate updates into the text. ALR annotations can also be completely superceded by more recent annotations. Electronic versions will provide referrals to the superceding annotations, but in print, you should check the History Table at the end of the ALR Index to verify that your annotation has not been superceded.

Find relevant annotations by using the print indices or searching the ALR databases in Lexis or Westlaw. When using ALR electronically, it is most efficient to look for your terms in the titles of the annotations, since their titles are specific, and reflect their contents.

Finding ALR in print and online

How to Cite ALR Annotations

See Bluebook Rule 16.6.6

Quick example:

William B. Johnson, Annotation, Use of Plea Bargain or Grant of Immunity as Improper Vouching for Credibility of Witness in Federal Cases, 76 A.L.R. FED. 409 (1986).