Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

General Legal Research: Legal Encyclopedias

Information on basic primary and secondary legal sources.

Legal Encyclopedias

What are Legal Encyclopedias?

A legal encyclopedia is a multivolume text with short articles on different legal topics.  In general, a legal encyclopedia is arranged similarly to a general encyclopedia you may have used before.  It is organized alphabetically by topic and entries include reference to other secondary sources and/or primary authority.



Why use a Legal Encyclopedia?

Legal Encyclopedias are a great starting place when you want an introduction and general overview on a specific legal topic.  In addition, legal encyclopedia entries provide citations to other useful secondary sources, as well as primary authority.

Types of Legal Encyclopedias

There are 3 main types of legal encylcopedias.

  1. National
  2. State-specific
    • Summary of Pennsylvania Jurisprudence 2d: in print in the LRC and online in WestlawNext
    • Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia: in print in the LRC and online in Lexis Advance
  3. Subject-specific
    • E.g. Fletcher Cyclopedia of Corporations: in print in the LRC and online in WestlawNext