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American Law Reports (ALR). A unique research tool to help you find encyclopedic essays on a particular point of law. American Law Reports. Selective case law reporting. Publisher focuses on a particular legal issue and collects relevant cases.

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American Law Reports (ALR)

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American law reports alr

American Law Reports (ALR)

A unique research tool to help you find encyclopedic essays on a particular point of law.

American law reports

American Law Reports

  • Selective case law reporting.

  • Publisher focuses on a particular legal issue and collects relevant cases.

  • Provides entry into the publisher’s Total Client-Service Library research system.

A unique case finding tool

A unique case finding tool.

  • Identifies points of law not previously resolved.

  • Helps to signal a change in the law.

  • Identifies emerging trends in legal thinking.

  • Groups cases in one place to assist in analyzing and synthesizing material.

  • Find a relevant A.L.R. and you have a great start on any research project.

Direct route to case law research

Direct Route To Case Law Research

  • Each A.L.R. is a complete legal memorandum on a particular legal issue.

  • Relevant sources are collected and analyzed.

  • Detailed discussion of the general principles deduced from the cases.

American law reports alr

And . . .

  • The A.L.R. series provides information regarding:

    • distinctions,

    • exceptions,

    • and applications of the principal under review.

The substantive section

The Substantive Section

  • The bulk of the article is the case summary. It provides an objective discussion of the court’s statements on a given issue.

    • 1. General conclusion on the issue.

    • 2. The facts and contentions before the court.

    • 3. The court’s reasoning to support its conclusion.

A l r federal

A.L.R. Federal

  • Discusses Federal topics only.

  • A.L.R. Fed. -- 1969 to date.

  • Until 1993 (volume 111) the illustrative case immediately preceded the Annotation.

  • Cases are now reported in full following the Annotation.

A l r federal1

A.L.R. Federal

  • Includes references to West Group products.

    • Ex. C.J.S. and the Topic/Key Number System.

  • Volume 128 introduces a new Special Commentaries feature written by an expert practitioner dealing with their legal specialty.

  • A component of the set, called ALR Federal Tables, is a useful finding aid.

Fifth series a l r 5th

Fifth Series -- A.L.R. 5th

  • State topics only.

  • 1992 to date.

  • Refers to

    • textbooks and encyclopedias from various publisher.

    • Pertinent law review articles.

    • Suggested electronic searches.

    • Relevant West Key Numbers.

  • Has Table of Contents, Scope Note, Jurisdictional Tables, Related Annotations and Practice Pointers.

A l r 5th article features

A.L.R. 5th Article Features

  • Prefatory Statement functions as a scope note.

  • Citation of illustrative case which is fully reported infra.

  • Table of Contents provides a detailed outline of the article.

  • Both sides of an issue are presented.

    • Provides objective and balanced analysis of the law.

Fourth series a l r 4th 1980 1992

Fourth Series A.L.R. 4th 1980-1992.

  • State topics only.

  • Regular set features -- illustrative cases, outlines, Annotations, indexes, and research references.

  • Enhancements found in the Federal and 5th series are being incorporated in the annual pocket parts.

Earlier a l r series

Earlier A.L.R. Series

  • Third SeriesA.L.R.3d 1965 -1980.

    • State & Federal topics from 1965 -1969.

    • Updated by annual pocket part.

  • Second SeriesA.L.R.2d 1948 -1965.

    • Contains state and federal topics.

    • More convoluted updating method.

  • First SeriesA.L.R. 1919 -1948.

    • Contains state and federal topics.

    • More convoluted updating method.

How to find a relevant a l r

How to find a relevant A.L.R.

  • Index Method -- multi-volume ALR Index covers all but the 1st series. Updated by annual pocket part.

  • Also, a ALR Federal Quick Index and a ALR Quick Index for ALR 3d, 4th, and 5th. (Coverage is not as thorough).

The index uses an alphabetical descriptive word approach

The index uses an alphabetical, descriptive word approach:

  • Use synonyms and antonyms. Also, TARP Rule --Things, Actions, Relief, Persons or Parties.

  • Classifying entries under a variety of legal and factual terms and concepts.

Think access



Another way to find a relevant a l r

Another way to find a relevant A.L.R.

  • Digest method.

    • Subjects are classified in over 400 legal topics arranged alphabetically.

    • Initially it was not a West Group publication and the prior publishers had their own classification scheme.

  • First determine applicable topics and consult the outline for sections covering your point of law.


Alternatively, . . .

  • Consult the Table of Laws, Rules, and Regulation if you have:

    • A specific federal or state statute,

    • rule or regulation,

    • uniform laws,

    • model acts,

    • restatements, or

    • code of ethics

You will be pleased to know

You will be pleased to know . . .

  • The over 13,000+ Annotations from the 2d to latest A.L.R. series are available electronically on . . . WESTLAW and LEXIS Check vendor directories.

And don t forget

And don’t forget . . .

  • When “Shepardizing” primary legal authority, references are given to whether an American Law Report has been written on the case or statute.

    • This is a great way to get started on a research project that deals with a known case or statute.

Be careful be aware things change

Be careful, be aware!Things change . . .

  • The credibility of any A.L.R. you use is influenced by:

    • New statutes that are enacted,

    • Recent cases continue to interpret statutes,

    • and the law continues to evolve.

How to stay up to date using the various a l r series

How to stay up-to-date using the various A.L.R. series.

  • A.L.R. 3d, 4th, 5th, and Federal.

    • These newer series are updated by annual pocket parts.

    • But, for complete coverage, as new volumes are published in any of the series, the contents page or “subject annotated” section must be consulted.

Earlier series are a little more difficult

Earlier series are a little more difficult . . .

  • A.L.R. 2d utilizes a multi-volume Later Case Service system updated with pocket parts.

  • A.L.R. (First Series) utilizes a cumbersome 8 volume A.L.R. Blue Book of Supplemental Decisions.

  • Plus pocket parts!!

For all series check for

Superseding Annotations Editors may rewrite and publish in a later A.L.R. a superseding (replacement) Annotation.

Supplementing Annotations Used by the first two series. You must consult the original Annotation and read it with the new supplemental material as if they were one Annotation.

For all series check for:

Keeping current is critical

Keeping current is critical!

  • Consult the Annotation History Table to avoid relying on obsolete or incomplete annotations.

    • The table is located in the index volume containing the letter Z.

  • You can also “Shepardize” Annotations.

  • Call the Latest Case Service Hotline -- located on cover of the supplement.

Final points to remember

Final points to remember:

  • American Law Reports are a great starting point for finding relevant cases on a particular point of law.

  • As a secondary resource, the Annotations functions as a finding aid that will lead you to primary authority.

Bluebook r ule 16 6 6

Bluebook Rule 16.6.6

  • Cite discussions in selective case reporters (such as American Law Reports and Lawyer’s Reports Annotated) by the author’s full name, followed by the designation “Annotation” in ordinary roman type and the title of the work in italics.

16 6 6 annotations example

16.6.6 Annotations 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).

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