Suppose you get an assignment on an area of law you really haven’t studied before. The best place to begin is to see if a legal treatise exists on this topic so that you can familiarize yourself with the applicable laws, regulations and cases.
A legal treatise is simply a book that covers one particular area of law at length. Some treatises cover broad topics, such as employment law, while others may focus narrowly on a single statute, like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some treatises are a single volume, while others consist of multiple volumes devoted to all aspects of the subject. A highlight of a treatise is that it provides in-depth analysis with frequent citations to primary law. Most contain a Table of Cases and Statutes. Some are published in hardbound and reprinted as updates are necessary. Others are a looseleaf publication, which can be updated on a regular basis.
Georgetown Law Library owns and maintains thousands of treatises. Most are located in our stacks and they are all in our Gulliver catalog. We’ve compiled a Treatise Finder to help you identify the most authoritative treatises for over fifty areas of law. So this summer when your first assignment looks daunting, try to locate a treatise on point for substantial background material!
Written by Margaret Krause