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Thinking About Legal Research Problems

Created by Paul D. Callister from earlier version at

For Primary Materials, Determine the Kind of Law, Jurisdiction & Arrangement

Arrangement of the Law

Primary law is always organized in multiple ways--chronologically, by topic and by citation.

Institution Kind of Law How the Law is Published (Arrangements)?
Chronologically Topically By Citation
Capitol Legislature Statutory Law

Session Laws (video)


Statutory Codes (video)

(Mo Revised Statutes)

Shepard's/KeyCite/Annotated Codes (video)

Court House Courts Case Law Case Reports

Case Digests (Summaries of Primary Authority) (video)

Shepard's/KeyCite/ALR (video)
White house Agencies & Executive Branch Administrative Law

Administrative Registers or Regulations


Administrative Codes

(Mo Code of State Regulations)

Shepard's/KeyCite (video - same as above)

Table based upon Christopher G. Wren and Jill Robinson Wren, The Teaching of Legal Research, 80 Law Libr. J. 7, 35 (Matrix A) (1988).  See also Christopher G. Wren and Jill Robinson Wren, The Legal Research Manual 17 (fig. K) (2d ed. 1986).

A More Advanced Model

Legal Recourses Conceptual Framework


Attribution:  Dr. Peter Hook, Director and Associate Dean of the Law Library at Washington University Law Library in St Louis.