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.

Legal Methods

The basic techniques of legal analysis, writing and research.

Overview of Subject Matter Services

Subject matter research services are often called "looseleaf" services.  Many are actually published in looseleaf binders so the publisher is able to update individual pages or sections as necessary. 

Subject matter research services are also available in many other formats, including bound print volumes, CD-ROMs, and internet databases.

A subject matter research service may contain some or all of the following types of information:

  • news or analysis of current events in the field
  • statutory material (federal or state statutes, legislative history of pertinent statutes)
  • administrative material (federal or state regulations and agency decisions)
  • cases (federal or state)

Some areas for which subject matter services are available include environmental law, tax, bankruptcy, government contracts, intellectual property, employment and labor law, and securities law.

Some of the best known publishers of subject matter services are:

Subject Matter Research - Lexis and Westlaw

Both Lexis and Westlaw have databases devoted to subject areas of the law.  These databases allow you to search cases, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, and other materials in a subject area, instead of by jurisdiction.  You could search all jurisdictions in that subject area, or you could choose to search only materials for an individual state.