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Types of Legal Materials
There are two basic types of legal materials:
1. Primary Law Sources
These are authorized statements of the law issued by a branch of government. They include:
- Court Rules
- Administrative Regulations
Understanding the three branches of government aids in distinguishing the source of primary materials.
- Legislative Branch: Creates laws, passes statues, sets public policy.
- Judicial Branch: Interprets laws, constitutions, statues, etc., and settles legal disputes.
- Executive Branch: Enforces laws, conducts affairs, and commands the military.
2. Secondary Law Sources
These sources provide commentary and interpretation of the law. They are a good starting point when researching an unfamiliar area of the law.
- Law review articles & reports
- Legal periodicals
- Law dictionaries, thesauruses, & encyclopedias
- Continuing legal education publications
- American Law Reports Annotations
Kern County Law Library
Cerro Coso's Ridgecrest campus hosts a branch of the Kern County Law Library.
It features a computer with access to the following resources:
- WestLaw Classic
It also houses a collection of legal materials and Nolo books, including:
- California Rules of Court
- Central California Local Court Rules
- How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation in California
- California Landlord's Law Book
- How to Do Your Own Divorce in California
- Make Your Own Living Trust
- Represent Yourself in Court
- ...and many more!
Kern County Law Library
Based in Bakersfield, the KCLL provides current legal materials so everyone may have equal access to justice along with staff to provide assistance in locating and using the collection.
Kern County Law Library Virtual Branch
The Kern County Law Library has provided a computer station and legal print materials to the Cerro Coso Library.
Westlaw Patron Access
Get two free weeks of remote access to Westlaw. All you need is your email! If preferred, you can also call 1-800-328-4880 and use extension 855597.
Here are just a few databases you might use to find articles.
Academic Search Complete [EBSCO] This link opens in a new window
Comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 journals and a total of more than 13,200 publications. The majority of full text titles are in native (searchable) PDF format.
Gale EBooks This link opens in a new window
A collection of eBook encyclopedias on nearly every subject, available 24/7 through the Gale Virtual Reference Library platform.
Nexis Uni This link opens in a new window
Covers newspapers, magazines, wire services, federal and state court opinions, federal and state statutes, federal regulations, and SEC filings. Updated daily.