1. Introduction

Introduction to this Special Education Law & Legislation Guide

When starting legal research, there are several questions to be considered. Is your issue state or federal? Is the matter civil or criminal? The answers to these questions will impact where you look for your information.

Another major question is whether the matter is one of primary authority or secondary authority. Primary Authority is what attorneys cite in legal documents, usually cases, statutes, or regulations. Secondary authority explains and cites to primary authority, usually journal articles, legal books or treatises, legal encyclopedias, etc.

Review the following presentation to familiarize yourself with Primary and Secondary legal sources, how to read a legal cite, and the Federal and State court system.

Would you like to know more? Review the following chapter "How to Read a Legal Opinion".

2. Finding Legal Cases

Legal Citation

Locating legal cases and other resources is much easier when you have a proper citation. Review the resource linked below "Introduction to Basic Legal Citation".  The examples section of the resource linked below provides helpful examples of all types of legal citation.

The Lexis-Nexis Academic database is a good resource to use to locate State and Federal cases

Lexis-Nexis Academic is a licensed library resource, That means it is not a free resource to the general public, but you have access because you are a Wayne State student, and the library provides you with access.

Browse the Finding Lexis-Nexis Academic PowerPoint presentation for a quick introduction to locating and searching Lexis-Nexis Academic.

The link directly below will take you directly to the Lexis-Nexis Academic database.

Want to learn more? Watch the video below for an overview of how to search Lexis-Nexis Academic.

Finding Case Law Using Google Scholar

You can use Google Scholar to locate state and federal case law. Watch the video below to learn how to navigate Google Scholar. 

Locating U.S. Supreme Court Cases

You can use Lexis-Nexis Academic to locate U.S. Supreme Court cases. Select the Search by Subject or Topic box, then select Landmark Cases.

You can also use Google Scholar. Watch the Google Scholar video for a demonstration.

Or try the Cornell University Law Supreme Court Collection linked below.

Additional resources for finding legal cases are below.

3. Finding Legislation

State of Michigan Legislation

Other States and Federal Legislation

Professional Resources

Find out more: Reference Resources

Special Education Law/Legal Resources

Law Reviews, Legal Newspapers and Journals (Secondary Authority)