Spotlight: Carolina Academic Press Legal Research series

October 21, 2022

Carolina Academic Press publishes the Legal Research Series, a collection of books focused on “essential elements of legal research in each jurisdiction.” Each book provides an overview of state and federal law for a particular jurisdiction: currently the series consists of 33 states and one volume on Federal Legal Research. The series is a resource for practicing attorneys, students, paralegals, and others interested in legal research. It focuses on concisely explaining legal resources and research methods, rather than providing in-depth bibliographies.

The series was created by Suzanne E. Rowe, the Director of Legal Research and Writing at the University of Oregon School of Law. Rowe wrote Oregon Legal Research and co-authored several other books in the series. After thirteen years, Rowe turned editing duties over to the current editor, Tenielle Fordyce-Ruff, who is an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Each work in the series covers many of the same topics; all include chapters on legal analysis and the research process; secondary sources; constitutional law; and statutory, regulatory, and case law research. Each also covers topics like citators, legislative history, local government research, and more. Though there are many similarities across volumes, the series also pays close attention to differences in jurisdictions. For example, New York Legal Research includes a chapter specifically on “New York City Legal Research,” while Oklahoma Legal Research contains a chapter on “Researching Tribal Law.” New York Legal Research also contains a section called “Making the Most of Your Local Library” which offers the excellent practical advice of first stopping at the reference desk and asking the librarians for help getting acquainted with the library’s layout and resources. Louisiana Legal Research includes occasional text boxes they call “lagniappe” (a southern Louisiana term that means “something extra” or “bonus” or “unexpected gift”) that explain peculiarities of that jurisdiction’s hybrid civil/common law structures.

Many books in the series are authored by law librarians working in those states, and North Carolina Legal Research is an excellent example. Our state’s volume was co-authored by Brenda Gibson and Nichelle J. Perry from North Carolina Central University School of Law, Laura P. Graham from Wake Forest University School of Law, and our own Julie L. Kimbrough, the associate director of the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s School of Law.

North Carolina Legal Research, like the other books in the series, offers an excellent introduction to legal research methods and sources for the state, and is highly recommended for students, faculty, practitioners, and anyone interested in researching the law in North Carolina.