The CALL Government Relations Committee presents this guide as a tool to assist the general public with conducting legal research. The first edition of Finding Illinois Law was published in 2012. Online access to legal information has improved and expanded since the first edition was published nearly a decade ago, so the second edition reflects these developments.
Each chapter has been updated and revised by CALL members. The second edition of Finding Illinois Law begins with an overview of the U.S. legal system and how to cite to legal materials in Chapters 1 and 2, respectively. Each branch of government produces its own source of law from cases to statutes to administrative regulations. Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 discuss these sources of law, focusing on the law of Illinois, but also including information about federal law and the laws of our neighboring states. Chapter 8 provides an overview of how to conduct Illinois legislative history, which is a new chapter added in this second edition of this publication.
Because this guide is intended for an audience of non-lawyers, it includes advice in Chapter 9 on how free internet legal research resources compares with the commercial services generally used by attorneys. Librarians who conduct legal research on behalf of another individual or who assist patrons with locating legal information will be interested in Chapter 10, which covers the unauthorized practice of law to ensure that the assistance they are providing does not cross the fine line between reference assistance and providing legal advice.
Chapter 11 offers resources for where to seek additional help. If a situation arises where legal representation is needed, consult the list of law school clinics, legal organizations, and lawyer referral services to locate free and low-cost legal assistance. Librarians who are looking to add legal titles to their collection should consult the list of recommended publishers and resources in Chapter 12.
We hope that this guide will be a valuable resource for librarians and non-lawyers throughout Illinois. The CALL Government Relations Committee plans on creating a dynamic, online version of this guide in the near future.