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Legal Treatises: About Legal Treatises

Books (both print and online) that summarize or analyze an area of law. Covers scholarly and practical sources.

What legal treatises are included in this guide?

Law librarians have highlighted leading practical and scholarly treatises that support the scholarship and experiential work of students and faculty at UCI Law.1

Think of this guide as an online version of the staff-selection tables at bookstores. Titles from this guide address many legal research projects. But we have much (much!) more on our shelves and in our electronic subscriptions. 

To find more legal treatises, check our catalog, look on our shelves for print books, or talk to a research librarian:

Are California-specific treatises included?

Yes. Each topic lists federal and multi-state treatises first, followed by a separate California-focused section. Popular California legal titles (like those from Witkin, Rutter, Bender, and CEB) are also highlighted in their own topic: Legal Treatises: California Law.

What is a legal treatise?

Legal treatises are books, or sets of books, that explain, critique, and analyze the law on a particular legal subject, with reference to key primary law. Attorneys use the term loosely, but in general, "treatise" can refer to three quite different types of publications:

  1. Lengthy works for legal scholars and historians,
  2. Practice guides intended for attorneys working with clients, and
  3. Single-volume works for law students, frequently referred to as "hornbooks."

Legal treatises range in size from single books to enormous sets of over 50 volumes. On the library shelves, they can be hardcover books, paperback books, or ringed binders. The following publications are not usually called treatises: Wikipedia, legal encyclopedias arranged A-to-Z (e.g., AmJur), ALRs, law reviews, legal newsletters and newspapers, casebooks, outline-style study aids, and others.

If you're unsure if a resource is a "treatise" for the purposes of a law school assignment, contact your instructor.

1 This guide only includes Restatement titles with UCI faculty among the authors. Restatements are unique legal secondary sources—learn more about them in the Law Library's overview of Secondary Sources for Legal Research.