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Legal Research & Resources   Tags: law, legal research  

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Legal Research Print Page

Legal Resources @ the Library

Click on one of the handy PDF guides below for a list of all the legal resources available at Cerritos College Library


Talk to a Librarian

Need Help 

The Cerritos College Librarians can help you with your research in a variety of ways:

Librarians are available during library hours to answer your questions by phone or chat.
(562) 860-2451 x2425



If this is your first time doing case law research, here are some helpful pointers and definitions you should know before you start diving into the resources listed in this research guide

Primary Sources
The texts of the laws.  The legal rules that govern our society.

Examples—Constitutions statues, court decisions, regulations.

Secondary Sources
Explain and/or describe the law or discuss a legal problem. (Anything that is not primary authority; usually commentary on the law).

Examples—Legal Treatises, legal encyclopedias, and law review articles.

Judicial Law     AKA Cases
Case Research—Court opinions, or cases, are published in books called reporters.  Reporters are sets of books collecting cases in chronological order.


Where California Cases are Published

Cases move up through either the state or federal courts depending on the legal question being considered.  Cases at each level of the court system are published in their own separate reporter, so keep the level of court in mind when using legal literature.


Where Published




 California Supreme Court

Official California Reports


West’s California Reporter

 Pacific Reporter

 All decisions published

C, C.2d, C.3d, C.4th     or
Cal., Cal.2d, Cal. 3d, Cal.4th

Cal. Rptr., Cal. Rptr. 2d, Cal. Rptr. 3d

P., P.2d, P.3d

California Appellate Courts

(Courts of Appeal, Appellate Dept. of the Superior Court)

Official California Appellate Reports


West’s California Reporter

Some decisions published

Cal. App., Cal. App.2d, Cal. App. 3d, Cal. App. 4th

Cal. Rptr., Cal. Rptr.2d, Cal. Rptr. 3d

Trial Courts

If your case started in a state court, it was first heard in a minor court (In CA, for example: municipal or superior court).  

 The decisions from these Courts are not published.  They are public information, and could only be seen by going to the court where the case was tried and looking at their archives.



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