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Secondary Sources: American Law Reports (ALR)

What is an American Law Report (ALR)?

  • Articles on specific legal topics. Article brings together relevant cases and produces an analysis of the law on a specific issue across jurisdictions.

  • Written by lawyers at Thomson West.

  • Consists of ALR 1st -6th series

ALR Federal

  • ALR Federal  focuses specifically on Federal issues.

Why use an American Law Report (ALR) for legal research?

  • If there is an ALR article on your topic, it is a great starting place. It discusses the current state of the law and gives references to relevant case citations and statutes in every jurisdiction that has commented on the topic.

  • There may not be an ALR on point for your research.

  • One representative case is reprinted.

  • Includes references to secondary sources. References may include:

West Topic and Key Numbers

Westlaw databases and suggested search terms

Other American Law Reports

Legal Encyclopedias

American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts    


Law Reviews

Briefs available on Westlaw

Updating an American Law Report (ALR)?

  • Text of the ALR is not updated.

  • May be superseded by a later ALR and this will be noted in the pocket part.

  • Recent cases on the same topic are cited in the pocket part.

  • New secondary sources are included in the pocket part.

How to find and use an American Law Report (ALR)?

  • Subject index is shelved at the end of set.

  • Available on Westlaw as an individual database.

  • Westlaw’s ResultsPlus will indicate a relevant ALR based on your search terms.

  • Each >ALR includes a table of contents and index.

Where to find an American Law Report (ALR) in the Garbrecht Law Library?

Bound volumes with pocket parts are available on the 2nd floor of the Library.  The American Law Reports can also be found on Westlaw and Lexis Advanced.

Have questions? Are you finding everything you need?

Contact the Reference Desk at 780-4835.

Email to

Zimmerman's Research Guide.

Full list of Databases including trial access.