Despite the progress the fee-based databases, such as WestlawNext, Bloomberglaw, or Lexis Advance, which aim to present the researcher an integrated approach to legal research where primary and secondary sources are amassed in one relevant-looking answer, secondary sources remain the pivotal starting point in legal research.

The next sections will argue in favor of the many reasons for mastering secondary sources.

I will start with what Bob Berring calls “research-aid tools,” then move to finding-aid tools, and end with legal scholarship and practitioners’ tools.