When research involves a legal term, it can be helpful to start with a legal dictionary.
Black's is a highly trusted legal dictionary available in print and on Westlaw.
The legal term in our example is "attractive nuisance doctrine."
The benefits of a legal dictionary include:
To use Black’s Law Dictionary in Westlaw, start at the homepage, and on the Get Started bar, select Secondary Sources.
From the Secondary Sources page, choose Black’s Law Dictionary under Tools & Resources on the right.
To search for a multi-word phrase like the attractive nuisance doctrine, enter the words in quotation marks into the Dictionary term search box.
Click the link for attractive-nuisance doctrine.
Notice the synonyms and related terms at the end. If a keyword search for "attractive nuisance" in case law does not retrieve enough cases, you might try searching for cases that use these terms.
You may cite to Black's Law Dictionary in your memos and briefs as persuasive authority for the meaning of a legal term. Rule B15.1 of The Bluebook includes an example of how to correctly cite to Black's Law Dictionary.
There are three necessary elements to a Black's Law Dictionary citation:
For example, you would cite to the definition of the attractive nuisance doctrine as:
Attractive-Nuisance Doctrine, Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).