Restatements of the Law can be helpful if you are looking for a rule and trying to understand how that rule operates.
Restatements break rules down into components, and often provide commentary on the proper interpretation of the rules. Each section of a Restatement is organized similarly.
Drafted by well-known scholars and jurists and adopted by the American Law Institute, Restatements tend to be more persuasive than other secondary sources.
In fact, sometimes courts adopt rules from Restatements. For example, in Henson v. International Paper Company, 374 S.C. 375, 650 S.E.2d 74 (2007), the South Carolina Supreme Court adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts view of the attractive nuisance doctrine:
If the jurisdiction in our research question were South Carolina, we could see from the case above that the jurisdiction has adopted the rule from the Restatement (Second) of Torts for premises liability to child trespassers based on an "artificial condition on the land." The tree support wire would be artificial. We would then be able to focus our case law research on whether each element of the black letter rule is met, (a) through (e), as to the tree support wire. This would allow us to determine whether the National Park Service is liable under South Carolina's interpretation of the attractive nuisance doctrine.
To find a Restatement efficiently in Westlaw, start typing the title in the search bar on the homepage, but do not press Enter or click the search button. Simply type in the search bar until the Suggestions in the dropdown below the search bar include a Content Page for the Restatement you seek. Then, click on title of the restatement in the dropdown menu.
Notice that Westlaw includes current and previous versions of the Restatements. It is crucial to consider which version is relevant to your research, because there are significant differences between versions.
You can click the checkbox next to a Restatement to keyword search only the Restatement you checked.
Or you can click the plus sign to browse the topics covered within that Restatement.
Click on a section to read the blackletter law of that section of the Restatement, the comments, and the related case citations.
To search a Restatement in Lexis, select Secondary Materials from the Content tab of the Explore section of the homepage.
Then select Restatements.
Next, choose the Restatement topic you want to search.
You can keyword search all Restatements on the topic you have chosen. Notice that Lexis includes current and previous versions of the Restatements, some of which are drafts, and some of which are official text.
If you click on Restatement of the Law, Torts 2d - Official Text, for example, you can browse the table of contents. Click the plus signs to open each level of the outline until you find a relevant section.
The section contains the blackletter law, comments, and case citations.
Rules B12.1.3 and 12.9.4 and Table 6 in The Bluebook cover how to cite restatements. Citations to restatements include the following:
For example, you would cite the section of the Restatement (Second) of Torts that addresses the attractive nuisance doctrine as:
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 339 (Am. Law Inst. 1965).