American Law Reports (frequently abbreviated and referred to as ALR) contains in-depth articles on narrow topics of the law. ALR articles, called annotations, provide background, analysis, and citations to relevant cases, statutes, law review articles, and other annotations.
ALR is published in series:
- two series under its original title Lawyers Reports Annotated
- eight ALR series, one through six
- two federal series
ALR annotations are not jurisdiction specific. Each annotation contains a Table of Jurisdictions to help you find relevant cases within specific states. In the federal series, the Table of Jurisdictions directs you to cases by circuit.
All ALR series continue to be updated, though not on a regular schedule. When using the set in print, always check the pocket parts for updates. ALR is also available in both Lexis and Westlaw, and the electronic versions incorporate updates into the text. ALR annotations can also be completely superceded by more recent annotations. Electronic versions will provide referrals to the superceding annotations, but in print, you should check the History Table at the end of the ALR Index to verify that your annotation has not been superceded.
Find relevant annotations by using the print indices or searching the ALR databases in Lexis or Westlaw. When using ALR electronically, it is most efficient to look for your terms in the titles of the annotations, since their titles are specific, and reflect their contents.
The legal citation for a case identifies the name of the court reporter in which the opinion is published and where the case can be found.
Opinions may be published in more than one reporter. These are called "parallel citations."
LexisNexis (Library database) includes notations and page numbers of all the parallel citations for a case, including the Lexis citation.
All of these are citations to the same case: REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA v. BAKKE
To identify a case in a research paper, use the name of the case and a legal citation taken from a print reporter. The Lexis citation may be included as a convenience.