Legal encyclopedias contain brief, broad summaries of legal topics, providing introductions to legal topics and explaining relevant terms of art. They also provide citations to relevant primary law and sometimes give citations to relevant major law review articles.
There are two main legal encyclopedias in the United States: American Jurisprudence (AmJur) and Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS). Each is national in scope. They are useful, but not well-suited for jurisdiction specific research.
State legal encyclopedias provide background and explanations of state legal topics. Not every state has a legal encyclopedia. Depth of coverage and quality vary. State encyclopedia articles are updated irregularly. Texas has a legal encyclopedia entitled Texas Jurisprudence (TexJur).
Electronic versions of the encyclopedias are updated directly. If using a print encyclopedia, always remember to check the pocket parts for any updates.
(http://guides.library.harvard.edu/content.php?pid=103327&sid=1036366, permission granted for reproduction)
Here is an example of what you would find in a legal encyclopedia, using American Jurisprudence 2d (AmJur):