1LD students will probably be getting their moot court assignments today and the task of research will begin. By now you all know about the importance of secondary sources when researching. If you have a state based research issue you might be interested in looking at a specific state based secondary source. Three general resources come to mind -
1. If you are working on a problem for a particular state find out if it has its own legal encyclopedia. Not every state does but it is worth checking to see. Take a look at California Jurisprudence (CalJur) or New York Jurisprudence 2d (NYJur2d). There are other states like Florida and Ohio that have their own encyclopedias. You can't really cite to a legal encyclopedia but an encyclopedia is often the best source to see the full scope - major issues and subsidiary issues - of a problem. Of course, you will be sent to the most relevant primary sources with case and statute citations. An encyclopedia can be a great place to start.
2. One of the best state specific resources is the state "Practice Series" from West. For example, we have a great Practice Series for Connecticut available in print and on Westlaw. We don't have the print version in the Library but Massachusetts also has a practice series available on Westlaw. A state Practice Series is not always comprehensive like an encyclopedia but, like ALR, if it covers your topic, you are very close to finding exactly what you want. Try using the table of contents search to get the best results.
3. There is almost always a state specific topical resource available on both Lexis and Westlaw. Just take a look in the general materials for each state. On Westlaw use the Directory (top of the the research page). On Lexis use the States Legal - U.S. and find your relevant state. For both use the tabs to find state specific secondary sources. Remember, your problem may not have a resource devoted solely to that issue. You will probably find your specific issue addressed within a broader secondary source, e.g., retaliatory eviction in a landlord-tenant source.
Caveat - Watch Out! The Connecticut Practice Series is not the Connecticut Practice Book. The Practice Book contains the official rules of procedure (and more) for the state. The Practice Series is a practice guide to Connecticut law written by practitioners, judges, and professors. You may need both to handle your Connecticut-based problem.