Legal Advice For Beginners

legal advice

Legal advices are vital to beginner entrepreneurs. They can help them avoid costly legal problems that could arise from misinterpreting laws or committing other violations.

Legal encyclopedias are easy to use and offer simple explanations without a lot of legal jargon. Nutshells are more thorough but are less useful for beginners who need to do deeper research on a topic.


Treatises are in-depth discussions of a particular area of law written by legal scholars. They cover the background, established law and current controversies of that subject. They are extensively footnoted and will provide you with helpful links to primary sources. They may be single volume monographs or multivolume sets. Some come in the form of hardbound books with softbound supplements or pocket parts, some as loose-leaf pages in binders that are updated periodically.

A good starting point for finding a treatise on your topic is Georgetown Law’s Treatise Finders (link to it in More Resources below). You can also do a keyword search for the topic and see what hits you get. Alternatively, you can browse the law library stacks by call number. Many of our top level treatises are available on Lexis Advance and Westlaw but not all. If you have an account with either of those services or a subscription to the database HeinOnline, you can search the full text of the treatise.

Legal drafting is another topic that can seem daunting to beginners. Fortunately there are secondary sources, like textbooks and practice guides, that can help you out. These resources can provide guidance on the structure of legal writing and help you develop your own style.

Another great resource for beginning legal research is the more general, national legal encyclopedias. Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence, 2d are useful for finding background information, primary sources and establishing a legal context for your research. For a more focused view, you can look for state-specific encyclopedias or treatises on your subject matter. This guide includes a listing of those resources for family law research.


Nutshells are books designed to introduce beginning law students to the elements of particular subject areas. They are usually less detailed than many of West’s famous Nutshell Series, but still provide a concise overview of the major areas of law.

The word “nutshell” once had a rare property, known as an enantioseme—a self-cancelling sense: it can mean both “thing in a nutshell” and “thing of small compass.” This duality helped the term gain popularity and wide usage. However, the phenomenon is now relatively uncommon, and nutshells are often used only as a metaphor.

Forensic expert Frances Glessner Lee began making her Nutshell Studies in the 1940s to teach crime scene investigators how to canvass a scene effectively and quickly. Her dioramas of murder scenes were so effective that they are still used in training seminars at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore today. Lee’s painstaking attention to detail—from the angles of tiny bullet holes and the placement of latches on widows’ doors to patterns of blood splatters and discoloration of the painstakingly painted miniature corpses—tests trainees’ skills of observation and deduction.

Besides being an excellent source of nutrients for your garden, nutshells are useful for composting as well. They’re coarser than peat moss and other common composting materials, which helps improve soil texture and drainage while allowing air and moisture to pass through the pile. They’re also great for preventing water logging in flowerpots. Add a layer of nutshells to your planters and you’ll be able to keep your plants happy without worrying about overwatering.

Self-Help Books

Self-help books offer valuable insights, strategies, and inspiration for individuals on their journey to personal growth. For beginners, selecting the right self-help book can make all the difference in setting the tone for positive change and fostering a healthy mindset.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing a self-help book is that readers are looking for practical guidance. They are not interested in feel-good platitudes that will only help them to temporarily feel better about their situations. The goal is to provide them with the tools they need to change their lives for good, whether it be tackling an addiction, improving interpersonal relationships, or finding fulfillment.

A successful self-help book will be easy to read and provide readers with a clear understanding of what they should expect to learn from it. It will also be structured in a way that is logically organized from beginning to end. This is why it is important to develop a strong opening chapter and a clear outline before beginning the actual manuscript. In addition, it is essential to incorporate a variety of sources, including medical data and case studies.

Lastly, it is important to remember that self-help books are not intended to be didactic, and readers will quickly lose interest in anything that sounds too preachy or condescending. Even if you are the expert in your subject matter, it is important to present your knowledge in a way that is accessible and understandable to your audience.

For example, the popular book “10 Minutes to Calm” helps readers to overcome challenging times by guiding them through techniques like mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their mental health and manage stress in a short amount of time.

Another classic self-help book is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This book provides a wealth of useful tips for improving one’s personal and professional life, including learning how to listen well and build rapport with others.

Practice Guides

Practice guides are meant for attorneys or pro se litigants and provide detailed instruction on how to accomplish specific legal tasks. They are less about analyzing the law and more about how to actually use it in real life, for example, how to prepare a complaint or a motion.

There are a wide variety of practice guides available. Many of the major publishers have practice guides in multiple subject areas. The California Practice Guides series from CEB – Continuing Education of the Bar and Matthew Bender are two examples. These are available on Lexis and Westlaw, both online. The Rutter Group – a Thomson Reuters business also publishes California materials in a number of specialized subjects. These are available on Westlaw, both online and in print.

Other types of practice guides include pleading and motions guides, drafting guides, and forms books. These are usually designed for readers with more legal knowledge, but they do not require an attorney’s license. These types of resources are a great resource for anyone who wants to draft their own legal documents. The best way to identify these types of publications is by looking for the word “forms” in the title or description.

Nutshells are good for a quick and thorough introduction to a topic or subject matter that is unfamiliar. They often have a brief discussion of established law on the topic and provide citations for further research. These are useful as study aids for students or as a fast reference tool for those who need information on a topic without the time to read a full treatise.