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Legal research and writing

This guide provides an introduction to legal research and writing for law students.

About research management

Research management tools help you keep track of your research. They can also help you cite sources using proper citation standards—but their output isn't perfect.

This page introduces you to popular reference management programs.

Research management tools are also called

  • citation managers
  • reference managers

Using Reference Managers for Legal Research

Most reference managers work best with web-based secondary materials or Summon (library research) records. They are less useful for case law and legislation found on the web.

The subscription legal research databases contain their own research management tools.

Lexbox is a free tool that manages research and formats citations for primary materials accessed in CanLII and the Supreme Court of Canada website. It integrates with an extension to the Chrome browser.


Zotero is a popular free reference management tool useful in academic research. Zotero offers a McGill Guide 7th edition (not 8th or 9th) citation style option. It works best with web-based secondary materials and is less useful for case law and legislation or materials in other databases.

Download links, and further information about using Zotero see the Zotero for Law guide.


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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.