Friday, September 4, 2015

New Research Guide to Securities Law

When even the author of a leading scholarly treatise calls its subject matter "tricky" and "a puzzle," researchers know they are in for a challenge. That's the reality of securities law, a complex area governing such negotiable instruments as stocks and bonds, as well as their secondary markets. Securities law research can include primary and secondary sources of law, at both the federal and the state levels. It is governed by a massive collection of statutes, regulations, and administrative law materials from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, self-regulating organizations (SROs), such as FASB and FINRA, set standards and issue pronouncements which may also need to be reviewed when researching a securities law topic.

These sources are available free on the web in some cases, but may be more conveniently navigated in a subscription research database like Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg Law, which each have customized securities law practice pages. Need help finding your way through this maze? The Goodson Law Library has just added an extensive new research guide to Securities Law, authored by Reference Librarian and Senior Lecturing Fellow Laura Scott. This guide recommends a number of helpful secondary sources to learn essential background or current developments (such as scholarly treatises, casebooks, newsletters, and blogs). Primary law is covered in detail, including:
  • A list of the major federal securities statutes and how to convert their popularly-used session law section numbers into a current U.S. Code citation. Legislative history research is also covered. 
  • Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, filings, releases, staff interpretations, and other agency guidance. 
  • Case law, including judicial court opinions as well as Administrative Law Judge and SEC decisions. 
  • Special resources for researching state securities laws, also known as "Blue Sky" laws. 
Check out this detailed new guide at our Research Guides page, linked under "Research Help" on the library website. It's listed along with nearly 40 other topical guides on legal research, all created and maintained by Duke Law Reference Services staff. There is also a link to's Search All Law Schools custom search engine if you are researching a topic which isn't listed.

Law school library research guides are an excellent starting place for any research topic. If you need additional help researching securities law or locating a guide on a different topic, be sure to Ask a Librarian.