The Handy Law Answer Book

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Combining practical legal tips with an exhaustive review of the law in the United States, this comprehensive reference answers more than 1,200 questions ranging from Where did the word tort come from? and How are state court judges selected? to Where did the first U.S. Supreme Court meet? Useful advice includes how to find a lawyer, how to file a complaint against a lawyer, how to document discrimination in the workplace, and how to handle oneself in court. Interspersed throughout are fun sidebars highlighting important cases and explanations of legal terms as well as entertaining information on bizarre and frivolous lawsuits, including one where a prisoner in Colorado sued prison officials after he injured himself during an escape attempt. With a wide range of information suitable for various knowledge bases—from junior high to junior college—this is an ideal source for anyone looking to get a better understanding of the law.

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Editorial Reviews

Bookviews by Alan Caruba
For anyone who wants to know more about coping with our court system, credit and bankruptcy law, employment law, family law, or personal injury law, Hudson has written an excellent guide that I highly recommend.
Wichita Falls Times Record News
How many times have you slapped yourself on the forehead and said, Wish I knew the law pertaining to my credit information! Yeah, me neither. But when you really do need to know something about the law, [this] new reference book . . .is just the ticket.
More than 800 questions and answers that offer the reader information on significant events, meaningful principles, and practical points in various legal areas. Recommended for libraries and individuals who need an economically priced introduction to American legalese.
From the Publisher
"How many times have you slapped yourself on the forehead and said, Wish I knew the law pertaining to my credit information! Yeah, me neither. But when you really do need to know something about the law, a new reference book . . . is just the ticket." —"Wichita Falls Times Record News"
VOYA - Peggy Fleming
Using a question and brief answer format, this book answers every conceivable law query. The foundations on which U.S. laws were built are covered in the first chapters, from the Constitution to the Bill of Rights and its amendments. Questions about the judicial system in general are examined in the next third of the book. The most potentially useful chapters focus on lawyers, lawsuits, criminal procedures, and credit and bankruptcy laws. The last chapters covering employment law, family law, and personal injury law address such issues as breastfeeding at work, child custody, and the Good Samaritan Act. Throughout the book, famous legal cases are described in "LegalSpeak"—gray boxes that serve as examples of the topic being addressed. Photographs, mostly from, add little to comprehension and are useful only to offer relief from the text. Difficult legal terms, including "exclusionary rule," "equal protection violation," and "due process," are clearly explained, and potentially controversial issues, such as same-sex marriages, child custody, and the death penalty, are handled with remarkable objectivity. Any reader with a legal issue will feel confident after learning the legalese that could be encountered in the court system. A table of contents and an index are likely to be added to this "uncorrected proof," — otherwise it would be totally unmanageable. Reviewer: Peggy Fleming
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578592173
  • Publisher: Visible Ink Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: The Handy Answer Book Series Series
  • Pages: 450
  • Sales rank: 636,224
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

David Hudson, Jr. JD, is the author or coauthor of more than 20 books, including The American Bar Association Guide to Credit and Bankruptcy, The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment, and The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book. He works as a First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center and teaches at Vanderbilt Law School, the Nashville School of Law, and Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Smyrna, Tennessee.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Constitutional Law 1

The U.S. Constitution

History of the U.S. Constitution

Key Concepts and Structure of the Constitution

Legislative Branch

Executive Branch

Judicial Branch

State Constitutions

The Bill Of Rights and 14th Amendment 37

First Amendment

Second Amendment

Third and Fourth Amendments

Fifth Amendment

Sixth Amendment

Seventh Amendment

Eighth Amendment

Ninth and Tenth Amendments

Fourteenth Amendment

The Court System 89

The Supreme Court Term

Judiciary Act of 1789

State Courts

Lawyers and Lawsuits 117

Becoming a lawyer

Finding a Lawyer


Criminal Procedures 143

The Criminal Process

Trial Process



Juvenile Defendants

Credit And Bankruptcy Law 191


Debt Collectors and the Law


Chapter 13

Employment Law 215

At-Will Employment

Employment Discrimination

Title VII

Religious Discrimination


Age Discrimination

Disability Discrimination

Employee Compensation

Workers Compensation Law

Other Employment Law Considerations

Family Law 271


Pre-Marital Agreements



Child Custody

Child Support



Personal Injury Law 307


Professional Negligence

Other Torts

Product Liability

Appendix A Explanation of Case and Statute Citations 349

Appendix B The Constitution of the United States of America 353

Appendix C Online Resources 371

Glossary 381

Index 395

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A useful resource for laypersons

    One of more than a dozen books in the Visible Ink Press “Handy” series, The Handy Law Answer Book by David L. Hudson Jr. surveys legal history in the United States and summarizes six prominent practice areas of the law: constitutional, criminal, bankruptcy, employment, family, and personal injury. The book provides a practical overview of these areas, including leading principles, seminal court rulings, and numerous “LegalSpeak” sidebars with specific examples and helpful explanations. Also useful are the glossary of more than 150 terms, the extensive index, and three appendices explaining how to cite cases and statutes, the complete text of the U.S. Constitution, and ten pages of online resources. The author is well-qualified to address the subject and follows the question-and-answer format of the “Handy” series.

    The book’s two principle shortcomings are those you might expect from the enormity of the undertaking. The book claims to be an exhaustive overview of U.S. law without touching on areas such as property, immigration, business entities, or intellectual property. Professor Hudson simplifies the issues, but sometimes struggles to be both legally precise and intelligible to laypersons. Consider this sentence on page 21: “It is essential to just construction that many words which import something excessive should be understood in a more mitigated sense—in the sense which common usage justifies.” This sentence may be understandable to lawyers, but would surely puzzle the average person. The section on “sequestered juries” never defines “sequester,” and the glossary also omits the term. Additional editing could improve text readability.

    Overall, The Handy Law Answer Book does a nice job of introducing readers to the rules that govern our society and the practice of law. It is probably most useful as a general reference tool for those with a strong interest in history, government, politics, or legal studies.

    Laurie A. Gray
    Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vol. XV, No. 1, February 2011); used with permission.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Reference Book

    David Hudson has written a useful and informative law reference book that will make a good addition to any family's library. Hudson works as First Amendment Scholar for the Forst Amendment Center and teaches classes at Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville School of Law and Middle Tennessee State University. His degrees are from Duke University and Vanderbilt Law School.

    The book is organized into nine key legal areas. Areas included are Constitutional Law, The Bill of Rights and 14 Amendment, The Court System, Lawyers and Lawsuits, Criminal Procedures, Credit and Bankruptcy Law, Employment Law, Family Law and Personal Injury Law. Each chapter is written in a question and answer format. Along with this basic legal knowledge, there are pertinent cases that illustrate specific legal points and that serve as precedent for situations following that case. Numerous illustrations add to the reader's understanding of the principles being discussed.

    The book starts out with explanations about how our law system was established by the Founding Fathers, goes on to explain how courts are organized today and then gets more specific. The reader can find the answer from everything from how to find a lawyer to who is entitled to your credit report to who is eligible and who isn't for overtime pay. Knowledge about common-law marriages, retirement accounts as marital property and how tort law differs from criminal law is discussed. The book is an exhaustive source of answers to the legal issues any family may encounter in their daily life.

    This book is recommended to readers both as an enjoyable book to expand their legal knowledge and to serve as a reference book going forward.

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