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Some “How To” Resources

The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide “How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers.” It is intended for those doing legal research in the United States but the beginning pages are relevant to most other jurisdictions as well.

Another good place to start is with legal definition sources. Findlaw has a search feature which can look up legal terminology as well as general legal information and legal forms.

REFERENCE DESK: LEGAL INFORMATION has links to websites which help non lawyers find information about the law and specific legal problems.

For Law Students

The Law Student Guide to Free Legal Research on the Internet by Sarah Glassmeyer -

For Lawyers

Three Geeks and a Law Blog posted map showing what free resources each state bar association was making available to members - 

Some Resources for Laws from the United States Federal, and State Governments:

FDsys The Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System provides free online access to official Federal Government documents from Congressional sources, Presidential materials and documents from Executive Agencies. A list of resources available can be found at

Thomas  This a database from the Library of Congress which makes federal legislative information available to the public. Bills, the Congressional Record, Calendars, Treaties and other things are available for free. A list of resources can be seen at . Information to help learn about the legislative process, and classroom resources for teachers are also provided .

LII – The Legal Information Institute from Cornell University has Federal Statutes including the Constitution and Regulations as well as decisions from the Federal Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.  State Law Resources and State statutes by topic are included as well which include constitutions, statutes, judicial opinions, and regulations for the fifty states, plus D.C., and the U.S. territories and affiliated jurisdictions. LII is a not-for-profit group that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost.

USA.Gov - This is an interagency project administered by the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. It claims to be the U.S. government’s official web portal. It is a free website designed to be easy to search and to give you a centralized place to find information on U.S. local, state and federal government agency websites.

Findlaw -  This resource has legal definitions and a subject index on legal topics which lists many sources under each topic such as law journals and some state and federal laws.

LexisOne - www.lexisweb  patrons can access U.S. Supreme Court cases from 1781 to present, as well as federal and state cases decided within the last ten years. LexisNexis, a fee based database, continues to offer and enhance a free open-Web service for legal resources, including more than 28 practice area which provide free up-to-date content and resources such as blogs, and news.

The Public Library of Law -  This collection is created by Fastcase, a fee based database service, and includes cases from the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals, Cases from all 50 states back to 1997, federal statutes and regulations as well as statutes  and regulations  from all 50 states.


Copyright Law in the United States:

U.S. Copyright Office website is another good database from the Library of Congress.

Both Stanford and Cornell Universities have good, easy to use online resources about copyright. They have information on fair use and resource and tool pages.

State and Local Law:

State and Local Government on the Net - A directory of official state, county, and city government websites.

Municode Library - municipal laws and ordinances from local governments in all 50 states.

Standards  -


Some resources for laws from Other Governments:

WorldLII -  a free independent and non-profit access to worldwide law covering 1213 law databases from 123 jurisdictions via 14 Legal Information Institutes.


CanLII  The Canadian Legal Information Institute is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII's goal is to make Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet.


Free access to Laws from many different countries -

Free Laws of the United states, Canada and Mexico -



Good University Law Library Resources

Cornell’s Collection of World Legal Materials -  LII gathers, country by country, continent by continent, the Internet-accessible sources of the constitutions, statutes, judicial opinions, and related legal material such as treaties, United Naitons materials and International Court of Justice decisions from around the globe.

Duke Law Library Legal Research on the Web  - 

Georgetown Law Library Free and Low Cost Research on the Web - 

Suffolk Law Library online guide -