Subject Research Guides

Introduction to Law Research Guide

When to Use This Guide

Use this guide when you need information on legal issues. You might need to research broad subjects such as property or free speech as civil rights, or focus on narrower concepts of corporations or commercial speech. The U.S. legal system is complex and elaborate. This guide will show you where and how to find resources about law relating to individuals and business enterprises.

Finding General or Background Information on Law

Use titles like those below for finding background information on law.

Subject Headings for Finding Law Information in the Book and Media Catalog

Finding Law Information in Research Databases

LexisNexis Academic
LexisNexis is a comprehensive database of U.S. federal and state law cases, codes, regulations, legal news, law reviews, and international legal information. It contains Shepard’s® Citations for all U.S. Supreme Court cases back to 1789 and U.S. patents from 1971 to present. Use the "Look up a Legal Case" section.

Credo Reference
Use the "Find a Book" tab to find the "Law" category to find legal dictionaries and case books.

Congressional Quarterly Researcher (CQ Researcher)
Contains reports about issues widely discussed in the media, for example, civil rights, sentencing and corrections, and general constitutional law issues.You can search all the reports by keyword or use the “Browse by Topic” menu link to find law-related reports under the "Constitutional Law and Justice" category.

Selected Web Sites

Legal Information Institute (LII)
The LII is a leading provider of public legal information. This web site provides access to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court and to the full United States Code. Follow the "Law about (...)" menu choice to information in over 100 areas of law.

Jurist, from the Univeristyof Pittsburgh School of Law, provides comprehensive legal news and research. It attempts to provide a more even balance of U.S. and international legal news than is common in traditional legal or mass media.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
NCJRS provides access to relevant publications and links to resources of information within and outside the U.S. Department of Justice. Explore the menu choices, for example, try finding your subject in the "A-Z Topics," or learn about case processing in "Courts."

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
BJS provides information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

U.S. Courts
U.S. Courts is a clearinghouse for information from and about the Judicial Branch of the U.S., maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) – elaws
DOL's "elaws" stands for "employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses." This site was developed to help employers and workers understand their rights and responsibilities under the federal employment laws administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Page Last Updated: July 31 2015

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Research Tips

These Research Guides have been prepared by librarians to assist with your research. Read more:

Evaluating Web Resources

Critically Analyzing Information Sources

Searching Electronic Resources Effectively

For more information on citation style, see:

Citing Your Research

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