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Law Research Guide


Dictionaries & Encyclopedias  - General and background information on a topic.

Electronic Resources

How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers
From the American Association of Law Libraries

American Bar Association With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.

Basic Legal Citation This introduction to legal citation is focused on the forms of citation used in professional practice rather than those used in journal publication. For that reason, it does not cover The Bluebook's distinct typography rules for the latter. Read through its table of contents and introductory material. Each topic covered here includes references to both The Bluebook and the ALWD Citation Manual. Observing how the manual that you have chosen (or others have chosen for you) arrays its more detailed treatment should be part of your initial exploration of each topic here.

Basic Legal Research Guide From Pagewise.

Bill of Rights This site contains the first 10 amendments of the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) as well as the Preamble and Amendments 11-27.

Code of Federal Regulations  The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. This access is through Cornell University's Legal Information Institute.

Essential Sites for Texas Lawyers  Continuing legal education site.

Federal Register Online The Federal Register is available online from 1994 and is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents.

FindLaw The leading Web portal focused on law and government. Provides access to a comprehensive and fast-growing online library of legal resources for use by legal professionals, law students, consumers and small businesses. Includes a section on Texas Resources and a new Supreme Court center.

FindLaw: Cases and Codes

FindLaw for Law Students Student Resources, News, Community, Technology links

FindLaw: Legal Forms seeks to provide the most useful, easy-to-understand, comprehensive and balanced legal information to consumers and small businesses, and to help people and businesses find answers to their legal questions and solutions to their legal problems. The legal content on has been principally prepared by top attorneys from over 25 leading American law firms, from the East Coast to Hawaii.

Freedom of Information Act  The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted in 1966 to provide people a means to access federal agency records, with the exception of those excluded from consideration under the FOIA or protected by one of nine FOIA exemptions.

Guide to the Law Online

Historic Supreme Court Decisions by Party Name

Audiovisual Library of International Law A unique multimedia resource that provides "high quality international law training and research materials to an unlimited number of recipients on a global level." The Library consists of a "Historic Archives" section, along with a "Lecture Series" section, and an online research library with links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications, and research guides.

Internet Legal Resources Guide A comprehensive resource of the information available on the Internet concerning law and the legal profession, with an emphasis on the United States of America. Designed for everyone, lay persons and legal scholars alike, it is quality controlled to include only the most substantive legal resources online.

Internet Legal Resource Guide Legal Forms Archive

Landmark Judicial Legislation  Timeline covers 1787 to 1982.

Law Reviews & Periodicals

Law School Admission Council LSAC administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) four times a year at designated centers throughout the world. It is required for admission to all ABA-approved law schools, most Canadian law schools, and many non-ABA-approved law schools. A free online service for the Internet community. Provides templates of the legal documents that are commonly used in routine legal transactions.

Legal Dictionary, etc

Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School (LII) The LII is known internationally as a leading “law-not-com” provider of public legal information. We offer all opinions of the United States Supreme Court handed down since 1992, together with over 600 earlier decisions selected for their historic importance, over a decade of opinions of the New York Court of Appeals, and the full United States Code. We also publish important secondary sources: libraries in two important areas (legal ethics and social security) and a series of “topical” pages that serve as concise explanatory guides and Internet resource listings for roughly 100 areas of law.

Cornell University's extensive web site includes a Social Security Library and links to information on a variety of legal information sources as well as a fulltext search of law journals on the Internet.

Legal Research: An Overview

lexisONE(sm) Resources for small law firms including free access to the Martindale-Hubbell® Law Digest and keyword searchable Federal Case Law. Registration is required.

LexNotes Pathfinders A unique, free Web journal dedicated to providing legal professionals with the most up-to-date information on a wide range of Internet legal research and technology-related issues. Lawyer locator plus ratings and more.

Municipal CodesContains Codes for more than 1,600 local governments in searchable online databases. Nolo's Self-help Law Centers provide legal information and guides to conducting legal research.

Oyez Project  The OYEZ Project aims to include all leading constitutional law cases into their database. Includes multimedia files requiring QuickTime and RealPlayer. If the case you want was decided after 1893, the FindLaw Project is a good source for the complete opinion. FINDLAW is also a good source for non-Supreme Court opinions.

Reading Legal Citations

Texas Constitutions Digitizations Project A complete collection of the seven constitutions that have governed Texas in its days as a Mexican state, as an independent republic, and as a state up to the adoption of the present constitution in 1876. It also includes the Mexican Constitution of 1824, the Texas Declaration of Independence and some proposed constitutions that were never enacted.

Texas: Constitution, Legislation, Statutes, Administrative Code

Texas Cases: Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas 5th Court of Appeals, and Texas 8th Court of Appeals

Texas Court Rules: Court and Judicial Administration, and Ethics: Texas Electronic Ethics Reporter

Texas Legislative Reference Library  Includes information on all aspects of the Texas legislature, includes access to the Texas Records and Information Locator (TRAIL) where you can find electronic publications in the following areas: Agriculture, Commerce, Culture, Education, Government, Health, Human services, Law, Natural resources, and Transportation.

Texas Legislature Online  Information updates to this web site occur approximately 5 to 15 minutes after they are entered into the legislature's internal computer system. The internal system is updated by several different departments as soon as or shortly after legislative events occur.

Texas Online This site contains a wealth of information about Texas including: travel information, working in Texas, doing business in and with Texas, Texas Government, Texas Electronic Library, Texas agencies, counties, cities, councils of government, the Texas Constitution.

Texas Register

Texas Statutes - These files include revisions to the Texas Statutes through the 77th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, 2001. To identify changes enacted by the 78th Legislature use the Index to Sections Affected.

Thomas: US Government on the Internet  A comprehensive federal legislative information site. Full text of all legislation introduced in Congress and the Congressional Record since 1989, summaries of bills since 1973, recent congressional committee reports and legislative schedules. A search engine locates bills and other documents.

U. S. Code The Code is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. Search words, phrases or parts of the Code. The U.S. Code Classification Tables show where recently enacted laws will appear in the United States Code and which sections of the Code have been amended by those laws.

U.S. Department of Justice Provides a variety of legal documents, reports and publications. Includes a link to the ADA (American With Disabilities Act) web site.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office  Provides searchable bibliographic and full-text patent databases covering all US patents issued since 1790. Search on patent numbers and current US classifications hyperlinked to full-page images of each page of each patent. Includes a link to the American Inventor's Protection Act of 1999.

U.S. Supreme Court  Includes an overview of the court, biographies of the justices, a docket, opinions, rules and orders, a visitor's guide, links to public information, and related web sites. Landmark Judicial Legislation  Timeline covers 1787 to 1982.

U.S. Supreme Court Opinions & Decisions (1992-present)

Web Guide to U.S. Supreme Court Research

Westlaw by Credit Card

Zimmerman's Research Guide

Legal Reporters

Shepard’s South Western Reporter Citations REF KF 90 -- "Shepardizing" is using a citator to trace and document a legal authority’s subsequent history. Indexes previous cases mentioned in current cases, establishing the present status of a case or statute.

West’s Texas Digest. 2d REF KFT 1257 W47 -- Indexing and abstracting of Texas cases by topic. At the end of the volume set there is a a cumulative table of cases. The cases are arranged in a list alphabetically ( for the most recent cases see the pamphlet in the two bound volumes). Each citation contains information on where to locate the case. For example, -- Blair v. Blair, TexCiv App, 408 SW2d 257 -App & E 23 Divorce 312.1 [408 = the volume number & SW2d = the South Western 2d]

West’s Southwestern Reporter  REF KF 135 .S7 W45  -- Actual case reports for Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. Includes information on the cases. It becomes Texas Cases.

Digest of United States Supreme Court Reports. Lawyer’s Ed. REF KF101.1 L3

Indexing and Abstracting of U.S. Supreme Court opinions/decisions. Index to decisions by topic. Volume 15a-d is a table of cases. 

Statutes & Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations REF KF70 A3 -- The Code of Federal Regulations is the official, subject matter order, compilation of the Federal regulations of a general applicability and legal effect, that are currently in force.The Code is divided into 50 titles by subject matter. Each title is divided into sections. Sections within a title may be grouped together as, chapters, subchapters, parts, subparts, or divisions. Titles may also have appendices which may be divided into sections, rules and/or forms.

Shepherd’s Acts and Cases by Popular Name REF KF 90.S52 1992 -- An index to statutes and cases. Covers federal level and all states.

United States Code Service REF KF 62.L3 -- Primary source for the actual United States Law.

Vernon’s Texas Codes, Statutes REF KFT 1230.A45V4

Congressional Record (Web Access) -- The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published daily when Congress is in session.

Federal Register (Web Access) -- The Federal Register is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents.

Federal Register: Rules and Regulations (Web Access) -- This section of the Federal Register contains final rules and regulations: regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect. Most rules are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). A document which amends text must include the changes to the CFR and state the effective date for any change.

Each document begins with a heading that includes the name of the issuing agency (and subagency if appropriate), the CFR title and part(s) affected, and a brief description of the specific subject of the document. In some cases an agency includes a docket number, which identifies the document within the agency's internal filing system. A Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) may also be included.

This section also contains interim rules that are issued without prior notice and are effective immediately; the interim rule is designed to respond to an emergency situation and is usually followed by a final rule document which confirms that the interim rule is final, addresses comments received, and includes any further amendments. Additionally, this section includes documents that have no regulatory text and do not amend the CFR, but either affect the agency's handling of its regulations or are of continuing interest to the public in dealing with an agency. In this category are general policy statements and interpretations of agency regulations. These documents have the CFR headings (title and part), but do not contain any codified language.