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Free Online Legal Research

This guide describes freely available online legal research sources. It covers primary law (case law, statutes, regulations, etc.), secondary sources, legal forms, research guides and other reference tools, news sources, and self-help resources.

Law Library Research Guides

Most law libraries provide online access to their research guides. Although they may contain information specific to the library's collections, these guides provide references to treatises, Web sources, major case law, legislation, and other relevant sources that can aid in one's research.

If your legal research is state-specific, you may want to browse the list of online research guides of a handful of major law libraries in that state (see examples below). 

Another strategy for locating relevant legal research guides is to conduct a keyword search in your internet browser, using the terms "research," "guide" as well as the subject matter you are researching.  For example:

  • research AND guide AND "human rights law"
  • research AND guide AND  "legislative history" AND texas

State Legislative History Research Guides

Other Research Guides

SCALL's Locating the Law

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: How to Read a Legal Citation
  • Chapter 3: Basic Legal Research Techniques
  • Chapter 4: Legal Reference vs. Legal Advice
  • Chapter 5: California Law
  • Chapter 6: Bibliography of California Resources
  • Chapter 7: Federal Law
  • Chapter 8: Citators
  • Chapter 9: Assisting Self-Represented Litigants
  • Chapter 10: Bibliography of Self-Help Resources
  • Chapter 11: Availability, Accessibility and Maintenance of Legal Collections
  • Chapter 12: Major Law Publishers
  • Appendix A: Glossary of Legal Terms
  • Appendix B: Common Abbreviations in the Law
  • Appendix C: California County Law Libraries
  • Appendix D: California Law Schools