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Free Online Legal Research

This Guide describes a wide range of online legal research resources. It covers primary law, government resources, research guides, reference sources, forms, and legal news.

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 research is state-specific, you may want to browse the Web sites of a handful of major law libraries in that state.

The following are just three examples of law library research guides.

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