Online Legal Research Sources - United States

Best Sites

  • GPO Access, (including FDsys: Federal Digital System) a service of the Government Printing Office. A collection of major sources, full text, including the budget; Code of Federal Regulations and Federal Register; Commerce Business Daily; congressional bills, calendars, directories, hearings, prints, reports, the Congressional Record, and other materials; Economic Indicators and President's Economic Report; General Accounting Office reports; selected administrative agency decisions; Supreme Court opinions; and U.S. Code and session laws. Also see Data.gov.
  • Thomas, from the Library of Congress. A collection of legislative resources, including bills, bill status, committee reports and websites, the Congressional Record, Presidential nominations, treaties, and other material.
  • Federal Law, from Cornell University's Legal Information Institute. Contains the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, and decisions from the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals.
  • USA.gov, the federal government's portal to information and services. Also includes state, local, and tribal governments.
  • lexisONE, free federal and state caselaw and other material
  • Findlaw, free federal and state materials and other material, including LawCrawler, a legal web & databases search engine
  • Washlaw Web, links to Federal Government internet resources and other government related material (Washburn)
  • Federal Government Resources on the Web from University of Michigan Documents Center.
  • Public.Resource.Org a bulk depository of a variety of free government and agency documents, reports, etc.

 

LAWS, LEGISLATION & CONGRESS
COURT OPINIONS, RULES
ADMINISTRATIVE RULES, REGULATIONS, DECISIONS
PUBLIC RECORD DATABASES
DIRECTORIES
STATE MATERIALS

Laws, Legislation & Congress

U.S. Constitution

Bills & Resolutions: Legislation being considered by Congress

Public Laws: Laws passed by Congress & signed by the President, in date order

slip laws

  • Thomas: arranged by Congress then public law number, from 1973 (93d Congress).
  • GPO Access: searchable, from 1995 (104th Congress).
  • FDsys: Federal Digital System (in beta) public access to US information of Congress and Federal agencies
  • Authenticated public and private laws from GPO Access: searchable, from 2007. (Digitally signed and certified)
  • classification tables from the Office of the Law Revision Counsel: provides U.S. Code citations for public laws and U.S. Code sections affected by recently enacted laws.

U.S. Statutes at Large: slip laws organized by Congress and session

U.S. Code: Laws in force arranged by subject

Congressional Record: Transcript of proceedings in the U.S. Congress

  • GPO Access: searchable, from 1995 (104th Congress).
  • CR index from GPO Access: searchable, from 1983.
  • CR from Thomas: searchable, from 1990 (101st Congress).
  • CR, Permanent edition, from GPO Access: searchable, vol. 145, 1999 (106th Congress, 1st Session); more volumes to be added
  • Annals of Congress, 1st Congress through 18th Congress, 1st session, from the Library of Congress: covers 1789-1824.
  • Register of Debates, 18th Congress, 2d through 25th Congress, 1st session, from the Library of Congress: covers 1824-37.
  • Congressional Globe, 23d-42d Congresses, from the Library of Congress: covers 1833-73.

Committee Reports - House, Senate & Executive reports (Serial Set)

  • reports from GPO Access: searchable, from 11995 (104th Congress).
  • reports from Thomas: searchable, from 1995 (104th Congress).
  • historical Serial Set volumes, from the Library of Congress: selected volumes from the 23d Congress, 1833-35; 56th Congress, 1899-1901; and the 58th Congress, 1903-05 (Journals of the Confederate Congress).
  • Public.Resource.Org

Committee Documents, Hearings & Testimony

  • documents from GPO Access: searchable, from 1995 (104th Congress).
  • hearings from GPO Access: searchable, from 1997 (105th Congress).
  • selected witness statements from House and Senate committees: select committee by pull-down menu.
  • Public.Resource.Org

Other Historical Congressional Material

Court Opinions, Rules

U.S. Supreme Court (official site)

Source Dates Notes
lexisONE 1790-date provides parallel citations
AltLaw 1781-date search by keyword or party name
Justia 1759-last year search by U.S. reports citation, party name, or keyword
PreCYdent 1759-date search by keyword or party name
Public Library
of Law
1759-date search by keyword
Findlaw 1893-date search by U.S. Reports citation, party name, or keyword
Legal Information Institute (Cornell) 1803-1991 (selected) more than 600 historically significant cases; search by topic, party, or author of the opinion
FedWorld 1937-75 Federal Legal Information Through Electronics (FLITE) database from the Air Force
Supreme Court 1991-date useful for recent slip opinions &r bound volumes (vol. 502-date)
Legal Information Institute (Cornell) 1990-date include links to cited sources (U.S. Code, CFR, other cases) that are also available at LII
Oyez 1792-date U.S. Supreme Court Case Summaries, Oral Arguments & Multimedia

 

Other Federal Courts

Federal Rules

U.S. Courts.gov
GPO Access
- Title 28 (Supreme Court Rules, Appellate Procedure, Civil, Evidence)
- Title 18 (Criminal)

Administrative Rules, Regulations, Decisions

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Rules and regulations issued by executive branch & independent agencies.

  • CFR from GPO Access: searchable, editions from 1996.
  • CFR from the Cornell's Legal Information Institute: searchable, current.
  • Electronic CFR from GPO Access: browse by CFR citation; integrates adopted regulations from the Federal Register, experimental.

Federal Register (FR)

Updates regulations in the CFR, includes executive orders.

  • FR from GPO Access: searchable, from 1995.
  • Regulations.gov, a website providing proposed regulations from the Federal Register and online forms for submitting comments about proposed regulations, current.

Presidential Executive Orders, Proclamations & Other Documents

Administrative Agency Decisions

Public Record Databases

For additional government databases, see:

Directories

Congress

Courts

Executive Branch & General U.S. Government

Law Schools / Lawyers

State Materials

Multi-State, Multi-Source Sites

  • State and Local Government on the Net from Piper Resources: arranged by state, includes links to state homepages, directories, and websites of elected officials, the legislature, the judiciary, executive branch agencies, boards and commissions, regional organizations, and municipalities.
  • State Legal Sources on the Web, from the University of Michigan Documents Center. Links to and describes years of coverage for bills, session laws, codes and constitutions, regulations, executive orders, attorney general opinions, courts, newspapers, and state law libraries.
  • State Resource Center from lexisONE: arranged by state.
  • LexisNexis free Legal Research center and attorney directory by Lawyers.com. Links to state statutes and selected state agencies. Also includes articles and links by area of law.
  • State Resources from Findlaw: arranged by state, includes links to constitutions, legislation, laws, administrative codes and registers, attorney general opinions, and other legal materials.
  • GovEngine: a portal to federal and state government agencies and courts.
  • Zimmerman's Research Guide, an online encyclopedia for legal researchers.
  • Full-text state statutes and legislation on the Internet

Constitutions

Legislative Branch

Judicial Branch

lexisONE, free state appellate cases, last five years only (registration required)

PreCYdent: appellate cases, coverage varies by state.

Public Library of Law: appellate cases, 1997-date, searchable.

Court Web Sites from the National Center for State Courts: arranged by state.

Court Rules, Forms, and Dockets from LLRX: searchable by jurisdiction and type of resource.

Executive Branch

Administrative codes and registers

State Agency Databases, a wiki list by state, from the American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table.

Cities & Counties