Low cost Internet Legal Research

Low cost internet US Legal Research in the United States

The following guide describes selected online resources useful for researching U.S. federal and some State (such California) law. For resources that are freely available via the Internet, see here.

Judicial (cases, dockets, rules of court)

  • Casemaker. Exclusive partner with state bar associations for providing association members with access to primary legal research authorities, including case law, among other things.
  • Loislaw: Loislaw is a subscription service, but users may sign up directly with Loislaw for a free temporary trial subscription. Federal and state court cases, including District Court cases, statutes, regulations and rules are available in Loislaw as part of the trial subscription. Loislaw is useful because it provides more flexible search options than some of the other resources identified in this research guide, such as full-text word searches. Loislaw includes some additional materials, such as public records and certain secondary publications. However, these materials are not included in the free trial subscription. This resources includes Full-Text Primary Source Materials and Additional Secondary Information. Loislaw content includes: 50-state case; U.S. Supreme Court reports; Circuit Courts of Appeal; U.S. District Courts; U.S. Tax Court; others.
  • VersusLaw: Offering 3 different online legal research monthly plans covering: U.S. Supreme Court; Circuit Courts of Appeal; U.S. District Courts; other federal courts; United States Code (U.S.C.); state appellate courts; “other court content;” Native American tribal courts; and foreign courts.
  • Fastcase: Includes Monthly charged, 50-state and federal cases.
  • Nolo (at nolo.com). Nolo publishes legal guides for non-attorneys, providing information useful to answer common legal questions and for those representing themselves in legal proceedings. Nolo’s web site contains articles on a myriad of legal subjects. The articles are geared for non-practitioners, and are organized by topic. Most articles include links to related subjects and other online tools, including a database of primary source materials. This resources includes Full-Text Primary Source Materials and Additional Secondary Information.

Court & related websites

  • PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER): an electronic public access service allowing users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, and the “U.S. Party/Case Index” online, subject to a capped, per-page charge.

Legislative (constitutions, statutes, ordinances, legislative history) and Administrative (agency rules / regulations / decisions) materials

  • Casemaker: Exclusive partner with state bar associations for providing association members with access to primary legal research authorities, including statutory law, among other things.
  • Fastcase: Monthly charged, 50-state and federal statutes.
  • Loislaw: Includes 50-state statutes; U.S. Constitution; U.S.C.; Public Laws of the United States. See above.

Secondary Authority

  • LoisLaw: Treatises and forms by practice area: bankruptcy law; business law; construction law; DUI law; elder law; employment law; estate law; evidence law; family law; general litigation; Internet & E-commerce law; limited liability company Law; personal injury law; product liability law; real estate law.

PERIODICAL INDEXES

  • HeinOnline: HeinOnline contains full-text PDF files of law reviews as well as selected primary source materials. HeinOnline is a good resource for obtaining copies of specific journal articles and to search journals not indexed in other databases. However, HeinOnline provides fewer searching options than LexisNexis Academic Universe and the other databases listed below, and HeinOnline’s search engine takes a long time to retrieve search results. Accordingly, LexisNexis Academic Universe and the below databases may be more useful for topical searching.
  • Index to Legal Periodicals. The Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP) is a database of legal literature including law reviews, legal news periodicals and selected books. ILP has a variety of search options including keyword searching and browsing topic headings. Although ILP does not include the fulltext of most articles, HeinOnline, LexisNexis Academic Universe or UCLA’s e-journals can often be used to obtain online copies of the referenced articles.
  • Legaltrac. Legaltrac is an index to law journal articles. Legaltrac has similar search options as ILP, and like ILP, Legaltrac does not include the full-text of most articles. Once an article is located, HeinOnline, LexisNexis Academic Universe or UCLA’s e-journals can often be used to obtain an online copy.

Low cost Internet Legal Research: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Low cost Internet Legal Research. This part provides references, in relation to Low cost Internet Legal Research, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Low cost Internet Legal Research by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Low cost Internet Legal Research and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Low cost Internet Legal Research or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Low cost Internet Legal Research and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Low cost Internet Legal Research. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Low cost Internet Legal Research should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Low cost Internet Legal Research when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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