The Best Law Library Research Guides and DirectoriesPosted: April 9, 2012
Most law libraries publish comprehensive guides of legal resources. However, not all guides are created equal. In this post, I have curated a listing of some of the best law library research guides from across the web. If you are researching federal law, any of these directories should do the trick. However, if you’re researching state law, consider visiting the website of a law school located in that state for a more complete listing of state-specific resources. (For example, the UCLA Law Library has a particularly useful directory of California legislative history links and ballot measures. The Law Library of the New York Courts, also included below, delivers a superlative listing of New York-centric resources.)
A fantastic guide of free and low-cost resources of state and federal materials. Particularly notable are the California guides (providing links to bills, ballot measures, regulations, and local government research), legal blog guide, and dictionary and acronym guide.
More than just a directory, the LII’s website is a free legal information portal, publishing federal case law, code, and regulations. The LII’s directory of state materials is notable; it provides a robust set of links to free materials for each state.
Excellent index of federal and state materials. This site is particularly helpful in providing a complete listing of links to federal agency websites. Information is easily accessible and is listed alphabetically, by subject, and by geographic location.
Provides links to free secondary source materials (e.g., ABA Journal, Oyez.org, among others), state and federal case law (including nifty coverage tables), constitutions, statutes and codes. One of the most complete listings of free legislative history resources, including bills, hearings, committee reports, and congressional debates.
In addition to an excellent selection of legislative links, Washington has created a fantastic set of charts that break down the features and limitations of the various free case law research tools. Using these tables, you can learn the date restrictions of the databases, as well as available formats (e.g., txt, PDF, HTML).
A thorough listing of Wexis alternatives, comprehensive resources, state and federal materials, secondary sources, and helpful descriptions of each resource. The Library has even compiled a directory of Web 2.0 resources.