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Free Legal Research Sources  

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Introduction and Purpose

The purpose of this research guide is to provide users with access to free legal resources located on the web.  The guide is organized by topic instead of by source, allowing users multiple access points to the same information.

Featured Websites

Below are just a couple of the websites that feature prominently in this research guide.  Although there are many places one could find free legal information, the below sources seem to be the best balance of reliability, ease of use, and depth of information.

  • FDsys
    FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications.
  • National Archives and Records Administration
    The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper.
  • Legal Information Institute -- Cornell Law
    Legal Information Institute is a small research, engineering, and editorial group housed at the Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY. Their collaborators include publishers, legal scholars, computer scientists, government agencies, and other groups and individuals that promote open access to law, worldwide.
  • FindLaw
    FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business, is the world's leading provider of online legal information and Internet marketing solutions for law firms.
  • The Public Law Library
    The Public Library of Law is the world’s largest online database of free law. It brings free materials from across the Web together in one place, and adds hundreds of volumes of law that has previously only been available with a subscription.
  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.
  • Justia
    Justia's mission is to advance the availability of legal resources for the benefit of society. They are focused on making primary legal materials and community resources free and easy to find on the Internet. The company provides Internet users with free case law, codes, regulations, legal articles and legal blog and twittterer databases, as well as additional community resources.
  • Thomas (Law Library of Congress)
    THOMAS was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public.

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Austin Martin Williams


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