Free Internet Legal Information - Popular Resources
- FindLaw for Legal Professionals (Thompson Reuters) Includes case law, case summaries, statutes, legal search engine, legal news, RSS court updates, and practice information.
- Government Printing Office (Fdsys) Access to official Federal Government publications, including authenticated PDF documents.
- Justia Includes case law, statutes, regulations, articles, opinion summaries (newsletter), and limited access to Federal District Court dockets.
- Legal Information Institute (LII) (Cornell University Law School) Provides primary legal materials, legal encyclopedia, and the Supreme Court Bulletin.
- Public Library of Law (Fastcase) Includes case law, statutes, regulations, court rules, constitutions, and legal forms.
- WashLaw Legal Research on the Web (Washburn University School of Law) Links to federal, state, international, and foreign law, search government information by topic.
These sources limit Web-searching to law-specific resources.
- Cornell Law Library Legal Search Engine Searches legal Internet, research guides, and blogs.
- Dragnet (New York Law School Library) Search limited group of law websites, constitutions and codes, and law reviews with online content.
- Google Scholar Search Federal and State legal opinions and journals.
- Legal Web Search (Justia) ( Justia > Search > Legal Web Search)
- LexisWeb Searches both free legal information and fee-based resources available from LexisNexis. Search results may be limited by filtering options.
- USA.gov Search federal and state government websites.
- United States Constitution
- American Memory (Library of Congress) Find documents from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention (1774-1789), includes images of original documents and related materials.
- Founder’s Constitution (University of Chicago Press) Provides links to historical documents related to the development of the Constitution.
- LII: CRS Annotated Constitution Prepared by the Congressional Research Service, provides links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations.
- National Archives Images of original documents and historical information.
- United States Code
- FDsys (1994-) Authenticated PDFs. Note that official Code is print edition published by the Government Printing Office.
- LII Current and newly codified (preliminary release) legislation. Browse or search by citation. Links to part of Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for which statute provides rule making authority.
- Office of Law Revision Council (U.S. House of Representatives) Prepares and publishes U.S. Code, provides searchable code (1988-), preliminary release Code, and tables.
- American Memory: A Century of Law Making for a New Nation (Library of Congress)
- Congress.gov (Library of Congress, replacement for Thomas)
- Case Law
- U.S. Courts
- Findlaw (Cases &
Codes > Select Court)
- U.S. Supreme Court (1893-)
- Search by citation, party name, or full-text
- Browse cases by year (2005-)
- May use Boolean and proximity operators, and wildcards
- U.S. Courts of Appeals (1995-, First Circuit 2/1984-, Ninth Circuit
- Search full text, by party name, or docket number
- Browse recent decisions
- U.S. Supreme Court (1893-)
- U.S. Courts of Appeals (coverage varies)
- U.S. District Courts (coverage varies)
- Google Scholar (Legal Documents > Search all or selected Federal Courts)
- U.S. Supreme Court (1791-)
- U.S. Courts of Appeals (1923-)
- U.S. District Courts (1923-)
- Justia (Laws:
Cases & Codes > Browse by Volume or Year (Sup. Ct. 1959-).
- U.S. Supreme Court (1791-)
- U.S. Courts of Appeals (1951-)
- U.S. District Courts (coverage varies) Decisions and Orders by State/District
- Legal Information Institute (LII) (Legal Resources > Federal Law > Judicial Branch)
- Public Library
of Law (Case Law >
Search by Keyword; Advanced Options > Restrict by Date Range and/or
Jurisdiction > Search by Keyword.
Results displayed by relevancy)
- U.S. Supreme Court (1759-)
- U.S. Courts of Appeals (1950-)
- United States Supreme
Court Briefs, Oral Arguments, and Other Information
- U.S. Supreme Court
- American Bar Association
- Find Law: U.S. Supreme Court
- Scanned Briefs (Oct. 1999-2007 terms)
- Dockets 1999-2009
- Case Index by Topic
- LII Supreme Court Bulletin Journal covering cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Oyez (Chicago-Kent College of Law) Oral Argument Audio (1981-).
- SCOTUSBlog (sponsored by Bloomberg Law) provides extensive coverage of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court
- District Court Case Records
- Finding Citing Cases
Note: There is no free source to specifically verify case validity. While in the GMU Law Library, patrons may use dedicated terminals providing Keycite , Shepards, or Bcite services.
- Administrative Law
Consult individual websites for agency-specific rules, regulations, decisions, and other resources.
to Federal Agencies
- Administrative Decisions and Other Actions (University of Virginia Library) Links to sources for administrative actions not included in the Federal Register or CFR (e.g. adjudication).
- USA.gov Links to online Federal Government resources.
- Federal Register
- FDsys (Official, 1994-) Browse by date and agency, PDFs.
- Office of the Federal Register Browse current issue, links to Federal Register content on FDsys.
- Regulations.gov Search regulations by keyword, title or Regulation Identifier Number, filter searches by agency, document type, comment period, or category. Find and post comments on proposed regulations.
of Federal Regulations
- FDsys (official, 1996-) Browse by year and Title,
- e-CFR (unofficial) Current edition, updated daily. Browse by Title, search by keyword. Content should be verified against official version when available on FDsys.
- Legal Information Institute (LII) (unofficial) Browse by title, search by keyword. Includes Parallel Table of Authorities showing agency regulatory authorization. Content in database refreshed weekly.
- FDsys (official, 1996-) Browse by year and Title, PDFs.
- Federal Register
- Presidential Resources
- The White House: Presidential Actions Includes Executive Orders, Presidential Memorandum, and Proclamations (January 2009- ).
- Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders Prepared by the Office of the Federal Register, includes proclamations and Executive orders with “general applicability and continuing effect” (April 13, 1945- January 20, 1989).
- Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index (January 8, 1937-May 1, 2012) Includes subject index by president.
- Public Papers of the Presidents (1981- (Ronald Reagan-)) Official series including presidential writings, addresses, and public remarks, organized chronologically.
- Compilation of Presidential Documents (1993- ) Official documents released by the White House Press Secretary, includes weekly and daily editions.
- Public Papers of the Presidents (1991- (George H.W. Bush -)) Official series including presidential writings, addresses, and public remarks, organized chronologically.
Please also consult the library’s Virginia Legal Materials Research Guide for information about free Virginia resources.
- Primary State
Materials (Constitutions, Statutes, Cases)
- FindLaw: State Resources Includes state constitutions, codes, bills, court opinions, and administrative codes. Coverage varies by state.
- Google Scholar Provides state supreme court and appellate decisions (1950-). Use “advanced search” to restrict to specific state courts.
- Justia: U.S. States Includes state constitutions, cases, and links to legislative resources. Coverage varies by state.
- Sites Providing Links
to State-Sponsored Websites
- LII: Collection of State Legal Materials Access to state constitutions, statutes, regulations, and judicial opinions.
- National Association of Secretaries of State: Administrative Rules Online by State Provides links to state administrative registers, codes, and manuals.
- National Center for State Courts Provides links state court websites.
- National Conference of State Legislatures: Internet Links Provides links for state legislative materials.
- Primary Legal Resources by State A collaborative resource from the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI).
- Public Library of Law Provides state supreme court and appellate decisions (1997- ), links to state administrative sites, constitutions, statutes, and court rules.
- State Legislatures, State Laws, and State Regulations: Website Links and Telephone Numbers Compiled by the Law Library’s Society of Washington (LLSDC).
- Thomas: State Legislatures and Websites Provides a map linking to state legislative sites.
Please consult the library’s International Law Research Guide under the heading “Other Online Resources” for additional resources.
- FindLaw: International Resources Links include primary legal materials, databases, statistics, and international organizations.
- GlobaLex (NYU School of Law) Provides International and Comparative Law guides and articles by subject.
- LII: Law by Source (Global) Links to sites with primary International and Foreign sources, including international organizations, national government and other legal information. Coverage varies by country.
- Yale Law Library: Country by Country Guide to Foreign Law Resources Links to both free and fee-based resources.
- ABA Legal Technology Resource Center Search more than 400 online full-text journal/law reviews and related sources, including Congressional Research Service Reports. Coverage varies.
- BePress Browse or Search over 90 law journals published in the Digital
Commons open access repository.
- Law Review Commons a resource provided by Bepress, browse and search law journal articles made available by institutions through their bepress Digital Commons repositories.
- New York Law School: Law Reviews with Online Content Browse or search approximately 150 law journals that provide free online content, including their most current issue. Searches may be limited to International or Environmental Law.
- Google Scholar Limits Google search to academic journal articles, conference papers, dissertations, theses, indexes articles and abstracts from major academic publishers. Coverage and access to full-text varies.
- Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Widely used by scholars to share papers and articles in several topical networks. Legal Scholarship Network includes over 130,000 papers searchable by keyword, title, author or date.
- Findlaw Legal Dictionary
- Law.Com Dictionary
- Nolo’s Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions
- Wex Legal Dictionary and Encyclopedia (LII)
- ABA Journal Magazine of the American Bar Association.
- ABA Journal Blawg Directory Lists regularly updated law blogs by topic. Annual ranking of the “Top 100 Blawgs.”
- Findlaw: Legal Pulse Legal headlines and topical updates.
- Jurist U.S. and World Legal News.
- Justia Blawg Search Find blogs on numerous legal topics.
- National Law Journal/Legal Times (Online Editions) Registration required to access all free content.
- LexisNexis Communities Legal news, blogs, and podcasts for select practice areas.
There are numerous topical online legal research guides, many written by librarians at university and public law libraries. In addition to George Mason Law Library Research Guides, other recommended sources for research guides include:
- Cornell Legal Research Engine Search for legal research guides
- Georgetown Law Library A large number of legal research guides and treatise finder.
- Harvard Law Library A large number of legal research guides and legal web search available.
- Law Library of Congress: Guide to Law Online Includes links to resources on U.S., Foreign, and International Law.
- LLRX Web journal with guides covering Internet research and technology.
- Zimmerman’s Research Guide (LexisNexis) Online encyclopedia and collection of research guides.
The services listed below offer a variety of plans that provide enhanced searching for primary legal materials, although fewer search features than premium legal databases. In addition, while these products offer citators, however the updating features are not equivalent to Shepards, Keycite, or BCite.
- Federal and state cases and statutes, citator
- Monthly and annual subscriptions available, fees based on state bar membership (free with some state bar memberships---not D.C., Maryland, or Virginia).
- Federal and state cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and bar publications.
- "Authority Check" citator: identifies citing cases, flags cases that have been reversed or overruled. Note this is done with computer analytics so it is not equivalent to the human editing provided by Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg law).
- Free access for Virginia Bar members, limited/reduced fee access for D.C. and Maryland Bar Members.
- LoisLawConnect (Wolters Kluwer)
- U.S. Law and Court Rules, Treatise Libraries.
- Four pass options available for short and longer term use.
- Public Access to Court
Electronic Records (PACER)
- Operated by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, provides access to Federal Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy Court case and docket information.
- Charges $0.10 per page retrieved, $3.00 cap per document. Quarterly charges of less than $15.00 are waived.
- Versus Law
- Available content includes U.S. and foreign primary source materials, varies with plan.
- Three legal research plans offering monthly and yearly options.
Last updated September 15, 2014