The American Bar Association is a voluntary association of lawyers and law students, and this is its main web site, providing information and news relating to the legal profession in the United States. Information on legal education, admission to the bar and how the courts work may be found in the “Topics & Resources” section, or in the “Legal Resources for the Public” section which is accessible from the foot of any page. There is also a link to the separate web site of the monthly ABA Journal, where articles from 2004 onwards may be accessed.
American Law Sources On-line (ALSO!) is a gateway service maintained by LawSource Inc which aims to provide a comprehensive collection of links to free online sources of US and Canadian law. In addition to US federal and state law materials, there are links to sources of commentary and practice aids. Selecting “Federal Government” on the home page reveals a search screen that links to a number of sources for Supreme Court cases back to 1790. Also included as one of the links is an outline of the US legal system.
Online version of Chambers USA, the evaluative guide to leading lawyers and law firms in the USA, researched and published annually in May by UK publisher Chambers and Partners.
Congress.gov, hosted and managed by the Library of Congress, has replaced THOMAS as the official web site for US federal legislative information. This includes bill records 1973 onwards and bill texts 1993 onwards. The start date for much other content, including public and private laws, the Congressional Record, committee reports and treaty documents, is 1995.
The Legal Information Institute (LII) based at Cornell Law School provides links to the US Code (with update feature) and Constitution, federal and state law, federal court opinions, and Supreme Court opinions (including all SC opinions 1990 onwards and an archive of historic decisions). The site also incorporates Wex, the LII’s collaboratively-edited legal dictionary and encyclopedia of legal terms and topics.
Emory Law (the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia) produces this guide to freely available internet-based legal resources. It provides briefly annotated links to US federal and state primary sources, foreign law and international sources, and secondary sources such as dictionaries, law reviews and legal news.
Famous Trials is a resource compiled by Douglas O. Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, originally intended for his own students. It presents materials (text and images) relating to celebrated trials from many historical periods. With the obvious exception of the earliest cases, the trials selected took place in the United States. Linder provides edited transcripts of evidence and judgments, related press coverage, biographies of key participants, and bibliographies.
FDsys, which formerly provided free online access to official United States Federal Government publications, was retired in December 2018 and superseded by a new site, Govinfo, where the same publications and search functionality are now available.
The Federal Register is “the daily journal of the United States Government”, the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules and notices of US federal agencies and organisations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. Content in this unofficial online version is from 1994 (vol 59) onwards.
This section of the FindLaw site contains resources and links for both federal and state laws of the US. Coverage includes constitutions, statutes, cases and legal news, plus historical documents and background information on the US courts and government. Supreme Court decisions from 1893 onwards can be browsed by year or United States Reports volume number, and are searchable by citation, case name or full text, with hypertext links within cases to other cited cases. Also included are Opinion Summaries from September 2000 onwards, searchable by court and legal topic.
Google Scholar is a specialised web search engine which enables users to search for scholarly literature. In November 2009 coverage was extended to include full text legal opinions from US federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts. To access this feature select the Case Law option on the home page.
Govinfo is a new service of the US Government Printing Office (GPO) which provides free public access to official Federal Government publications. It superseded the GPO’s FDsys site, which was retired in December 2018. Content includes the annual Code of Federal Regulations (1996 onwards), Congressional Bills (1993-1994 onwards), Congressional Documents (1985-1986 onwards – including Senate Treaty Documents from 1995-1996 onwards), the Federal Register (1994 onwards), Public and Private Laws (1995-1996 onwards), and the United States Code (1994 onwards). The site features advanced search and browsing capabilities.
A research guide on the GlobaLex web site, outlining the structure of the federal legal system including references to publicly accessible web-based sources, prepared by Gretchen Feltes, Faculty Services/Reference Librarian at New York University School of Law Library. Originally on the LLRX.com site, the guide was published on GlobaLex in 2005 and has since been updated several times.
This gateway site published by the legal media and technology company Justia provides free access to federal and state law materials including US Supreme Court cases 1759 onwards, federal appellate cases 1950 onwards and district court opinions 2004 onwards. It also includes links to the US Code and Constitution, the Code of Federal Regulations and to state constitutions, codes, legislation and web resources.
An annotated compendium of internet sources on the US aimed at legal researchers and arranged under the following headings: Constitution, Executive, Judicial, Legislative, States, Legal Guides and General Sources. Emphasis is on sites offering the full text of laws, regulations and court decisions, along with commentary from lawyers.
LLRX describes itself as an independent web journal which provides articles, research guides and other resources relating to legal practice, research and law firm management. Material can be browsed by subject, date and author via the ‘Archives’ menu option. The “International Legal Research” subcategory has articles and guides on international law topics and on researching the law in various countries and regions of the world.
The OpenJurist project aims to provide free access to the case law of the US Supreme Court 1790 onwards as published in United States Reports, and of lower federal courts 1880 onwards as published in Federal Reporter. Coverage is not yet complete. In Federal Reporter 1st series cases it is advisable to view the original text as scanned from the printed volumes, since the machine-read version (accessible by selecting “Case text” at the head of each report) is not always reliable. Other site content includes the United States Code and a directory of US courts.
The Public Library of Law (PLoL) is a free service provided by Fastcase, a subscription provider of US online legal information. The site provides access to federal and state law including cases from the US Supreme Court 1754 onwards, federal circuit courts 1950 onwards, and state supreme and appeals courts 1997 onwards. Links to the US Code and to statutes, constitutions and court rules for all 50 states and to regulations and administrative codes from selected states are also included. Registration is required to access the full text of these materials.
The SLGN directory has links to over 11,000 official US state, county and city government web sites. There are drop-down menus to view pages by state, topic or local government.
The official site of the US Supreme Court has general information about the Court, its current Rules, recent decisions and opinions for the 2004 term onwards. The Opinions section of the site also has the full text of the bound volumes of United States Reports for the 1991 term and subsequent years (vol 502 onwards). There is also a Case Citation Finder.
The United States Code is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States, which is prepared and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC), an independent office within the US House of Representatives. The US Code is readily accessible from many web sites, but the OLRC’s own site has the most up to date online version of the current edition, together with all editions back to 1994 and various tables, tools, FAQs and guidance.
The official web site of the US federal judiciary, which has general information on the federal courts and judiciary, and links to the sites of the Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals, District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts.
The House of Representatives web site contains information about current House membership and activities, including the House Rules, legislative schedules, proceedings, votes and committee meetings. There are links as appropriate to other sites, including Congress.gov for enacted legislation and the official Congressional Record (of proceedings and debates).
The United States Senate site includes information on current and past senators and on the membership and legislative work of its committees. The “Legislation & Records” section provides information on the different types of legislation and on the “active legislation” which is currently before Congress.
The Office of the Legal Adviser furnishes advice on all legal issues, domestic and international, arising in the course of the work of the US State Department. The site provides access to texts of both bilateral and multilateral treaties in force for the United States. Also included is a section devoted to private international law, and sets of links to documents reproduced in the annual publication Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 1989 to date.
USA.gov is the US Government’s official web portal to all online government information and services. There are links to federal, state, local and tribal government sites. The site’s primary arrangement is by topic, and there is an A-Z agency index.
WashLaw is a free online service of Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas. It provides extensive links (some with brief annotations) to federal and state legislation and case law, government documents and agencies, law firms, law schools, law libraries, law journals, and general reference sources. Besides US coverage there are foreign and international sections.
Wex is a collaboratively-edited legal dictionary and encyclopedia, hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell Law School.