Summer Survival Skills
This web page was created to assist our graduating and summer practice students. Reference librarians are available to meet one-on-one to help students prepare for summer or full time employment, to arrange for a consultation you can contanct a librarian or make an appointment here.
During the summer, the Reference Desk will be staffed from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday. If you are not in the law school, you can contact us via telephone (203-432-1606), e-mail, or via chat from our website. If you have a subject specific research question, you can find the contact information for the reference librarian who specializes in that subject here. After hours, please feel free to leave a voicemail message or send an e-mail, and we will respond during the next Reference Desk shift if not sooner.
The law library also has a comprehensive set of legal research tutorials available here.
Computer and IT Issues
For help gaining off-campus IP access, most YLS users connect to the Yale network using VPN for Mac or Windows. For instructions on setting up a VPN, please visit the Off-Campus Access website. For other IT questions, please review the IT Services web page. If assistance is still required, please contact IT Services' Help Desk via e-mail, telephone: 203-432-0821, or walk-in: L2, Room 007A.
For Passwords to the databases that are available only to the YLS community, see the Library Databases page or contact reference.
Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg Summer Access Policies
Westlaw allows non-graduating law students to extend their password for: summer law school classes, law review or law journal work, project for a professor, moot court, and for unpaid, nonprofit public interest internship/externship pro bono work required for graduation. You can register here to extend your Westlaw password for the summer.
Graduating student passwords will expeire at the end of May 2013. Graduating students can extend their passwords for extended summer access here. If you have any questions about Westlaw summer access please contact our Westlaw representative, Holly Rush.
Students will have full access to Lexis Advance all summer for educational and work purposes.
Starting this summer you must be a registered Lexis Advance user to be able to access Lexis.com and Lexis Advance. If you haven't registered for Lexis Advance or for questions or assistance, please contact our Lexis Nexis representative, Meredith Schuman.
All students will have access to Bloomberg Law over the summer. Similar to Westlaw and Lexis, Bloomberg contains comprehensive legal content (dockets, cases, statutes and regulations), company and market information, and proprietary news. If you cannot find or remember your password, please contact our Bloomberg representative, Pamela Haahr.
Basic Legal Research
This section will provide you with a few key links to free websites. Because the availability of state legal materials varies so widely, we have only included descriptions of the federal materials available for free online. Please consult our state-by-state research guide for information about individual states.
For more comprehensive information consult UCLA's guide to free or low-cost legal research. We also suggest the Yale Law Library's research guides page and our series of legal research tutorials available here.
Statutes and Regulations
- Yale Law Library's Statutory Research Tutorial.
- Cornell's Legal Information Institute (this resource is particularly useful for its "how current is this" link which provides information on modifications to the U.S. Code); CFR also available here.
- FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications (federal government U.S. Code, Legislation, C.F.R.etc.)
- Thomas provides Public Laws, some legislative history and bill tracking; see also govtrak.
- Findlaw's Cases and Codes section contains resources and links for both state and federal laws. This includes resources pertaining to constitutions, statutes, cases and more. Run a search for case summariesor select a jurisdiction to browse applicable laws.
- Justia also provides state and federal codes
- Public Library of Law has the statutory and regulatory codes for the federal government and all fifty states. A list of agency databases by state here.
Legislative and Regulatory History
- Yale Law Library Legislative History Research Guide contains links to resources as well as tutorials.
- Law Librarians' Society of Washington D.C. Inc.'s Legislative Sourcebook.
- Thomas and govtrack.us provide information on recent legislation.
- Regulations.gov covers newer federal regulations, including proposed rules and agency notices.
- The Yale Law Library has an Adminstrative Law Research Tutorial.
- The Yale Law Library has tutorials to help you understand the components of a case, how cases are published and how to find cases, researching case law in print and online, and updating case law.
- Google Scholar
- Justia: Case law from the U.S. Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, District Courts and well as state court opinions. Justia also has Daily Newsletters of Opinion Summaries for the US Supreme Court, all US Federal Appellate Courts & the 50 US State Supreme Courts and Weekly Practice Area Opinion Summaries Newsletters.
- U.S. Supreme Court: Recent court opinions and some docket information.
- Public Library of Law: Cases from the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals, as well as cases from all 50 states back to 1997.
- LII Supreme Court
Foreign Law Research (including national and regional databases and research guides)
Begin with the Guide to Foreign and Comparative Research at Yale for an overview of how to approach foreign legal research. From there, consult Yale's Foreign, Transnational and International
Resources page for an annotated list of resources available on the web, from research guides to full-text databases, both subscription and open-access, and this Research Guide for Treaties. For country-specific research, we suggest the Country-by-Country Guide to Foreign Law Research.
WorldLII - list of links to primary law available on the web
GlobaLex- research guides for many foreign countries and international topics
World Law Guide - links to country legislation and case law
American Society of International Law's EISIL
Right click to download and save this legal research flowcart, which can also aid in your research path: