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.

Reference Help

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. If you do not register for summer access you will be limited to 40 hours of Westlaw/WestlawNext per month.

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 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

Case Law

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

See also:
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: 

Updated Date: 
Monday, May 13, 2013
Knowledge Base: