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. - 1:0 p.m. and 2:00 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.
Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg Summer Access Policies
Students may register for full WestlawNext summer access as long as you are requesting access for one of the following:
- Law Review and Journal Work
- Summer course work
- Project for a Professor
- Moot Court
- Unpaid Non-Profit Public Interest Internship/Externship or Pro Bono Work Required for Graduation
If you do not register for summer access you will be limited to 40 hours of WestlawNext access over the summer (in June and July)
Graduating student passwords will expire at the end of May 2014. To get extended summer access through November 30, 2014, please register here. If you have questions about Westlaw summer access, please contact our Westlaw representative, Holly Rush.
No registration for summer access is required if you already have a registered Lexis Advance ID.
For questions and assistance, please contact our LexisNexis representative, Meredith Shuman.
All registered students will have unlimited Bloomberg access during summer. Graduating students will have unlimited and unrestricted Bloomberg access for 6 months following graduation. If you have questions about Bloomberg Law summer access, please contact Jed Lewin, BL representative.
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.)
- Congress.gov 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.
- Congress.gov 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 Administrative 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: