A Guide to Law Research

guide to law

Law is a vast field. While it may not be possible for any one person to understand all aspects of law, it is crucial that every person know the basics and how they can get help when needed. Legal experts advise people to seek advice from professionals when faced with issues like criminal cases, family disputes and intellectual property matters among others.

The purpose of this guide is to provide an introduction to the various kinds of resources available for conducting legal research on New York state and federal law. It also includes tips on how to use specific databases that can be difficult to navigate, as well as a list of sites for finding information about New York courts.

In the course of this research, particular emphasis has been placed on locating sources for the full text of laws and regulations, court decisions, and commentary from lawyers writing primarily for other lawyers. However, resources that are useful for non-lawyers (such as those containing plain English definitions of legal terms) and those intended for the general public have also been included.

If you have suggestions for additional online resources or helpful hints to share with others, please send them via the Ask a Librarian form. For further information on doing legal research, consult the American Association of Law Libraries’ Guiding Principles for Public Access to Legal Information On Government Websites or the Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

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