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Hilton C. Buley Library


Law: Home

How to find cases, statutes, regulations, and other law-related material

Individual assistance

You can meet with me, Sue Clerc, your librarian for law-related research. I have a law degree! I can help you research your project; teach you to use the databases; or give you an introduction to the resources available for legal research through the library. I'm also happy to answer questions by email. Email

3 things to know before you start

1. There are three kinds of law:

  • Case law or judicial law which consists of court cases/decisions/opinions
  • Statutory or legislative law which consists of statutes/public laws/acts
  • Administrative law which consists of regulations and rulings.

2. Federal resources are much easier to find than state ones.

3. It's easier to find something when you know what you're looking for. Know as much as you can before using Lexis Nexis, Justia, Google, etc:

  • Are you looking for a case, a statute, or a regulation?
  • Is it federal or state? If state, which one?
  • If it's a case, what are the names of the parties? What was the date? What was the legal issue?
  • If it's a statute, does it have a popular name like the ADA or NET Act?
  • What is the case or statute citation? A citation is the most useful information you can have because it's unique. To find citations of cases (e.g. 5 US 137), statutes (e.g. PL 101-336), or regulations (e.g. 26 CFR 1.10), try searching an encyclopedia, book, or journal article.

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