Legal Research on the Web-Superceded

Introduction

This page provides a quick introduction to Internet tools that are useful to the legal researcher. It includes both Web-access databases that are limited to the use of the Washington University School of Law Community as well as public access information available to anyone using the Web for research. It does not attempt to duplicate the effort of the many sites that are striving to provide comprehensive links to publicly available legal information on the Web. Instead, we point the legal researcher to some of the best unlimited access resources that we have found on the Web.

Internet Caveats

While there is a wealth of legal information available on the Internet, it is important to remember that this information is only as good as the source (and maybe not even that good...one government agency was known for maintaining a site with an outdated edition of the Code of Federal Regulations). Since just about anybody can post anything to the Web, it is important to evaluate information found there with a critical eye. When evaluating web documents, look for the following information: the agency or organization maintaining the site, the person responsible for creating the site and the last revision date of the information. If you don't know the source of the information, take it with two grains of salt!

The researcher can be more secure when using a limited access database. These are usually produced by reputable publishers who exert editorial control over the contents and who are committed to keeping their product current. Licensing restrictions prohibit the Law Library from making these resources available to the public.

Comprehensive Legal Research Sites

Legal Search Engines

Compilations of Law Links

Primary Source Materials

Federal

The Constitution of the United States

Statutes

Publications of the Congress

  • CIS Universe      Access Limited to Washington University School of Law
  • From Thomas
  • From GPO Access
  • Historical: A Century of Lawmaking
    Includes records of the Constitutional Congress, the Constitutional Convention and ratification debates, and the first 24 federal congresses, 1774-1837. Includes the Journals of the Continental Congress, the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, and the Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (1787-1788); the Journals of the House of Representatives (1789-1821) and the Senate (1789-1821); and other historical materials.
    As of June 2000, these materials cover the period from 1774-1837. When the project is complete they will cover the period from 1774-1873.

Uniform Laws

Cases
  • Supreme Court Decisions (LII) 1990-
  • Supreme Court Decisions (Findlaw) 1893-
  • Supreme Court Decisions (FLITE) 1937 - 1975
  • U.S. Courts of Appeal

Administrative Codes

Missouri
  • Missouri Constitution
  • Missouri Revised Statutes
  • Missouri House and Senate Joint Bill Tracking
  • Missouri Cases (Missouri Judiciary homepage -- contains links to Missouri Supreme Court and Missouri Court of Appeal opinions, as well as other court and judicial information. Also contains information on Circuit Courts.)

    State Materials

State Legislatures, State Laws and State Regulations (courtesy the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.)

Court Rules - Federal and State Courts

Secondary Source Materials

Law Journals

Search for newspapers using

Legal Newspapers

Court TV Law Center

Government Resources

Federal

Missouri

Foreign and International Law

Compilations of Links

Primary & Secondary Sources

Miscellaneous

Missouri

Self-Help

Washington University Internet Research