Legal Research on the Web-Superceded
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.
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as good as the source (and maybe not even that good...one government agency was known for maintaining a site with an outdated edition of the Code of Federal Regulations).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.
- ABA's LawLink has links to many federal government sites, state and federal cases, legal associations, law schools, etc.
- FindLaw: Internet Legal Resources
The Constitution of the United States
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.
- Supreme Court Decisions (LII) 1990-
- Supreme Court Decisions (Findlaw) 1893-
- Supreme Court Decisions (FLITE) 1937 - 1975
- U.S. Courts of Appeal
- Search all Circuit Courts (Findlaw) or All Circuit Court Opinions on the Internet (Cornell)
- U.S. District Courts (Findlaw) or U.S. District Courts (Villanova)
- 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 Legislatures, State Laws and State Regulations (courtesy the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.)
Search for newspapers using
- Chicago Tribune
- International Herald Tribune
- New York Times
- POSTnet - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Washington Post
- CIS Universe (Access Limited to Washington University School of Law)
- Fed World Information Network
- GPO Access
- Library of Congress
- Thomas (Legislative Information on the Internet)
- TRAC- Syracuse University-sponsored site providing independent, and nonpartisan information on federal law enforcement by major federal agencies (DEA, IRS, FBI)
- Missouri Judiciary
- Missouri House of Representatives
- Missouri Senate
- Missouri State Government Home Page
- St. Louis City Ordinances
This site, which is maintained by the St. Louis Public Library, contains: the Charter of the City of St. Louis, Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, City Ordinances and the Board of Aldermen Minutes.
- Internet Chinese Legal Research Center
- Washburn's Foreign and International Law Web
- Yale Law School (International Law Page)
- Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington: Foreign and International Law
- International Law Index at FindLaw
- HIEROS GAMOS; Guide to International Law
- USC's Foreign Law Index
- Law Guru's International Law Links (originally the U.S. House of Representative's Internet Law Library)
- EU Resources Berkeley
- Europa Home page Official Server of the European Union
- European Union Official Texts
- United Nations
- World News Connection (Access Limited to Washington University School of Law)
- Missouri Bar Association Public Information page
- Consumer Law