Skip to Main Content

Guide to Basic Legal Research

Legal reference assistance DOES NOT equal legal advice. Advice can only be obtained from a licensed attorney.

Special Note

Legal reference assistance DOES NOT equal legal advice.  Advice can only be obtained from a licensed attorney.

United States Code

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 53 titles.

It is available on multiple websites:

HeinOnline - Offers older editions of the US Code if you are interested in following the development of specific topics through the 20th century.  It is also possible to search individual laws one at a time using the Statutes at Large section of the database.  It allows you to search by Public Law number or the popular name of the law. 1994 edition to present


United States Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules created by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.

It is full-text in multiple online databases:

HeinOnline - 1938 - present 1996 - present

United States Courts

Court Cases

Court cases are best searched on the home page for the individual court. 

US Supreme Court - The Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. The Court stands as the final arbiter of the law and guardian of constitutional liberties.

US Federal Courts - United States Courts Opinions (USCOURTS) collection is a project between the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) to provide public access to opinions from selected United States appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. The content of this collection dates back to April 2004, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete for this earlier time period. Once an opinion is located, all associated opinions within the same case can be accessed from the opinion

(Courts for individual states are best access from the state homepage.  All state homepages are linked from )