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Law & Legal


According to law, librarians cannot interpret the meaning of any of this material. We can provide instructions on how to use the resources listed only and are not a replacement for professional legal counsel. Please note that words in a legal context may have specific meanings not normally used in everyday life. While the statutes themselves provide many legal definitions, we also recommend using legal dictionaries.

Note: Only appellate and supreme court decisions are officially reported. Lower court cases may be reported by the media, but they can't be used as precedent.

Recommended Databases

Free Legal Websites

While the websites below are free, not all of the full text information linked on these sites is free. Please check Find a Specific Publication to see if the library owns the full text.

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Related Subjects

Westlaw & Lexis

Two commercial legal information databases, Westlaw and Lexis, provide excellent coverage but they are both proprietary and fairly expensive. The University Library does not have access to either system, but they may be available from your local county law library.

Other Resources

A major problem with court cases is that transcripts of the proceedings are not generally available in the various databases found in the University Library. You might be able to find something by searching the Internet but please note that you will need to review and evaluate any of the websites that you find.

Your best option may to be to go to the nearest local county law library or law school library. The law reference librarians will show you how to use law books and online tools to find cases.

For transcripts, look for local court reporting services. Many are now online through the state, county, or city government web pages on the courts.

Finally, some local bar associations have a program where they will put you in contact with an attorney who practices law in your area of interest and will talk to you and your needs for a short period of time at little or no cost.