Research Guides List | Databases List

Introduction
Legal research can be expensive. Subscriptions to the major legal databases are prohibitive to small firms and solo practitioners, and completely out of reach for individuals researching their own legal questions.

This guide presents a number of free sources of legal information, organized by catagory. It also includes some low-cost alternatives for attorneys seeking more frugal legal research tools.

In addition to the resources listed in this guide, visitors to the Wise Law Library have access to a number of expensive databases, many of which are listed on our database list, as well as an excellent collection of print resources. You can also get free research assistance by contacting a law librarian.
Low-Cost Legal Research Databases
Casemaker
Casemaker is a low-cost legal database, which includes cases, statutes, rules, forms, and other materials for members of bar associations that have joined the Casemaker Consortium, including the Colorado Bar Association. If you are a member of one other 25 bar associations that have agreements with Casemaker, you have access at no cost. In other states, there are low-cost plans available for attorneys.

Fastcase
Fastcase includes state and federal primary law, including cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions.  It also has more advanced finding aids than most free sources, and includes citation analysis.  It also has a newspaper archive and a collection of legal forms. Subscriptions start at $65 per month

Loislaw
Loislaw has state and federal primary law, as well as access to treatises and forms.

VersusLaw
VersusLaw is another low cost option for accessing state and federal primary law as well as some secondary material.  A distinguishing feature of this database is that it includes tribal law materials.
Case Law
Federal Digital System (FDsys)
The Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides government information in both text and PDF format. It includes U.S. bills, laws, congressional documents, the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations and thousands of other federal government publications. (Formerly GPO Access)


FindLaw Cases & Codes
Contains a listing of links to federal and state cases and codes on the Internet.


Google Scholar
Provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Sources include articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.

Justia
Justia provides free case law, codes, regulations and legal information, including federal dockets and filings.

PACER
Public Access to Court Electronic Records. Please see reference librarian for assistance.


Public Library of Law
This is a free sevice created by Fastcase with the intention to make searching the law easier.  It includes caselaw from the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals, decisions from state courts dating back to the late 90's, federal and state statutory law, and regulations.

United States Supreme Court

Cases can sometimes also be accessed directly from the relevant court's website.

You can find federal court websites in the USCourts.gov directory, and state court websites in the National Center for State Courts directory.
Statutes, Codes, and Constitutions
Congress.Gov - United States Legislative Information
Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public. It is presented by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC's Congressional Research Service. Congress.gov is usually updated the morning after a session adjourns. Consult Coverage Dates for Legislative Information for the specific update schedules and start date for each collection. Congressional documents from the first 100 years of the U.S. Congress (1774-1875) can be accessed through A Century of Lawmaking.


Cornell's Legal Information Institute
This collection is intended to make the law more available to the public.  It includes a wide variety of legal resources, such as the US Constitution, the US Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Rules, Select Supreme Court decisions, and many state resources as well.


Federal Digital System (FDsys)
The Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides government information in both text and PDF format. It includes U.S. bills, laws, congressional documents, the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations and thousands of other federal government publications. (Formerly GPO Access)


Founder's Constitution
Provides documents important to understanding the arguments made by the drafters of the Constitution, as well as the intellectual context of those arguments.  Includes debates, articles, and early judicial decisions, all keyed to the relevant clause of the Constitution.

Justia
Justia provides free case law, codes, regulations and legal information, including federal dockets and filings.

United States House of Representatives

 

Colorado

Colorado General Assembly
The General Assembly includes two legislative bodies: the House of Representatives and the Senate. With careful deliberation that involves public hearings and, at times, vigorous debate, the two chambers enact new laws and revise or abolish existing laws; draft and approve the state government’s annual budget; and oversee the various state departments that deliver services to the people of Colorado. This website includes the same searchable database that legislators use to find every bill introduced in the House or Senate over the last 15 years; other searchable databases for the Colorado Constitution and Colorado Revised Statutes, with laws dating back to the state’s founding in 1876; descriptions of the roles and activities of the legislative committees that scrutinize every bill; contact information for state legislators and maps of their districts; and information for visitors to the State Capitol in Denver.

Colorado Local Government Codes
From Municode.

For detailed information on researching Colorado administrative law, including free resources, please see our guide on Colorado Administrative Law Research.
Legislative History
American Memory
American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.  Most of the documents in these collections are from early American history, and are primarily useful for historical research. Of particular interest to those conducting legal research are collections like US Congressional Documents and Debates from 1774-1875, and the Bills and Resolutions.


Congress.Gov - United States Legislative Information
Bills, reports, debates

Federal Digital System (FDsys)
Bills, hearings, reports, debates.
Administrative Law
Code of Federal Regulations
Provided by Cornell's Legal Information Institute


Cornell's Legal Information Institute
This collection is intended to make the law more available to the public.  It includes a wide variety of legal resources, such as the US Constitution, the US Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Rules, Select Supreme Court decisions, and many state resources as well.


‚ÄčElectronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR)
The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a currently updated version of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). It is not an official legal edition of the CFR. The e-CFR is an editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office. The OFR updates the material in the e-CFR on a daily basis. The current update status appears at the top of all e-CFR web pages.


Federal Digital System (FDsys)
The Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides government information in both text and PDF format. It includes U.S. bills, laws, congressional documents, the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations and thousands of other federal government publications. (Formerly GPO Access)

Justia
Justia provides free case law, codes, regulations and legal information, including federal dockets and filings.


Regulations.gov
Submit your comments on proposed regulations and related documents published by the U.S. Federal government. You can also use this site to search and review original regulatory documents as well as comments submitted by others.
 

Colorado

Code of Colorado Regulations
The Secretary of State compiles and publishes the administrative rules of the executive agencies of the state of Colorado in the Code of Colorado Regulations. The official Code and Register published pursuant to § 24-4-103(11), C.R.S., can be accessed from this website. Notices of rulemaking, proposed rules, new and amended rules, and Attorney General rules opinions are published monthly in the companion publication, the Colorado Register.


Colorado Code of Regulations by Agency/Department

 
Secondary Sources
ABA Journal
Features breaking legal news, analysis from thousands of legal blogs, and investigative legal journalism.  Issues are available back to 2004.

ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
This free search engine searches the free full-text of over 400 online law reviews and law journals, as well as document repositories hosting academic papers and related publications such as Congressional Research Service reports.

Cornell's Legal Information Institute
This collection is intended to make the law more available to the public.  It includes a wide variety of legal resources, such as the US Constitution, the US Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Rules, Select Supreme Court decisions, and many state resources as well.


Google Scholar
Provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Sources include articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.

IngentaConnect
Full text or table of contents (depending on subscription) - academic and professional research journals


JSTOR
Offers hundreds of top journals in humanities, business and social science in page-image format. Coverage varies by journal, but begins with volume 1 and covers through about 5 years ago.

Law.com Dictionary
This dictionary provides accurate and understandable definitions for technical legal terms.

Nolo.com
NOLO is a publishing company whose mission is to create and publicize legal resources that are easily understood by people without legal training.  They create books, software, and a website of legal information.  Their website includes a free encyclopedia of the law.


Oyez.org
The Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. The Project also provides authoritative information on all justices and offers a virtual reality Tour of portions of the Supreme Court building, including the chambers of some of the justices.

SSRN Legal Scholarship Network
The Social Science Research Network includes abstracts and articles that have been submitted for publication

WEX
Cornell's Legal Information Institute's community-built, freely available legal dictionary and legal encyclopedia.
Subject Specialist
Key to Icons

Restricted Resource = Restricted resource
Some full text available = Some full text
openURL = OpenURL enabled

Resource contains images = Images
Resource contains video = Video files
Resource contains audio = Audio files