Law Library Stacks

The guides listed below can help you begin a legal research project by offering quick techniques and a selection of legal resources and tools.  Each guide is prepared by a legal specialist from the Law Library of Congress.

Administrative Law Guide

Administrative law, commonly called regulatory law, is created and enforced by an administrative body; e.g., the Department of Labor, the Federal Communications Commission, or the President.  This guide provides techniques and recommended resources to help get you started in this area of law.

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Beginner’s Guides to Legal Research

If you are working in an unfamiliar area of law, and do not know where to begin, our Beginner’s Guide series gives you a great selection of treatises, cases, statutes, and regulations to jump-start your research project.

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Federal Legislative History: Initial Steps

Provides a basic outline of resources to consult when first researching a federal legislative history. Materials such as bills, committee hearings, committee reports, congressional debate and other documents (e.g., committee prints or presidential messages) are covered.

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Foreign and International Law Guides

To provide a starting point for researching foreign, international, and comparative law, the Law Library of Congress has prepared guides to reference sources, compilations, citations guides, periodicals (indexes and databases), dictionaries, Web resources, free public websites, subscription-based services, subject-specific websites, and country overviews. 

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Researching Federal Statutes

Statutes are laws (or acts) enacted by legislatures. Statutes may be found by citation, popular name, or subject.  Use this overview to find statutes using various print and Web resources.

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Guide to Secondary Legal Resources

Secondary legal sources offer analyses, commentaries or restatements of primary law. Sources such as legal encyclopedias, annotated law reports, legal periodicals, treaties, and restatements are covered.

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Researching Judicial Decisions

In the American legal system, judicial decisions are primary sources of law, in addition to the Constitution, statutes, and regulations.  Learn how to find federal and state judicial decisions by citation or subject.

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Last Updated: 06/09/2015