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Legal Research Guide

Guides to Legal Research



See also the sources listed in the Overview of Legal Research: Legal Process that give an overview of the federal and California legislative, judicial and administrative process.


  • Federal Regulatory Directory (Congressional Quarterly) Biennial (ref KF 5408 A15 F4) Comprehensive guide to federal regulatory agencies. Includes laws under which agencies derive their regulatory responsibilities.
  • United States Government Manual (National Archives and Records Administration) Annual (print copy available in ref JK 421 A3) Directory of federal agencies. Entries include a short description of responsibilities, agency officials and contacts, reference to legislative acts which established an agency, and references to organizational statements in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Internet Guides

Legal Citation and Abbreviations


Encyclopedias and Treatises

  • American Jurisprudence 2d (LexisNexis Academic/Lawyers' Cooperative Publishing Company) Search by keyword or browse alphabetically by article title (HSU Users Only) One of two major scholarly legal encyclopedias on American law--state, federal, criminal, civil and procedural. The 430 articles collect, examine, and sumarize the broad principles of American law and provide direct leads to supporting cases, related annotations, forms, proofs, and trial techniques.
  • Corpus Juris Secundum (West Group) 1998, with pocket supplements (KF 154 C6) One of two major scholarly legal encyclopedias that explain legal principles and doctrine that apply throughout the United States. The source and focus is almost exclusively on case law. Statutes and regulations and historical interpretations are seldom included. Published in over 150 volumes and includes over 450 individual articles. Includes separate indexes for all cited cases, rules and regulations. A Table of Contents for the volumes is available.
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (Levy and Karst) 2000 (6 volumes) (ref KF 4548 E53 2000)
  • Summary of California Law (Witkin) 2005, with pocket supplements (ref KFC 80 W5 2005) 16 volume treatise that represents a summary statement of California law. Includes references to statutory and case law, law reviews, and other secondary sources.
  • Free Legal Articles and FAQs (Nolo Press)
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (HSU Users Only) (Batten) 2011. Explains legal terms and concepts in everyday language through nearly 5,000 entries devoted to terms, concepts, events, movements, cases, and persons significant to U.S. law.
  • Major Acts of Congress (Landsberg) 2004 (HSU users only) Encyclopedia that includes articles on major acts of Congress.
  • Oxford Companion to American Law (Hall and Clark) 2002 (ref KF 154 O96 2002)
  • WEX (Cornell Law School. Legal Information Institute) Collaboratively-edited legal dictionary and encyclopedia intended for "law novices". Includes definitions from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. Many encyclopedia entries include a "Resources' tab to statutes, regulations, judicial decisions, key Internet resources and important secondary sources.