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Free Legal Resources: Home

Introduction

In addition to subscription databases there are also many quality free resources available online. Free resources can be an excellent source but free sites often have limitations. For example, a statute on WestlawNext or LexisAdvance will contain links to cases, regulations and unique secondary sources. The same statute on a free site will not have links to additional material.

Cornell Information Institute

Cornell’s website offers an extensive library of state and federal material. Be sure to check the date of material. For example the Code of Federal Regulations is available free but it may be updated by the Federal Register.  

Free resources include:

Federal Statutes – unannotated United States Code. Great for finding a citation but does not contain links to cases, regulations or other resources.

State Statutes (organized by topic)

Topical Guides – large library with short guides on many common legal issues

Uniform Commercial Code (without comments)

Google Scholar and Google Books

Many free sources are archived in Google Scholar and Google Books. Additionally many books will have limited free previews – not enough to read a chapter but perhaps enough to confirm a citation or start a search. Additionally, Google Scholar will recognize your IP address when on campus and provide access to (some of) our subscription databases. As with all Google search products be sure to check out the Advanced Search options to limit your search by author, title, year and more.


Google Scholar

Librarian Help

UNH Law

Librarians are available to help throughout the semester. Stop by the library to take advantage of our open-door ready-to-serve librarian expertise or feel free to send an email. 

Law Library of Congress

Email and phone reference is also available here. Remember that librarians answering this service will not be familiar with specific resources available at UNH Law.

Government Information Online (GIO)

Email and online chat reference regarding government documents is available here. “Government information librarians with a specialized knowledge of agency information dissemination practices -- as well as expertise in how to use government information products, resources and or publications -- answer all the questions submitted to GIO.”

Brought To You By:

Tom Hemstock, Electronic Services Librarian

Luke Collins, Library Intern

Congress.gov

Congress.gov (replacing Thomas.gov) is the best free resource for finding federal bills and recent legislative history material.

It contains:
  • Bills
  • Full text from 1989 – Present
  • Summaries from 1973 – Present
  • And many other resources such as links to House and Senate Reports.

Detailed information on how to conduct federal legislative history research is available here.

FDsys.gov

Many electronic documents are available on the US Government Printing Office Site at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/. In particular the eCFR is an excellent resource that is competitive with commercial publications although it is not the official version. 

The eCFR combines the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with the latest updates from the Federal Register. The eCFR is generally more up to date than either the CFR on Westlaw or LexisNexis. However, it does not have links to other sources like Westlaw/LexisNexis. As noted, above it is not the official version (see below).

Traditional CFR and FR

FDsys also contains the traditional CFR and FR in PDF format.

Searching is possible but often clumsy. The USC on FDsys works best when you can browse or input a specific citation.

Other Information

There is a surprisingly large amount of information on  FDsys. For example, previous budgets are available along with multiple mobile apps.