FREE/LOW-COST LEGAL RESEARCH DATABASES
Check with your local libraries (public and/or academic) for their subscription database services. Many Oregon county law libraries provide free access to legal research databases. Researchers whose own public libraries do not offer the databases needed can find libraries in other communities that allow non-residents to apply for membership for a nominal fee and then have access to databases. One of the most popular of those is the New York Public Library, but other libraries offer similar fee-based research services to non-residents.
The first part of this guide provides an overview and links to different types of free materials and the second part summarizes the features and costs of less expensive databases.
HeinOnline is a specialized legal research database. Remote access is free for anyone with a public library card from any Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) member library. To access the database with your library card visit the WCCLS HeinOnline page; or link to WCCLS and under Research, find Resources by Category and click on the Law and Government link; follow the instructions there to log onto HeinOnline.
(Residents who live in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Hood River counties in Oregon, or reside in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District or the City of Camas in Washington, may obtain a WCCLS library card without paying a non-resident fee. Call your local public library for more details.)
Fastcase is a legal research database that allows users to search through cases, statutes, and regulations. The State of Oregon Law Library has made it available to Oregon residents at no charge - Oregon residents get access to Oregon law, neighboring states, and related federal law. Visit the State Law Library's Fastcase page for more information.
The Library of Congress THOMAS site is the source for federal legislative information. THOMAS provides several options for finding bills, resolutions, and legislative histories from 1973 to the present. THOMAS is also the source for presidential nominations, treaties, committee reports, and other legislative resources.
This guide describes three low-cost online legal services that are available to current UW School of Law students and faculty and that may be available to other legal researchers.
LEGAL RESEARCH GUIDES
Find databases and research guides by name, description, or topic.
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information.
This resource explains legal research, legal citations, and legal citators, for people who are not law librarians. Written by the law librarians of the Southern California Association of Law Libraries, it foucses on California law and resources. But the underlying information on legal research is helpful to anyone, as is the chapter on federal law. Scroll down past the newsletters to find "Locating the Law."
OTHER LEGAL RESEARCH AND REFERENCE RESOURCES:
CataLaw is the catalog of catalogs of worldwide law on the Internet. It aids legal research by arranging all indexes of law and government into a uniform, universal and unique metaindex.
Findlaw provides legal information, lawyer profiles and a community to help you make the best legal decisions.
Law news and legal research in real-time, reported and edited by law students and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Oregon's statewide digital reference service where librarians are available 24/7 for both legal and non-legal reference questions via chat, text, and email.
Nolo is a self-help legal publisher committed to making legal information accessible to all. Their site gives access to high-quality books, software, legal forms, an online lawyer directory, articles, and other kinds of free legal information.
The State of Oregon Law Library provides access to Nolo books online for Oregon residents. Visit the State Law Library's Nolo page for more information.