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Legal Studies

Federal Materials

  • Start here to learn about the federal legislative process, and to the differences between the Congressional Record, committee hearings, committee reports, bills and laws:
  • Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioner's Guide to Compiling the Documents and Sifting for Legislative Intent
    • an in depth guide to finding federal legislative documents
    • Provides access to current legislative documents (and some executive branch ones) (dates range from ~1970s to present).  
  • Congressional Research Service Reports
  • The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a division of the Library of Congress that conducts research for the members of Congress. The CRS analysts compile and synthesize a great deal of information on a variety of policy issues into easy-to-read reports. CRS reports can be an excellent way to get acquainted with an area of law and are recognized as legitimate and highly credible sources for academic research.

State Materials

  • Northwestern Pritzker Legal Research Center’s guide to doing research in Illinois legislative materials
  • National Conference of State Legislatures 
    • Do a search by topic on their site or use the issues links on the right-hand side to find comparable laws across the states.
  • Subject Compilations of State Laws (via Hein Online)
    • Compiled by Cheryl Nyberg, reference librarian at the Gallagher Law Library of the University of Washington School of Law, this extensive bibliography provides an organized list of references obtained from thousands of sources that compare state laws, thus making it much easier to locate all state laws on a given topic.
  • National Survey of State Laws by Richard A. Leiter (Editor)
    • Call Number: Latest edition (2008) held in MAIN Reference L 348.73 N277
    • ISBN: 1414410506
    • Detroit: Gale Cengage, 1993-2008.
    • Earlier editions are held in MAIN Library stacks. Also available at Pritzker Legal Research Center Reference KF 386 .N38.
    • Helps you make quick state-by-state comparisons of laws for a range of relevant subjects. Divided into general legal categories, each law is described in general terms and is followed by detailed charts of each state's laws. Entries provide references to specific state code or statute.

Local/Municipal Materials

Head of Assessment and Planning

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Michael Perry
Subjects: Legal Studies