Legal Research Sources

You’ve probably found that LexisNexis and Westlaw can fulfill many of your school-related online legal research needs. When you don’t have access to these sites (during the summer or after graduation), or they don’t have what you’re searching for, the following ten websites—five free and five subscription-only—can prove helpful.

Free Sites

Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

This excellent starting point for Massachusetts legal research includes numerous research guides on Massachusetts law, links to primary source materials such as Massachusetts city and town bylaws, and (with free membership) remote access to HeinOnline. Many of these libraries also offer free onsite access to LexisNexis and Westlaw.

Google Scholar

Contents include state appellate and supreme court cases since 1950, federal cases since 1923, and Supreme Court cases from 1791.

Public Library of Law

Search cases from the U.S. Supreme Court (1791–present), U.S. Courts of Appeals (generally 1950–present), and state appellate courts (1997–present). Follow links to federal and state statutes, regulations, constitutions, and court rules.

Congress.gov (formerly Thomas)

This is a great source for federal legislative information, including Senate and House bills, reports, and debates.

GovInfo (formerly FDsys)

Another great source for federal legal research, this site also has executive resources like federal regulations and presidential documents.

 

Subscription Sites

Suffolk Law students can access these databases from both on and off campus from the Research Databases page.

Bloomberg Law

This resource has full-text federal and state cases and statutes; BCite citator tool for cases; sample forms and documents; federal and state court dockets; legal news and analysis; select books and treatises; topical practice centers; and advanced search features.

Fastcase

This resource offers online and app access to federal and state cases, statutes, regulations, and court rules, as well as bar publications. Additionally, Massachusetts Bar Association members receive free, unlimited access to Fastcase.

HeinOnline

Offers older materials not found in other databases, and every document is a PDF of the original. Features law review articles, federal administrative law (regulations and agency decisions) and legislative material (Congressional Record and legislative histories), English Reports, and more.

MCLE Library

Access more than 150 titles on Massachusetts law that provide expert analysis with citations to primary sources and often include useful forms.

Social Law Library

Includes Massachusetts cases, statutes, regulations, and decisions of administrative agencies—which can be very difficult to find elsewhere.