Legal Research at FC Library

4 sources of law, from the 3 branches of government

Constitutional Law
U.S. Constitution

Hard copy: call# REF KF 62 1927 .W45 (1st volumes)

LexisNexis > Source Directory: Search (in top right menu) > Constitutions The U.S. Constitution w/ annotations 

CA Constitution

Hard copy: Call# REF KFC 30.5 .D4 C665

LexisNexis > Source Directory: Browse (in top right menu) > Keyword: united states + Publication type: Constitutions

CA Legislative Info: State Constitution

Court-Made or Common Law
Cases from the courts of the Judicial Branch
Federal Cases

LexisNexis > Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: Federal and State Cases

West’s Supreme Court Reporter: Call# REF KF 101 .S9 (updated until mid-2011)

Shepard’s United States Citations: Call# REF KF 101.2 .S54 (updated until mid-2011) and searchable in LexisNexis (Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: Shepard’s Citations) 

State Cases

LexisNexis > Search by Subject of Topic > Legal: Federal and State Cases

California Appellate Reporter – Call# REF KFC 48 .A212 (kept current)

West’s California Reporter – Call# REF KFC 47 .C32 (updated until mid-2011)

West’s California Digest – Call# REF KFC 57 .W47 (kept current)

Shepard’s California Citations: Call# REF KFC 39 .S53 2009 (updated until mid-2011) and searchable in LexisNexis (Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: Shepard’s Citations)

Statutory Law
Statutes & Codes from the Legislative Branch
Federal Codes

U.S. Codes Annotated (USCA): call# REF KF62 1927.W45 (updated until mid-2011)

LexisNexis: Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: Federal Statutes and Regulations 

California Codes

Deering’s Annotated California Codes: Call# REF KFC 30.5 .D4 Z6 (updated until 2012)

CA Legislative Info: Find California Codes

LexisNexis: Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: State Statutes and Regulations

Administrative Law
Regulations from the Executive Branch
Federal Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations (U.S. Gov’t Printing Office)

LexisNexis: Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: Federal Statutes and Regulations 

State Regulations

California Code of Regulations (CA Office of Administrative Law)

LexisNexis: Search by Subject or Topic > Legal: State Statutes and Regulations

Works that describe and define the law.


Identify and define appropriate terms, synonyms, and antonyms to use when searching an index.

Black’s Law Dictionary – Call# REF KF 156 .B53

Burton’s Legal Thesaurus – Call# REF KF 156 .B856

LexisNexis > Search by Subject or Topic > Legal Reference

Treatises and Hornbooks

Commentary and examinations of legal subjects.

Witkin’s Summary of California Law – Call# REF KFC 80 .W5 

Nutshell Series – Search catalog for keyword “nutshell series” & sort by title

Hornbook Series – Search catalog “hornbook series” & sort by title

Legal Encyclopedias

Find relevant cases on a subject.
Federal Cases

Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) – Call# REF KF 154 .C56 (updated until mid-2011)

American Jurisprudence (AmJur) – LexisNexis > Source Directory: Find > Keyword: American Jurisprudence

State Cases

West’s California Jurisprudence (CalJur) – Call# REF KFC 80 .C29

Practice Guides and Jury Instructions

Practice Guides:

Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Materials: 2-hour loan at the Reserve Desk (under instructor Dayton)

CA Forms of Pleading and Practice – Call# REF KFC 1010 .A65 C3

Jury Instructions:

California Jury Instructions, Civil (CACI or BAJI) – Call# REF KFC 1047 .A65 C35

Print and eBooks

Search the Library Catalog for print and ebooks.

Search for Books by Subject:

From > Catalog > Basic Search > change Keyword to Subject Browse (pure).

Administrative Law – search: [administrative law united states]

Constitutional Law – search: [constitutional law united states]

Court-Made Law – search: [united states supreme court]

Legal Research – search: [legal research united states]

Vocational Guidance – search:

[legal assistants vocational guidance united states]

[legal assistants united states periodicals]

[law enforcement vocational guidance united states]

[civil service positions united states]

[police recruiting united states]

[criminal investigation vocational guidance]

[forensic sciences vocational guidance]

Personal Legal Research Titles:

101 Law Forms for Personal Use – KF170.L46 2009

Finding the Answers to Legal Questions: A How-To-Do-It-Manual  –  KF240 .T83 2011

Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law – KF242.A1 .E43 2015

Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law: Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions – KF387 .N65 2011

Law Reviews & Journals
LexisNexis Academic: Search by Subject or Topic: Legal: Law Reviews
EBSCOhost: EBSCOhost Web: Academic Search Premier: Search: [california law review – SO journal name] or [harvard law review – SO journal name]

Digital Commons Network: Access free, full-text law review articles and legal scholarship

Citing Legal Sources

Bluebook: A Uniform System of CitationsREF KF245 .B58 2005

CITEus LEGALus (free online citation generator)

Free Online Legal Resources


Casetext: Upload any brief or memo, and CARA searches federal and state law to find relevant cases.

FindLaw: Free access to articles on a variety of legal topics, from criminal law to tax law. Articles direct readers to important laws and cases on each subject.

Justia: Open access database of legal resources for all 50 states.

Legal Information Institute (LII): Open access database of Supreme Court cases, the U.S. code, and the Code of Federal Regulations.

Oyez: A free multimedia archive devoted to making the Supreme Court of the U.S. accessible to everyone. Get CliffNotes version of cases, with summary of facts, the essential questions being asked, a synopsis or the decision, and how each justice voted.

Ravel Law: Provides detailed maps of case law with the most important cases in larger circles and lines connecting them to smaller cases (in smaller circles).


Legiscan: Free database monitoring current legislation in all 50 states and the U.S. Congress. Register for a free account to track currently debated bills in California or the U.S.

Open States: Provides an overview of new and pending legislation in all 50 states. Use interactive map to discover bills under consideration by local legislators. Search for legislators and view who contributed to their campaign.


Municode: Over 3,200 municipal codes available for free in the Municode Library.


Sources and text from: Almeida, J. (December 2016). Cases, statutes, law review, and more. C&RL News, 563-65.