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Brief Guide to Low-/No-Cost American Legal Research: Home

This guide provides a brief introductory and explanatory overview of resources for low- and no-cost (i.e., free) legal research, online, focusing on United States/American law.


The purpose of this guide is to provide a brief introduction to and explanation of resources for low- and no-cost (i.e., free) online legal research, with the focus upon United States/American law.

The guide is organized according to a common dichotomy of legal resources/materials (please see here and here for two explanations) into: 

  1. Primary sources/authorities
    - Judicial (cases, dockets, rules of court)
    - Court & related websites
    - Legislative (constitutions, statutes, ordinances, legislative history)
    - Administrative (agency rules, regulations, decisions) materials
  2. Secondary sources/authorities
    - Explanations of "The Law"
    - Research Guides & Copyright-related

Please note that it is the intent of this guide to refer and link to as many free (i.e., no-cost) online resources/materials as possible.

For more information on the subject matter of the guide, or to try and seek answers to any questions that may arise, please call or chat or email the Robert Crown Law Library Reference Desk at (650) 725-0800 or