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Judicial Externship Legal Research Sources & Information

For Judicial Externs

Legal Research Websites

Looking for a Particular Fact Pattern?

  • American Law Reports (ALR) annotations can be gold mines of information. See especially ALR Federal and ALR Federal 2d Series. 
    • Lexis Advance and Westlaw (more complete on Westlaw).

Looking for a law review articles?

  • Start with GOOGLE SCHOLAR, but you may want to fine tune your results with a periodical index such Legal Resource Index (LRI) on Westlaw  or Index to Legal Periodicals & Books Full Text (ILP), which is now part of EBSCO Legal Collection, instead of or in addition to searching full-text law review articles on Lexis Advance  & Westlaw.
  • Index by subject, so you will find articles that lack the keywords you used in a full-text search.
  • Index searches may yield fewer but more relevant lists of article—more precise results.
  • Install & connect to Case VPN to use most Case Law Library database subscriptions.
  • Check the “terms of use” links on subscriptions to determine if you may use for academic purposes only.

​Federal Statutes?

  • U.S.C. = United States Code (official, but not timely). Used primarily for citation purposes, not for research.
  • U.S.C.A. = United States Code Annotated (unofficial; includes references to cases). Westlaw. 

  • U.S.C.S. =  United States Code Service (unofficial; includes references to cases). Lexis Advance.

    Update print U.S.C.A. & U.S.C.S. using pocket parts and supplements.  Lexis and Westlaw online are updated automatically. Check the currentness of the code section you are using online.

Federal Regulations Research?

  • See the following Case Western Reserve Law Library Research Guide:
    • Federal Regulation Research
    • Reminder: Federal Regulations Abbreviations & Information
      • CFR = Code of Federal Regulations.
      • FR or Fed. Reg. = Federal Register. Published daily; updates the CFR.
      • LSA = List of CFR Sections Affected. Use the LSA to find FR updates to specific CFR sections.
      • Proposed & final regs in the Federal Register often include have preambles with useful background information.

Need Proposed, Amended or New Federal Court Rules?

  • United States Courts website:  Federal Rules of Practice & Procedure.
  • Appear in advance sheets of:
    • Supreme Court Reporter
    • Federal Reporter 3d
    • Federal Supplement
    • Federal Rules Decisions
    • United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.)

Constitution of the United States Research 

  • CRS Annotated Constitution
  • Includes analysis and interpretation of the Constitution and annotations of cases decided by the U. S. Supreme Court through August 26, 2017.
  • This version of the Constitution is a useful starting place for constitutional research. 

Model Federal Jury Instructions (forthcoming) 


Legislative Histories

  • SOURCES OF COMPILED LEGISLATIVE HISTORIES  database on HeinOnline:  based on  the looseleaf publication Nancy P. Johnson, Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories: A Bibliography of Government Documents, Periodical Articles, and Books.
    • All compilations for major laws are included in the database with some minor exceptions.
    • The sources for these compilations include congressional documents, legal periodicals, treatises and looseleaf services.
  • Rick McKinney, Commercial Legislative Histories of U.S. Laws on the Internet (
    • This list includes those of Westlaw, Lexis Advance and HeinOnline. 
    • It also links to free Legislative Histories of Selected U.S. Laws on the Internet.

If there is no pre-compiled legislative history for your statute, you may want to use a research guide to walk you through the process. Check the CWRU Law Libraries research guides.

  • You may be able to find a list of all the elements of your particular law by using the Legislative Histories, Bills & Laws feature of the ProQuest Legislative Insight subscription database.
    • ProQuest Legislative Insight is the research database to provide information about the elements of a legislative history on a specific act, if a pre-compiled list is not already available in the sources listed above.
    • ProQuest Congressional
    • ProQuest Congressional Hearings
    • ProQuest Regulatory Insight (new)

When all else fails and you cannot find current information about resources you need to use, try:

  • Zimmerman’s Research Guide
    • Search this link in the Wayback Machine search box:
    • When all else fails, it offers information about legal resources and research techniques.
    • Quick guides to legal research sources and techniques.  Formerly sponsored by Lexis.  See, for example, the topics “Bankruptcy,” or “Judges.”
    • The author ceased to update it.  
    • It will identify sources to use & get you started but has a lot of broken links for resources now. (Use Google to find new links, etc.).