Finding Legal Information (Federal and State Court Decisions, and Federal and State Statutes and Regulations)

Click on the links below to learn how to find federal and state court decisions and federal and state statutes and regulations, as well as certain other types of sources.


Finding federal and state court decisions

For legal cases where the court's decision was published, you can find the decision in the UMUC Library's Nexis Uni database.

To search by topic, click on the Cases link below the "What are you interested in?" heading on the database's home page and then enter the term(s) of interest into the search box below the "...about" heading, as shown in the image below. Note that you can also limit your search by jurisdiction (federal or state) and/or by date.

To search by citation, party name, or docket number, click on the Get a Doc Assistance link below the search box on the database's home page, as shown in the image below.

You can then look up cases by citation, by party name, or by docket number, as shown in the image below.

To read the text of any decision from your search results list, click on the source's title, which will be in blue font, as shown in the image below.

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Finding federal statutes and regulations

You can find federal statutes and regulations in the UMUC Library's Nexis Uni database.

First, click on the Get a Doc Assistance link below the search box on the database's home page, as shown in the image below.

Next, use the drop-down menu under the "Content Type" heading on the "By Citation" tab to select Statutes and Legislation, as shown in the image below. Note that you may also make a selection from the sub-menu below the Statutes and Legislation heading to go directly to the search page for a particular type of document (statutory code, constitution, etc.).

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Finding state statutes and regulations

You can find state statutes and regulations in the in the UMUC Library's Nexis Uni database by following the steps listed above for finding federal statutes and regulations.

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Finding newspaper articles about legal topics

You can use UMUC Library databases such as Nexis Uni (click on the News link below the "What are you interested in?" heading on the database's home page), ProQuest News & Newspapers, and Factiva to search for information about court cases or about federal or state statutes or regulations. Use the links provided in the previous sentence or see the General tips for accessing UMUC Library databases section of this page for information about how to access these databases.

You can find information about legal cases by searching for the names of the parties involved. For example, to find information about the Kasky v. Nike case, search for kasky AND nike. Note that you may need to adjust the dates for your search since some databases -- Factiva, for example -- have a fairly recent time period as the default setting.

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Finding law review articles about legal topics

To find law review articles about legal cases or about federal or state statutes or regulations, etc., go to the UMUC Library's Nexis Uni database and click on the Law Reviews link below the "What are you interested in?" heading on the database's home page and then enter the term(s) of interest into the search box below the "Search in all Law Reviews for" heading. Note that you can also limit your search results by date.

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Finding journal articles about legal topics

You may want to look at the recommended databases in the Library's Research Guide for Legal Studies and/or at the database descriptions on the Databases by Title page to select appropriate databases to use for finding journal articles that contain information about legal topics.

Good databases to try include Academic Search Complete and Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text.

You may also be able to find information about legal cases, statutes, and regulations that have affected businesses by searching business databases such as Business Source Complete, ABI/INFORM Complete, and Business Insights: Essentials.

Note that law review articles and newspaper articles will generally contain the most information about legal topics; you will generally find fewer articles about legal cases in other types of periodicals.

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Finding information about legal topics on the free Web

A large amount of information about legal topics can often be found on the free Web.

You can find information about legal cases by using a search engine such as Google or Bing and searching for the names of the parties involved. For example, to find information about the Kasky v. Nike case, search for kasky nike. (Google automatically inserts AND between search terms, so there's no need to type this Boolean operator.)

To find information about federal or state statutes or regulations, you can use a search engine to search by citation and/or by title. For example, to find information about what Subchapter 3 of Chapter 7 of Title 11 of the U.S. Code has to say about stockbroker liquidation, you could search for "subchapter 3" "chapter 7" "title 11" "stockbroker liquidation". (Note that you should put quotation marks around terms that consist of two or more words, so that the search engine will search for the words as a phrase -- that is, appearing together, and in the order given.)

Since there's no "gatekeeper" for the free Web, it is very important to carefully evaluate the information that you find there in order to confirm that it is reliable and suitable for use for graduate-level assignments. The library's brief Evaluating Web Sites video and its Is My Source Credible? web page can help you do this.

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General tips for accessing UMUC Library databases

One of the quickest and easiest ways to access a UMUC Library database is to follow the steps below:

  1. From the Library's home page, click on the Databases by Title (A-Z) link toward the center of the page.
  2. From the resulting page, click on the letter at the top of the page that corresponds with the first letter of the database that you want to access (for example, N for Nexis Uni).
  3. Scroll down to the name of the database that you want to access and click on its title.
  4. To log in to the database, enter your MyUMUC user name and your MyUMUC password.
  5. You will then be taken to the database's main search page, where you can begin your search.

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Questions?

If you have any questions that weren't answered on this page, please Ask a Librarian.


Created December 15, 2016; updated December 19, 2017