Finding State Law Resources
Researchers looking for state law materials from states outside their own state are often faced with certain practical difficulties. The first is that no library can maintain print materials for every state. The second is that sometimes even in the highly digitized world of online research, you still need to see a resource the way it appears or appeared in print. The reasons are varied:
- Getting the page citations correct
- Viewing a photograph that appeared in an article
- Reading information from an accompanying graph or other graphic
Traditional online research services are not at a point where they fill these gaps consistently. They also do not always provide the depth of historical coverage that a researcher might need.
So where does a researcher go when these materials are not available in their library? One excellent resource is HeinOnline.
HeinOnline provides many types of state materials in a searchable image-based (pdf) format. Some materials are current. Other materials are for those times when you need historical research. Among the many types of primary state materials available are:
- State Session Laws, includes session laws of all 50 U.S. DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. All states are current within 60 days of the printed publication, and all states are available back to inception.
- State Statutes: Historical Archive, includes superseded state statutes for all fifty states, DC, and Puerto Rico.
- State Reports: Historical Archive, includes a listing of all the reporters for each state, DC, and Puerto Rico, with links to selected reporters. Availability of full-text varies by state.
- State Attorney General Reports and Opinions, includes all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Do you need help identifying the best primary resources on an issue? HeinOnline does not neglect state specific secondary sources for research.
- Bar Journals, more than 125 state and local bar journals are available to search by subject, citation, or browse by journal title/state.
- National Survey of State Laws, a database providing a comparison information on a state-by-state basis for many of the most prevalent and topical state legal issues. The information is presented in a chart format.
- Subject Compilations of State Laws, subject organized database compiling references to articles with extensive discussion comparing multiple state’s laws.