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Legal Research

Researching laws, statutes, regulations, and more from local city, county, state, and federal jurisdictions

About Legal Research

Researching legal materials is different from much other types of research. Now only does the law have its own language but also it's own way of organizing that information. This guide is intended for non-lawyers and non-law students to navigate legal research with the resources available at CSUDH. 

Three key bits of information to keep in mind is that 1) much of the law depends on its jurisdiction; 2) none of the information here is intended as legal advice; and 3) there are biases and other discrimination that happens in the law and legal research. To find out more about biases and discrimination in legal research, here are a few resources to get your started: 

Types of Legal Resources

There are many types of resources or literature that you can use for your legal research. Among the many types of resources, here are a few that might be relevant to your research: 

  • Articles: Much like articles in other disciplines, legal articles are commonly published by law schools or bar associations
  • Treatises: information on a single area of the law written by experts. Treatises can range from one- to multi-volume resources.
  • Reports or reporters: Also known as "decisions" or "cases", these are opinions written by the courts on how/why a decision was reached. 

Read more about the different types of resources from the American Association of Law Libraries.

How do I find... Legal Information

Preview of Searching for .gov Sources video.
Statistics and .Gov Sources

Searching in Google using to find government web pages and statistics.

Preview of Legal Sources video with scale surrounded by document, book, folder, clip board, and paper icons.
Legal Research

Find primary and secondary legal sources in WestLaw and Google Scholar.


CA Courts and Jurisdiction Maps

Flowchart of the structure of California's State Court System

The structure of California's state court system.

District Courts of Appeal Regional Map of California

District Courts of Appeal Regional Map of California

United States Court of Appeals map with all districts labeled

United States Court of Appeals