Helpful Legal Resources and Links
by John Bandler
This is a starting point for legal resources for myself and students. A research starting place to find laws, regulations, and cases.
When I teach law to non-lawyers this can help get them started. Your library and librarians will have additional insight, advice, and resources.
1. Starting points
1.1 Your course materials
If you are taking an academic course, your start point is always the materials listed in the course syllabus. The course syllabus includes many readings, perhaps a course book and many articles. Your research relates to your course, your course assigned materials relate to your course, so it is certain that some of those assigned materials relate to your topic. So read them first and see what the cite to and refer to. Thus course materials are your start point, but rarely your finish line.
Maybe you are taking one of my courses? Review the course book and syllabus and articles listed in the syllabus, and articles on this website. If I am teaching about it, I have probably written something about it that can get you started.
1.2 My articles are starting points on the law and other topics
My articles can be cited and they explain the law in a relatively simple and straightforward manner. Then, these articles refer to and link to specific statutes, regulations, cases, or writings by experts in the field. If you are new to law, you can start with my Introduction to Law.
My blog articles are necessarily short and concise and I do not pretend to be an expert in all things. So they are a start point but not your finish line. Think about and identify authoritative legal sources such as statutes, regulations, and case decisions that have strong precedent. Also think about secondary sources by experts in the field.
1.3 My books are starting points
Similarly, my books can be cited and they explain the law and practical applications. I put articles first because you are already on this website, and the articles are free and easily accessible. While I consider my articles accurate and helpful and a work of continual improvement, a published book is generally of higher reference authority than a website article. Still, my books are also merely starting point, since they cover miles of territory but usually not in extreme detail. So again, the books are starting points but not the end of your legal research. The book has references for additional information and resources. Relevant articles on this cite may have even more references and links to the statutes.
2. Open source search platforms (seeking reliable sources)
The Internet has great free information, if you know how to find reliable sites and use them properly to research. After you have completed the starting points (above) and branched out from there, you can consider:
- Google Scholar https://scholar.google.com/ (a great resource to search case law and legal articles)
- Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (a great resource about law, summaries of cases, but we need to understand limitations and not give it undue weight)
- Internet search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc.) and here you need to look for reliable, credible sources, continually assess and never blindly accept.
- See next section
3. Reliable open source (free) information on law
Cornell Law's Legal Information Institution (LII), an excellent legal reference
- U.S. Constitution, https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution
- U.S. Constitution Fourth Amendment, https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment
- Statutes https://www.law.cornell.edu/statutes
- Federal statutes - U.S. Code (USC) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text
- Federal regulations - US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp
- Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcrmp
- State laws https://www.law.cornell.edu/states/listing (will eventually link you to a state site)
- State regulations https://www.law.cornell.edu/regulations ("")
- Wex, their legal dictionary and legal encyclopedia https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex
- Wex articles on various legal topics https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/wex_articles
- Citation https://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/
NYS Penal Law (PL) (New York's criminal code, substantive criminal law)
NYS Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) (New York's law about the procedure of criminal arrests and prosecutions)
U.S. Department of Justice reference materials (e.g., re: cybercrime investigation)
- US DOJ: Searching & Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations (Third Edition, 2009). https://www.justice.gov/file/442111/download
- US DOJ: Prosecuting Computer Crimes (Second Edition, 2010?). https://www.justice.gov/criminal/file/442156/download
- US DOJ Justice Manual (JM) (formerly known as the US Attorneys’ Manual (USAM): https://www.justice.gov/usam
4. Your school's resources
If you are attending a school, do not forget the resources of your school, including the library, which has access to books, articles, academic databases, legal databases, subscription news sites, and librarians and experts in research. While there is considerable free reliable information on the Internet (see prior), there is also a lot of misinformation out there.
If you are enrolled in a school, take advantage of the school resources for research and scholarship, including materials that are not freely available on the Internet, and the individual and institutional expertise of the school for research.
Check your school's resources, if you are in one of my courses, see one of the below:
- John Jay library, https://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/
- Pace U. Law library, https://law.pace.edu/library (and use your access to paid legal research databases like Westlaw and Lexis)
- Pace U library, https://libguides.pace.edu/home
- Franciscan library, https://library.franciscan.edu/
This page, this website and my books get you started and point you to additional resources. It's just a start but not the finish line so be sure to expand your research. The usual disclaimers apply (e.g., this is not legal advice).
6. Additional reading
- Introduction to Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Contract Law
- Negligence Law
- Business Basics and Law
- How to Write a Paper
- Guide to Citations and References
- Helpful legal resources and links (this article)
- How to Learn and Study
- How to Take an Exam
- Students, Learning, and Teaching
- Cybersecurity Laws and Regulations 1
Copyright John Bandler, all rights reserved.
Posted 3/4/2022, updated 9/17/2022.