Document Type



Presented at the 2007 Starr Workshop, which took place at Cornell Law Library in October 2007.


This presentation on the basics of U.S. law offers a general outline of the fundamental sources of U.S. law. With a foundation in the three branches of government and the laws, court decisions, and regulations that flow from them, the speaker demonstrated free and fee-based electronic resources frequently used for legal research. The focus is on Westlaw, LexisNexis, PACER the Public Access to Court Electronic Records), GPOAccess, and the official U.S. Supreme Court web site. While the web has made it possible for universities, governments, courts, and others to put user-friendly law on the web for free, the most extensive databases and the most sophisticated searching are still from companies that charge for their services.

Date of Authorship for this Version

October 2007