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Legal Research for Law Students: Your First Cite Check & Research Paper

So, your first-year classes are giving you a basic understanding of how law is made; now, how do you find it? This guide is a brief introduction to the sources of law you may be researching and how to access them.

How do I find ...

Here is a guide to finding books, articles, PDFs, and the rules for citing them for your first cite check. If you're stuck on a source, come see or email us at the Reference Desk. We're also here to help you map out a research plan and find sources for your research papers. 

Books

Use Virgo, the U.Va. Libraries catalog, to find materials here at U.Va.

Book not at UVA?

Make an interlibrary loan request for books & PDFs of book chapters and articles. Indicate on the form that your request is for a Law cite check.

Book at another UVA Library?

Our Student Delivery Service picks up books, journal volumes, and microfilm from UVA libraries and delivers them here for you.

Make a SDS request

Congressional Documents

ProQuest Congressional

Our most comprehensive source for committee reports and hearings, the Congressional Record, and bills.

Search PQ Congressional

HeinOnline Congressional Record & predecessors, 1789 to present

Search the Cong. Rec. on HeinOnline

FDSys

Reports, 1995 to present; Hearings, 1985 to present; Bills, 1993 to present

Go to FDSys

Cases, U.S. Code, & Regulations

HeinOnline Supreme Court cases, U.S. Code, Statutes-at-Large, CFR, Federal Register

Search HeinOnline

Westlaw for Cases

Search Westlaw (password required)

Newspapers & Journal Articles

Old news articles

ProQuest Historical Newspapers has the Chicago Tribune (149-1988), LA Times (1881-1988), NY Times (1851-2008), Wall Street Journal (1889-1994), and Washington Post (1877-1995).

Search PQ Historical Newspapers

Recent news articles

Alderman has NY Times & Washington Post on microform; Darden has WSJ. Use our Journal Finder to locate other newspapers at U.Va.

Go to U.Va. Libraries Newspaper Guide

Journal articles

HeinOnline has PDFs of law journal articles. Use our Journal Finder to locate non-law journals
Go to Journal Finder to search by journal title or article citation

How do I find...?

Hover over or click on the circles below to find books, articles, PDFs, and the rules for citing them for your first cite check. If you're stuck on a source, come see or email us at the Reference Desk. We're also here to help you map out a research plan and find sources for your research papers. 

Navigating The Bluebook

Bluebook aids in the Law Library

Copies of The Bluebook are also available in the Reserve Room. It's a good idea to get to know the Bluebook in print first, to understand the different types of citation rules. Once you're familiar with the rules, it is convenient to be able to access them online - students can click here to request an access key for the Bluebook Online (http://www.legalbluebook.com).