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Legal Resources: Research Resources

Resources in the Library

NOLO Library

What it is:
NOLO titles cover topics ranging from divorce, estate planning, patents, copyright, to small business start-ups. Written in plain English, these are great reference books for do-it-yourself individuals who need insight on the various legal concerns surrounding their topic.

Why use it?
Great for gaining a birds-eye view of the various legal considerations of a topic. Each chapter of the book covers a specific sub-topic and provides external resources to consult as well as checklists for the reader.

Legal Databases

 
Legal Collection

What it is:
Database that provides full-text access to hundreds of law journals, trade publications and magazines.

Why use it?
This database is most helpful to an invested legal researcher, who is looking for more in-depth analysis of cases and court decisions.

 
Legal Forms

What it is:
Database that provides access to free legal forms, including those related to business, personal, litigation, and federal forms.

Why use it?
The search features of this database are cumbersome and can be confusing. There are Sample Court Cases for certain topics which group all of the completed forms of a previous case together, which can be useful to reference when filling out your own forms.

 
Legal Information Reference Center

What it is:
Up-to-date online editions of NOLO’s library of legal guides.

Why use it?
Great for gaining a birds-eye view of the various legal considerations of a topic. Each chapter of the book covers a specific sub-topic and provides external resources to consult as well as checklists for the reader.

Other Resources

TexasLawHelp.org

What it is:
This free resource provide basic legal information as well as court forms. Additionally, the Legal Help Finder, Legal Clinic Calendar, and online chat feature, allow individuals to locate local legal help. The site is also available in Spanish and provides access to some of the most common forms with the fields translated.

Why use it?
Perhaps most useful features are the toolkits provided on a variety of topics. These toolkits group together necessary forms along with checklists, FAQs and pertinent information on how to fill out and submit the forms. This site would be my first suggestion to any individual who is looking to locate a form and needs assistance with filling it out.

Texas State Law Library

What it is:
The law library for the state of Texas court system and the Office of the Attorney General, but the Texas State Law Library provides access to many legal resources for citizens of the state of Texas, as well. 

Why use it?
You can get access to legal e-books, legal databases (including Lexis and Westlaw), they have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Legal Questions), Research Guides by Topic (which gives legal codes, explanations in “plain English,” who you can contact for more assistance, and legal e-books that cover those topics), find legal forms and legal aid, and there are links to the Texas Constitution, Statutes, Administrative codes, Case law, Local ordinances, and Building codes on their website. 

Texas Constitution and Statutes

What it is:
This is the website where you can view the Texas Constitution and Texas Statutes. You can read them in Word, PDF, or HTML format. 

Why use it?
You can view the constitution and statutes as a whole or broken done into Articles, Chapters, and Sections. There is also a Quick Search tool at the top of the page. If you need to quickly reference a statute or the constitution this is the site to visit.

Cornell Law School

What it is:
The Cornell University Law School allows open access to their website to view the United States Codes. They also provide a Legal Dictionary/Encyclopedia for legal terms and topics. 

Why use it?
You can view the US Codes, and there are words and phrases in blue that have definitions pop up when you click on them. 

Cornell Law School: US Constitution

What it is:
The Cornell University Law School allows open access to their website to view the United States Codes. They also provide a Legal Dictionary/Encyclopedia for legal terms and topics. 

Why use it?
You can read the full US Constitution, and each part of the constitution has an Explanation link next to it. You can click on this link to learn more about each part of the constitution (these contain explanations, summaries, and history).

Waco Code of Ordinances

What it is:
This website contains a list of all of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Waco, Texas.

Why use it?
You can search the ordinances by the main chapters, which are in alphabetical order, or you can use the search box at the top of the screen to find specific ordinances. You can also sign up to be notified of new ordinances or changes in ordinances. You can also download articles and sections into a Word document or print them. 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

What it is:
Has 49 different titles of raw legal information at the federal level.  Some sections are 10 CFR Energy (dealing with nuclear power plants), 40 CFR Protection of Environment (dealing with EPA, hazardous chemical spills, etc), and 49 CFR Transportation (moving aforementioned hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials), Grants and Agreements (2 CFR), Agriculture (7 CFR), Food and Drugs (21 CFR), and Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights (37 CFR).

Why use it?
This gives you instant and free access to federal regulations for various subjects. It does contain a search feature, to assist in determining which chapter you may need for a given subject. These are the rules that EVERY state must follow, though individual state laws may be more restrictive than what is contained in the CFR.