50 Incredibly Useful Resources for Law Students

Resources for law students are everywhere on line. The 50 listed below are a sampling and cross-section to assist law students with their research. We have resourced the Internet and organized the links to roughly coincide with the law curriculum of Harvard Law School.

Law Dictionaries

No law reference list is complete without a shout-out to all those great law dictionaries on line.

Law Dictionary Websites

  1. The Law Dictionary: This site features the 2nd edition of the venerable Black's Law Dictionary, with over 15,000 legal terms.
  2. Nolo's Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions: Look for plain-English definitions of legal terms.
  3. FindLaw. This site has a regular glossary as well as a professional site for legal professionals.

Criminal Justice Law

Criminal justice is a field that can be researched in depth. Sociologists and criminologists might approach criminal justice from different angles, but there are no lack of resources--and they are as near as your web browser.

Criminal Justice Websites

  1. U.S. Legal. Go to this page for a variety of definitions and criminal justice resources.
  2. FBI Uniform Crime Reports. This is the starting place for anyone interested in information on crime in the United States.
  3. ACLU Indigent Defense. Visit this site for the latest blogs, videos, press releases and features posted by the ACLU in their support and partnership with public defenders.
  4. National Institute of Justice. This U.S. Department of Justice site covers everything from crime to forensics, along with hot topics and current studies.
  5. Drug Enforcement Administration. Catch up on what the narcs are up to, and read about the latest national drug enforcement efforts and trends.
  6. United States Coast Guard Office of Law Enforcement. See what the Coast Guard is doing in maritime law enforcement both on our inland waters and the high seas.
  7. National Police Association. Yes, the police are organized and they have their own national website. Visit their projects page for an update on their latest humanitarian and public relations efforts.
  8. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Another DOJ web page with the latest of just about everything to do with criminal justice and law enforcement.
  9. National Sex Offender Public Website. Another project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  10. National Conference of State Legislatures. This organization, among other things, tracks reports and chronicles criminal justice issues across state lines.
  11. Marquette University Criminology and Criminal Justice: Pick a Topic. Visit this site for quick ideas on criminal justice research topics.
  12. Criminal Defense Lawyer. A NOLO-sponsored site designed to guide everyone through the criminal justice system.
  13. National District Attorney's Association. See what the other half of the system is up to.

International and Comparative Law

Reaching outside U.S. boundaries, the realm of international and comparative law encompasses the world- on dry land and at sea.

International and Comparative Law Websites

  1. The Free Dictionary's page on International Law. More than a definition, this page is a handy crib sheet with links and ideas for further study.
  2. American Society of International Law. Visit this site and keep up with news, trends and issues in international law from the American perspective.
  3. Oceans & Law of the Sea -- United Nations. See what's happening in regulating international sea commerce and travel.
  4. HG.org  Legal Resources: International Law. Browse this page for a brief rundown on the precepts of international law as well as links to other resources.
  5. Crimes of War. Was the killing of Osama Bin Laden "lawful"? Visit this page and decide for yourself.
  6. American Society of Comparative Law. This group calls itself "the leading organization in the united States promoting the comparative study of law.
  7. The Geneva Conventions of 1949. Visit the International Red Cross webpage for everything you need to know about treatment of prisoners of war, as well as other international protocols regulating the barbarity of warfare.

Law and Business

Whether it's the alphabet soup of the ADA, IRS, OSHA, or SBA, there are a ton of laws and regulations bossing business people around. The following are some of the important ones.

Law and Business Websites

  1. Business Law & Regulations. Get up to date on the latest SBA take on business law and legal concerns.
  2. Business Legal Resources Guide. This California State University San Marcos guide is a good starting place for business law researchers. Look for links to FindLaw.com as well as other free federal business resources.
  3. Tax Information For Businesses. One of main IRS web pages, this one is a good launching point for anyone wanting information on business tax regulations.
  4. Americans With Disability Act. Established in 1990, the ADA has been on watch ensuring equal access by all Americans by removing barriers to public access. This landmark legislation extends far beyond establishing handicapped parking.
  5. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. OSHA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor dedicated to workplace safety and enforcement of safety and health regulations. Visit this site and see why most safety regulations are written in blood.
  6. Environmental Protection Agency. Polluters beware. The EPA is watching, notwithstanding that accidental wastewater pollution in Colorado last year.

Law and Government

Our government makes the laws and sets up the apparatus for their enforcement. Here are some typical resources.

Law and Government Websites

  1. The Internal Revenue Code. You can't avoid taxes, and the Legal Information Institute has published the entire IRS code on this site.
  2. Constitutional Law: An Overview. A Cornell University Law School piece, which discusses the broad topic of constitutional law, its interpretation and implementation.
  3. Regulation Without Rulemaking: The Force and Authority of Informal Agency Action. How can government bureaucracies force citizens and businesses to take or refrain from actions? Read this paper by Charles A:  Breer and Scot W. Anderson.
  4. American Judges Association. This organization's mission is to "promote and improve the effective administration of justice." Visit this site for announcements of upcoming events, etc.
  5. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. Find out what's happening in the government's legal headquarters.
  6. National League of Cities. Everything you need to know about the forms and characteristics of city government is on this informative site.

Law and Social Change

Civil Rights are the foundation of our system of government. If freedom and justice are works in progress, our progress has been through the law and the social change it has brought.

Law and Social Change Websites

  1. American Civil Liberties Union. Keep up with the latest ACLU in its quest for justice and civil rights.
  2. Popular Federal Laws and Regulations. Some of the better-known U.S. laws are described and highlighted on this USA.gov web page.
  3. Federal Legislation. A website of the Human Rights Campaign that lobbies Congress on behalf lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
  4. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Stay abreast of recent U.S. Civil Rights enforcement and briefing reports.
  5. Southern Coalition for Social Justice. This organization devotes itself to protecting voting rights, fighting racial bias in the criminal justice system,and defending "vulnerable communities from harmful environmental impacts."

Law and History

The thing about the law is that its interpretation and application are what contemporary jurists say they are. What else can explain these cases?:

  1. Dred Scott. The astonishing  quote from Chief Justice Roger Taney while interpreting the intent of the writers of our Constitution: "(The) negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit."
  2. Plessey vs. Ferguson. The notion that segregation was lawful was at the basis of this 1896 decision: " Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation, in places where they are liable to be brought into contact, do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other."

More Law and History Websites

  1. The Civil War: Was Secession Legal? Historians and jurists are still arguing about this one. Choose your side and make a good argument either way. It still hasn't been resolved.
  2. This History of Criminal Law. A pretty good primer by lawyer Scott Grabel. Also has some nice links for more reading and research.
  3. Top 10 most controversial Supreme Court Rulings. Dred Scott and Plessy are in these top ten, but they are towards the bottom of the list.
  4. International Law and War Crimes. A fascinating report criticizing U.S. foreign policy during the first Gulf War of 1990.

Law and Science

Law may not be a science, but science definitely has to comport to the law.

  1. Guide to Medical Malpractice. This site is a pretty good primer on what medical malpractice litigators need to know.
  2. National Institute of Justice -- Forensic DNA. Visit this page and see why the demand "for tools and technologies in all areas of forensic science, including DNA testing, far exceed the current capabilities in the field."
  3. Computer Forensics in Criminal Investigations. A timely Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science piece on gathering cyber evidence.

And last, but certainly not least:

  1. American Bar Association. The ABA is the world's largest voluntary professional organization with nearly 400,000 members.
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