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United States Legal Research for L.L.M. Students

Overview of basic United States legal research. Originally written primarily for foreign law students, who are familiar with legal concepts but unfamiliar with U.S. legal materials, but useful also for the novice practitioner.


Each United States jurisdiction (United States, each state) has a constitutionsession laws and a code.

Session laws are the laws of a jurisdiction collected in chronological order.  Individual U.S. laws are called Public Laws (e.g. Public Law 111-002) and individual Illinois laws are called Public Acts (e.g. Public Act 96-0073). 

A code is a subject organization of all the laws currently in force in a jurisdiction.

This section on Statutory Research has 3 subtabs: Constitutions, Federal Statutory Law and State Statutory Law: Illinois.

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