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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.

Directories & Information

U.S. Federal Agency Regulations

Federal agencies promulgate rules and regulations by authority of the executive branch of government or statutory grant. Most agency actions are governed by the Administrative Procedures Act, codified in Title 5 of the United States Code. Agency rules and regulations are first published in the Federal Register, a chronological publication (Fed. Reg. or FR), and then codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

In addition to the resources below, the FR and CFR can be found in Lexis Advance/Lexis Academic, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law.

U.S. Federal Agency Rulings, Decisions & Orders

Most federal agencies publish reports of their own rulings, decisions and orders, e.g. Decisions of the National Labor Relations Board.  Many also publish online at agency websites. See, e.g.,

WestlawLexis+ and Bloomberg Law have most agency rulings, decisions and orders.

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