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Researching the Law and Facts


These organizations may provide assistance with some aspects of researching law and facts. Contact these organizations directly for more information about the services provided.

Sacramento Public Library
Includes information about the location and hours of all Sacramento Public Library branches. Provides access to the library's online catalog.

California State Library
The State Law Library is open to the public. Check their catalog if you're looking for something we don't have.

Council of California County Law Libraries
Provides a directory of all county law libraries in California.

Your Public Law Library
In addition to links to self-help resources, research guides, and the AskNow Live Chat service, this website provides links to all California Public Law Libraries.

Allows you to simultaneously search our collection and those of many other libraries worldwide using WorldCat, from your home or office!
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The Law Librarians have created these research guides as an aid for those starting a legal research project. These guides recommend print and electronic resources that will help you find answers to your law-related questions. Guides marked "Step-by-Step"  provide step-by-step information, as well as sample forms, for common legal procedures. See the topical "Learn About the Law" pages for more information about research specific issues.

Legal Research:

Factual Research and Trial Preparation:

Online Guides to Legal Research
These guides were created by other Law Librarians to assist the general public with basic information about conducting legal research. Please be aware that our library may not have access to all resources listed in these guides.

Locating the Law: A Handbook for Non-Law Librarians, 5th Ed.
Southern California Association of Law Libraries. Locating the Law is intended to provide basic information about California and federal legal materials: what they are, how they are organized, and how to use them. The full-text of this 250-page publication is available online for free.

How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers
The AALL Legal Information Services to the Public Special Interest Section
This free, informative seven-page online guide is intended to help non-lawyers find legal rules that can resolve or prevent conflict. Avoiding jargon throughout, the booklet covers the basic steps in legal research. It also describes basic sources of legal information, giving examples of legal encyclopedias, treatises, articles, codes, reporters, and digests.  

Your Public Law Library’s Mini Research Class
Provided by the Council of California County Law Librarians, this mini research guide is intended to help you learn the legal research process, with guidance on where to start and what resources to check as you research your legal problem. The sections of this mini-class are linked below so that you may skip to whatever section interests you.

California Style Manual, 4th Ed. (2000)
Posted online, free, by the Sixth District Appellate Program (SDAP). 

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These websites provide good summaries of legal issues, as well as links to primary resources, forms, and other sources of information. They can be a good starting point for many legal research projects. Also see the Finding Primary Law page for information about accessing primary resources.

Law Dictionaries:

Style Manuals

Guide to Law Online
This website from the Law Library of Congress provides online access to international, foreign, federal, and state legal materials.

California State Courts Self Help Center (Spanish:
Provides information about various aspects of California law. Includes information on finding legal assistance, going to court, and locating additional resources. Also posts information on various topics, including family law, domestic violence, elder law, guardianships & conservatorships, juvenile law, landlord & tenant law, Small Claims Court, Traffic Court, and other topics. 

Findlaw-Internet Legal Resources
Comprehensive collection of legal information available on the World Wide Web. Good starting point for any online legal research. Posts U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Court cases. Includes extensive attorney directory.

Washlaw Web
Washburn University School of Law has long been a pioneer in organizing Internet resources. This large site links to both law and law-related sites, including law journals.

The Legal Information Institute
Hosted by the Cornell University School of Law. Posts unofficial versions of the U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, and U.S. Supreme Court cases since 1990. Provides summary of several areas of law, including criminal law, intellectual property, and tax law. Contains links to other federal and state information available on the World Wide Web. Has a "Current Awareness" section that summarizes recent developments in the law.

State and Local Government on the Net
Provides extensive links to official state and local government web sites.

Northern California Association of Law Libraries - NOCALL
Contains extensive links to available legal information web sites. 

Legal Glossaries
The Sacramento County Superior Courts has developed these legal glossaries in a 12 languages. These online glossaries are still evolving but they are useful for patrons and those individuals studying for the interpreter's exam.

Search Systems
Provides links to public records databases that may help locate businesses and people.

Free Public Records Finder
Provides links to public records databases.  

BRB Publications, Inc.
A publisher of sourcebooks used for locating public records, this site includes a Free Resource Center.

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See You in Court! How to Start a Civil Lawsuit in Sacramento (1:37:39) (video)
Describes the steps of writing, filing and serving a civil complaint in Sacramento County.

Court System: Who Are the Players? What Do They Do? (1:07:25) (video)
Judge Jaime R. Roman, Court Clerk Julie Jackson, Court Attendee Michelle Jeremiah, and Court Recorder Jean Smart, all of Sacramento County Superior Court, discuss the roles of various court personnel.

If You Understand Football / Si Entiende el Fútbol

In EnglishIf You Understand Football, You Can Make Sense of Court Cases (2:33) 
This presentation explains the different stages of a civil lawsuit by comparing them to the progress of a football game.
En españolSi Ud. Entiende el Fútbol, Ud. Puede Desifrar los Casos de la Corte Civil  (2:52)
Esta presentación explica las diferentes etapas de un caso civil mediante la comparación de que el progreso de un partido de fútbol.