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Syracuse University Libraries

Legal Research for Non-Law Students


This research guide is intended to highlight legal resources available to undergraduate and graduate students at Syracuse University for academic research. These materials will best support law-related research for non-law students. The attached resources are either available online with SU credentials, online with open access, or in person at Bird Library.

To browse materials available through the Syracuse University College of Law, select “Law Library” as the Library Location when using Libraries Search, or visit the Law Library during their open hours.

The Legal Research Resources for Non-Law Students website from the Duquesne University, particularly the "Getting Started" tab in the Overview section, offers helpful guidance for those new to legal research. 

Note: While library staff can help you to find, access, and use legal resources, we are unable to provide legal advice. 

Legal Research: The Basics

Beginning your legal research can sometimes be a daunting task, especially if you haven't taken any law classes and are unsure of the resources that are available. Fortunately, SU Libraries can help you navigate some of the legal resources and research strategies to help you throughout the research process. As a starting point, please consider exploring some of these online resources that could help you understand the process of legal research. 

Databases with Legal Resources

Open Access Legal Resources

Finding Case Law

Legal Research Support at SU Libraries

If you are conducting legal research for a particular class or academic discipline outside of the Syracuse University School of Law, please feel free to reach out to the appropriate subject librarian for assistance. To determine which subject librarian might be most helpful for your research, please consult the full list of non-law subject librarians available at SU Libraries.   

If your research assistance need primarily involves legal research methods, similar to how a law student or law professor would be approaching an inquiry, begin at the Law Library’s site for Alumni & Visitor Services to review options for access and assistance, and consider visiting one the many College of Law Library’s Research Guides. Some advanced research objectives in law may benefit from consultation with both non-law and law librarian subject specialists.

In addition, SU Libraries staff have created several research guides that offer specific guidance related to legal research for non-law school courses: 

SU Law Library for Non-Law Students

The Syracuse University Law Library primarily serves the research needs of College of Law students, faculty, and staff.  In addition, on limited days and hours, the Law Library welcomes visitors, including College of Law alumni, Syracuse University (non-law) students and faculty, and members of the general public. 

Dineen Hall and the Law Library are not open to visitors on the weekends. A College of Law ID is needed to access the building and Law Library on days and times other than those listed on their website.

Reference Librarians are available to help researchers locate legal and/or government information. Library staff, however, do not provide legal advice or interpretation of the law. Visitors are encouraged to contact the Reference Desk (315.443.9572 or in advance, to determine if and how the Law Library may help them.


Collections & Services Available to Visitors

Visitors are welcome to use the Law Library’s print and microform collections. Many databases are also available. While some online legal services are not available to visitors, subscriptions to Nexis Uni and Westlaw Campus are available for legal research purposes.

A limited number of public access computers are available for visitors. Computer use is limited to those conducting legal research or needing government information. During periods of high demand, visitor use of public access computers may be subject to time limits. Printing and self-service photocopying are available for a nominal fee.

For more information about using the SU Law Library as a non-law student, please visit their Alumni & Visitor Services webpage.