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New York Law on the Cheap

March 10, 2011

Written by Christopher Milla, Biddle Law Library research assistant and 2010 University of Pennsylvania J.D. and M.A. candidate.

(This is a repost of a 2010 legal research blog entry that you may find useful.)


Are you spending your summer at a law firm in New York? Are you worried that you’ll run up your employer’s Lexis and Westlaw bills?  After all, finding a relevant New York case can be tough enough, but now you have to do it cost-effectively too? The nerve. Well, rest assured, there’s an easy way around this problem: start your search with free, online resources! 


New York State (NYS), like many states and federal entities, provides resources created by different branches of government.  If you need quick access to the NYS Constitution, or NYS Statutes, Bills, Rules or Cases, these are the places to go:


New York State Constitution: Maintained by the New York Department of State.   It provides links directly to the text or a PDF of the New York Constitution. The document is current as of January 1, 2010. 
Legislative Material
New York State Assembly: Published by the New York State Legislature, the site contains up-to-date collections of the consolidated and unconsolidated laws of New York, along with a searchable database of NYS Legislative Bills and Resolutions.
Judicial Opinions
New York State Unified Court System: Provides links to recent decisions from all of the courts and official reports from the highest court, the Court of Appeals, to the lower Trial Courts, as well as specialty courts like the Commercial Division.  The site also contains links to various court rules.
Administrative Materials
New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR):   The NYCRR contains state agency rules and regulations adopted under the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA). The twenty-two titles include one for each state department, one for miscellaneous agencies and one for the judiciary. The site does not link directly to the NYCRR. Instead, the site provides a link to the unofficial NYCRR powered by Westlaw.   The weekly New York State Register provides information on recent rule adoptions that have not yet been published in the unofficial online NYCRR.
Opinions of the Attorney General: Official website of the Attorney General of New York. The site provides links to the opinions of the Attorney General spanning from 1995 to the present. The opinions are indexed numerically by year.
Listing of State Agencies: Provides a link to each state agency’s official website.

For a more comprehensive research guide to print and electronic resources, please consult Gibson’s New York Legal Research Guide, Third Edition (2004).  This book will allow for more efficient and effective research.  Good luck!