Free Legal Resources, New York State - 2014 Update
May 21, 2014
People researching New York law have a number of free databases at their disposal. Primary authorities, including the state constitution, statutory codes, regulations, and many cases, are freely available from state government websites. But there are also many other helpful resources online: forms, directories, legal news and other ways to stay on top of your practice. Check them out!
Primary Source Materials
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, 2014.
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.
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 the uniform court rules.
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-three 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, as well as significant briefs submitted by the Attorney General’s office in state and federal courts. The opinions are indexed by year, subject, and statute.
Listing of State Agencies: Provides a link to each state agency’s official website. Agency websites are often excellent sources of administrative rulings, policy documents, and forms.
Secondary Source Materials
New York State Bar Association (NYSBA): Provides downloadable forms for many different practice areas. While some forms are available for purchase only, the NYSBA also offers many free samples, as well as other valuable information on Continuing Legal Education and other tools for lawyers.
New York State Unified Court System: Also provides forms for a variety of practice areas, including for matrimonial, criminal and family court matters.
LexisNexis Communities: (formerly LexisONE) offers hundreds of free forms for New York and other jurisdictions.
New York State Courts – Attorney Search: Allows searching of all registered New York attorneys by name; provides information on law school attended, contact information (where available), and year of bar admission.
New York State Courts – Judicial Search: Before you step into court, search for the presiding judge. This directory provides information on each judge’s education and professional background, judicial appointments, publications and civic activities.
The New York Law Journal: The paper of record for the New York legal community.
For a more comprehensive research guide to print and electronic resources, please consult William Manz’s Gibson’s New York Legal Research Guide. This book is a great source for information on all-things related to New York legal research, including specialized sources for individual practice areas.