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Law Journal Guide

This guide provides tips for law journal members on source gathering, note writing, and Bluebooking.


This page provides links to the best places to find a number of commonly cited sources. If you need assistance finding a source not listed here, please contact us by visiting the Research Help Desk, calling (714) 628-2548, or e-mailing

Law Journal Articles

Most law journal articles will be available in PDF format on HeinOnline's Law Journal Library. If you cannot find a journal, try searching for the journal's title in the Law Library catalog.

Non-Law Journal Articles

During the cite-checking process, you will likely encounter citations to articles from non-law journals that you will not be able to find on HeinOnline. To find non-law journals, follow these steps.

  • Go to the Leathery Libraries Homepage.
  • In the "Search the Journal A-Z List" search box, enter the title of the journal (not the title of the article), and click Search.

  • You will see a list of databases that provide access to the journal. Note the year your article was published and review the coverage for each database to determine whether your article will be available. Often, as in this example, multiple databases will provide access. Note that many databases only provide coverage for relatively recent articles. JSTOR is an excellent option for older articles.

  • Click the hyperlink for the appropriate database, and you will be taken to the journal's homepage within that database. Simply browse your way into the appropriate volume and issue to retrieve your article.
  • You will likely not be able to find an official PDF of the table of contents on the publisher's website. This is okay, as the website should show the page numbers on which each article begins. Do not submit an ILL request solely for the table of contents in this circumstance.


Sometimes authors will even cite to old-fashioned books. First, check if either the Law Library or Leatherby has the book available by searching in the catalog. If not, submit an interlibrary loan request.

Interlibrary Loan Etiquette

  1. Submit your requests early. Books may take 5-10 business days to arrive.
  2. Return your books on time. Returning ILL books late harms our reputation with the lending library.
  3. Do not remove paper ILL bands. Our Circulation staff relies on the information on these bands.

Federal Statutes

You may come across federal statutes cited in a number of different ways, representing the ways in which statutes are published. When a statute is enacted, it is assigned a public law number and is published as a slip law. In a citation, this will look like "Pub. L. No. 87-195." In this example, this statute was the 195th law enacted by the 87th Congress. You can find public laws at the following sources:

Next, public laws are compiled and published chronologically in the Statutes at Large. In a citation, this will look like "75 Stat. 424." In this example, this statute can be found on page 424 of the 75th volume of the Statutes at Large. The first number does not correspond with the Congress number. The complete run of the Statutes at Large can be found on HeinOnline.

Finally, statutes are organized by subject matter and codified in the U.S. Code. In a citation, this will look like "42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2006)." This citation refers to section 1983 of Title 42 of the Code, found in the 2006 version of the Code. The official version of the U.S. Code is published every six years. You can find the U.S. Code at the following sources:

Federal Legislative History Documents

Legislative history essentially refers to the documents produced by Congress before a bill became enacted. This includes things like bills, floor debate, committee hearings, etc. Use this cheat sheet to help you find these materials. If (and only if) these options fail, search for the document in the Law Library catalog, as you may be able to view and print it on microform.

Congressional Bills

Congressional Hearings

Congressional Record

Congressional Committee Reports

Federal Regulatory and Executive Materials

The agencies of the executive branch produce a vast amount of material, but the sources you are most likely to run across are the Code of Federal regulations (cited as C.F.R.) and the Federal Register (cited as Fed. Reg. or F.R.). You may also come across citations to executive orders. You can find these materials at the following sources.

Code of Federal Regulations

Federal Register

Executive Orders (in Daily/Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents)

Regulatory Histories (collections of regulatory materials associated with statutes)

California Statutes and Bills

As with federal statutes in the Statutes at Large, California statutes are compiled chronologically in a publication called Statutes and Amendments to the Codes of California. You can find the Statutes and Amendments from 1850 - 2008 online at the California State Assembly's website.

Like federal statutes in the U.S. Code, California statutes are arranged by subject in the California Codes. California has no "official" printed legislative code. The official versions of the Codes are maintained at the California Legislative Information website.

California bills from 1999 through the present can be found on the California Legislative Information website.

California Regulations

California has contracted with Barclays, a division of Thomson-Reuters, to print the official version of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). The CCR is available in print in the Law Library on the first floor at KFC35 1990 .A22, and an electronic version is available on this website.

U.S. Supreme Court Documents

Use ProQuest Supreme Court Insight (1979-Current) or Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records & Briefs (1832-1978) to locate Supreme Court materials including briefs (both parties' briefs and amicus briefs), petitions, oral arguments, and slip opinions.