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Suggested Resources for Law

Current Events and Announcements

The North Carolina General assembly passed a statute preventing the free distribution of printed volumes of North Carolina Appellate Division Reports to the North Carolina Community College system.

  • There will no longer be printed any reports or appeals volumes from the court system provided at no cost to North Carolina Community College Libraries.
  • The last print volumes in the collection at the Cato Law Library are volume 243 from the North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports and volume 369 of the North Carolina Supreme Court Reports.
  • Reports may still be accessed online: North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Opinions

Finding Law Materials

Each branch, or level, of the legal system has its own specific materials. Remember, there are the 3 branches of government—Judicial, Legislative and Executive, and then there are different levels and types of law attached to each one:

The Federal Government

Judicial Branch Legislative Branch Executive Branch

Who: US Supreme Court

Legal Product: Opinions/Decisions – Case Law¹

Who: Senate & House of Representatives

Legal Product: United States Code United States Statutes

Who: President

Legal Product: Code of Federal Regulations

Who: US Courts of Appeals

Legal Product: Opinions/Decisions-Case Law

Who: US District Courts*

Legal Product: Opinions/Decisions-Case Law
*The 94 U. S. judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a U. S. court of appeals.

Remember, the whole configuration is repeated 50 more times at the state level; then you have municipal codes as well.

For example, Cato Law Library has the following reporters and digests for finding federal case law:

  • Supreme Court Reporter¹: contains the opinions/decisions of the U.S Supreme Court – Case Law¹
  • West’s Federal Practice Digest: Case law arranged alphabetically by topic for each volume in the set (for example, Double Jeopardy to Drugs & Narcotics), and provides case holdings and full case citations, so the researcher can find the case law in the Reporter¹.

These types of reporters and digests (case finders) are published for Federal, Regional, and State case law. Law students must always locate the actual written opinion—never rely on what is published in the digests (or indexes or citators) for the text of the cases.

The Cato Law Library also has legal encyclopedias, such as American Jurisprudence and Corpus Juris Secundum, and legal dictionaries. Those resources work just like any encyclopedia and/or dictionary.

Best Databases for Legal Research


Magazines and Journals

Books & More From Our Collection

Browse Our Shelves!

Call Number
Subject Area
General Law
Religious Law
Law in UK & Ireland
Law in North America
Law in Canada
Law in the United States
Law in North Carolina
Law in South America
Law in Europe
Law in Asia, Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, & Antarctica
Law of Nations




Having Trouble Searching the Catalog? Try out a few of our favorite search terms:
  • Law Reports
  • US Constitution
  • US Supreme Court or District Courts
  • North Carolina Statutes
  • Federal Law
  • Specific Categories of Legal Practice:
    • Trial/Litigation
    • Real Estate
    • Family Law
  • Specific Laws:
    • Capital Punishment
    • Firearms Laws
    • Intellectual Property
    • Controlled Substances
    • Civil Liberties
    • Children's Rights
  • Legal Forms
  • Jurisprudence
  • Municipal Code

Additional Help

Step by Step Research Guide Citation Help Tutorials