Research a legal question

How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers

This guide was created by members of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). It is intended to help a person with a legal problem find legal rules that can resolve or prevent conflict. It is most useful to work through the steps and sources in the order given.

Legal Research Strategy

This guide from the Harvard Law School Library walks a beginning researcher though the legal research process step-by-step.

Legal Information Institute

The Legal Information Institute (LII) is an independently-funded project of the Cornell Law School. Popular collections include: the U.S. Code, Supreme Court opinions, Uniform Commercial Code, and Wex - a law dictionary and encyclopedia.


FindLaw, from publisher Thomson Reuters, contains free, up-to-date, and easily understandable legal information and tools for consumers and legal professionals. The website's Learn About the Law section features informational articles about a wide variety of legal topics.

Nolo's legal encyclopedia

This legal encyclopedia is from Nolo Press, one of the largest publishers of legal self-help books. The encyclopedia has thousands of free, current articles on everyday legal topics.

Nolo's legal self-help books
Legal Research book cover

Nolo is one of the largest publishers of legal self-help books and there are titles covering a variety of topics. King County Law Library has created a short video about using Nolo. After watching, return here to use the Clark County Law Library login. Nolo publishes a Legal Research eBook that can be read online for free. This document shows how to find and view this title.

Washington LawHelp

Washington LawHelp provides legal education materials and tools that give you basic information on a number of legal problems, and in some cases, detailed instructions and forms to help you represent yourself in court. The website is maintained by staff at the Northwest Justice Project (NJP), a not-for-profit statewide organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income people from 18 offices throughout the state of Washington.

Washington State Office of the Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division provides information on a wide range of topics of interest to consumers including cars, contractors, landlord-tenant, small claims court, identity theft, and debt management.

King County Law Library Research Guides

The King County Law Library (KCLL) has created infographics and in-depth research guides on a variety of topics including administrative appeals, bankruptcy, clearing criminal records, family law, and estate planning. There is also a guide to finding Washington case law that can help you get started finding previously decided cases that may be similar to yours.

Washington State Law Library

The State Law Library's legal research page has links to some websites that may provide useful starting places for legal research online.

Washington State Judicial Opinions

The Washington State Judicial Opinions website from LexisNexis provides free public access to the precedential, published appellate decisions from the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.


LexisNexis is a legal research tool that includes case law, statutes, and regulations. LexisNexis Patron Access is a service purchased by the law library and provided to the public. If you are unable to visit the library, Lexis currently offers a free trial ID that allows you to use LexisNexis remotely for 7 days. For technical questions please see the latest videos, guides and other resources to help you research more efficiently.

Westlaw Edge

Westlaw Edge is a legal research database that you can use in the Law Library. This guide shows you how to find cases in Westlaw. This guide shows you how to find briefs, trial court documents, jury verdicts, secondary sources (including Washington Practice), and more.