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Legal Resources: Federal Courts & Case Law

CALI's Free Law Reporter

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)'s The Free Law Reporter (FLR) is an electronic case reporter that freely publishes nearly every recent appellate and supreme court opinion, from state to federal U.S. courts.

This project builds upon Carl Malamud's Report of Current Opinions (RECOP) and, hence, contains whatever is included in the slip opinion archives of the RECOP. This includes primarily appellate level courts in the 50 states and D.C., the federal courts and SCOTUS. For the most part, coverage begins with 1/1/2011 and continues forward.

Federal Court Dockets

Below are lower cost alternatives to LexisNexis' CourtLink and Westlaw's CourtExpress.

Quick Links

Use Google Scholar to find full-text legal opinions from the U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts. For more information, see Finding the laws that govern us (Google blog).

U.S. Supreme Court

History & Statistics

Judicial Nominations

FDsys's United States Courts Opinions - BETA

A pilot project between the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to provide public access to opinions from selected U.S. appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.

Initial testing is with four courts:

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit;
  • U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island;
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida; and
  • U.S. Bankrutpcy Court, Southern District of New York.

Other Federal Court Opinions

Please note that U.S. District Court cases are not as readily available for free on the Internet (except for those opinions posted on the courts' official Web sites, which are typically only the most recent decisions, and through Justia).

Links to related guides

Federal Case Materials Checklist

How to Find a Case by Name or Topic Using Print Sources

Court Rules LibGuide

Understanding the Federal Courts

This 54-page publication (in PDF) provides an introduction to the federal judicial system, its organization and administration, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the government. Published by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in 2003.