Legal Resources at NYPL and Elsewhere in New York City
Without a doubt, the best location in the New York Public Library to conduct legal research about legal issues that arise in either the state or the city of New York is the Science Industry and Business Library. SIBL has a selective law library that contains such essential New York legal research tools as McKinney’s Consolidated Statutes of New York (annotated with New York and federal cases and state agencies that cite the statutes) and these statutes online without annotations.
Visit the Science Industry and Business Library for:
- most of the decisions of the Unified Court System of the State of New York including the decisions of this state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, that are available in print and online since 1990, the Appellate Division decisions are also available in print and online since 2003 and the New York Supplement also includes certain other New York decisions.
- many New York City laws including the Charter and Administrative Code that includes the Building and the Construction Codes with a print index or that are available online as well as the Zoning Resolution and Updates and the local laws and many other New York City ordinances and regulations.
- all published opinions of the federal courts including the United States Reports of the Supreme Court in print and electronically since 1893, the Federal Reporter Series, the Federal Supplement and a comprehensive guide to research in the Congressional Record.
- a number of legal manuals and other works designed for the non-lawyer that are useful for legal research that may be found in the Catalog as well as useful pathfinders, such as Legal Materials on the Web. And there are numerous NYPL databases that address law and related matters as well as good sources of information on the internet.
SIBL does not have access to Lexis. SIBL does have access to a version of Westlaw that permits one to conduct onsite research of New York state and federal statutes, case law and regulations. Note that a great deal of legal research can be conducted online at FindLaw’s Cases and Codes that provides access to many federal, state and municipal decisions, statutes and ordinances. Also, those in need of the law of other jurisdictions and more obscure practice manuals or law reviews may obtain a METRO card from the NYPL for onsite research at law school libraries in New York City.
Outside the New York Public Library, each of the five boroughs of New York City are also separate Counties of New York State. And each one has a Public Access Law Library listed by county name: Manhattan (New York County), the Bronx (Kings County), Staten Island (Richmond County), Brooklyn (Kings County) and Queens (Queens County) that can be found in this Directory of the New York State Unified Court System that are open to the public during business hours and that do have access to Lexis/Nexis and limited access to Westlaw.
The Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School also includes a wide variety of federal and state case law and legislation. And the United States Department of Justice maintains a list of “Open Access” law reviews and journals. Google Scholar also provides access to certain law journals and the alumni of any university that has a law school may have access to its law libraries.