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50 State Surveys

Sometimes legal researchers are called upon to do state-by-state comparisons of the law in particular areas. These 50 state surveys can be daunting and very time consuming, but there are some helpful resources you can look to in order to determine if someone has already compiled the information you need.

A great place to start is with the Subject Compilations of State Laws bibliographies, available in print in the library. The most recent volume is located in the Reference collection at KF240.S795, with the older volumes in the stacks at the same call number. This resource lists citations to where you can find 50 state surveys on hundreds of subjects. Another good print source is the National Survey of State Laws (6th ed.) located in the Reference collection at KF386.N38, which is updated through June 1, 2007. It contains summaries of the laws in each state, with citations, on a variety of topics.

Westlaw and Lexis both contain a large number of 50 states surveys. In Westlaw, consult the 50 State Surveys (SURVEYS) database and in Lexis, look for the LexisNexis 50 State Surveys, Legislation & Regulations database. Be sure to note when the survey was last updated. Since the surveys in Lexis and Westlaw are only available to subscribers, a free source you can turn to is the National Conference of State Legislatures website. This website contains information about laws passed in the states on a number of topics such as health care, immigration, and employment law.

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