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¶  Research Guides

Performing legal research can be an arduous, complex and time-consuming task that takes a certain amount of expertise and experience. Non-lawyers, including self-litigants, who are presented with a legal issue or problem must find legal rules that can resolve or prevent conflicts. The library staff can provide directional assistance in how to use available legal resources but cannot answer legal questions or confirm that what a patron has found is relevant to his or her issue, problem or project.

Whether one is researching a point of law, preparing a pleading or completing a form for filing in court, or drafting a legally binding document, including uncontested documents, for personal or business matters, obtaining advice from legal counsel is strongly recommended. The Supreme Court of Ohio has published A Consumer's Practical Guide to Managing a Relationship With an Attorney which provides practical information about the lawyer-client relationship for Ohioans considering hiring an attorney.

Law library staff members are prohibited from recommending local attorneys. The Butler County Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service. The Association can provide the name of a subscribing Butler County attorney who is available for consultation concerning specific legal issues. The Association's Lawyer Referral Service can be reached at (513) 896-6671.

The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati may be able to provide assistance in some matters. For more information about how Legal Aid can help, call (513) 241-9400 or (800) 582-2682. An intake specialist will determine eligibility. Depending on the issue, Legal Aid will assign an attorney or paralegal to the case, give advice, send written information, or make a referral. Interviews are available by appointment in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Batavia, Wilmington, Hillsboro, Middletown, and Georgetown.

First Steps in Legal Research. As a first step in performing legal research, the Law Library recommends the brief How to Research a Legal Program: A Guide for Non-Lawyers (American Association of Law Libraries, 2009) for non-lawyers and as a public service will provide a copy free of charge. The Law Library collection contains several legal research handbooks including Ohio Legal Research by Katherine L. Hall and Sara Sampson which is probably the best recent monograph published on the subject, as well as, a modest collection of legal self-help books, which should be used with caution.

Online resources of a general nature include but are not limited to the following:

ABA LawInfo
Maintained by the American Bar Association, this website offers legal information on a variety of topics including family law, employment law, court proceedings, and criminal law. General subjects are subdivided into specific legal issues with corresponding articles.

Resources for Self-Representation
Produced by the American Association of Law Libraries, State, Court & County Law Libraries Special Interest Group.

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
Find plain-English definitions for legal terms by searching or browsing this free site.

Wex
Wex is a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia sponsored and hosted by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School.

Nolo’s Legal Encyclopedia
Free general articles on everyday legal topics are available for background information purposes.

Online resources addressing Ohio law-related matters include but are not limited to the following:

Ohio Legal Services' Finding Information on Your Legal Problem Guide
Legal matters arranged by broad topic. When available topical sections include links to forms.

Frequently Asked Questions
Produced by the Cleveland Law Library Association, this FAQ is very useful for Ohio inquiries.

Research Guides to Online Legal Resources. Legal resources are becoming more readily available in electronic formats. The Law Library has compiled lists of fee-based and free online legal resources in research guides available from links provided in the right sidebar of this web page. Listed resources are for informational purposes only; they do not represent an endorsement of any listed resource by the Law Library. The research guides are not intended to be comprehensive.

Use Restrictions. The Law Library's online search services are restricted to statutory users for the purpose of conducting official business and local attorneys who have library privileges for the purpose of performing legal research. Public patrons are not allowed to perform online research in the law library because of library policies and licensing agreements. County law library staff members are available, however, to provide directional assistance by showing members of the public which online services and websites may help patrons answer their legal questions and how those resources may be used. The provided research guides are intend to complement this service.

 ¶  In This Section

Ohio Legal Research: Guide to Online Resources

Case Law Research: Guide to Federal & Multi-State Online Resources

Statutory Research: Guide to Federal & Multi-State Online Resources

Regulatory Research: Guide to Federal & Multi-State Online Resources

Legal Forms Research: Guide to Online Resources for Agency, Court, Business & Personal Forms