Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Law Library

Comparing State Laws

Scope and Access

This guide describes resources for finding and comparing laws on the same topic from multiple states. The call numbers on this page link to library catalog records, which provide information about location, availability, and currency of each item in the Ross-Blakley Law Library.

Westlaw and LexisNexis links will take you to the specified database if you have a password. These links work better if you are already logged in. The College of Law provides Westlaw and LexisNexis passwords to its law faculty, staff, and students. Links to these commercial databases will open in a new tab or window. Westlaw and LexisNexis links will open in a new tab or window.

National Survey of State Laws by Richard Leiter
KF 1. S7952 – In reference in the law library.
It is necessary to only use the most current volume. It includes tables by topic comparing each state's laws.
Westlaw 50 State Surveys
Database: SURVEYS
This is the online version of the above book, National Survey of State Laws by Richard Leiter. It includes more topics than those in the book and includes other publications. Westlaw has enlarged on this including topical comparisons and state regulatory comparisons—50 State Regulatory Surveys (REG-SURVEYS)—and by subjects.
LexisNexis 50 State Surveys, Legislation & Regulations
Library & file: CODES;SURVEY
LexisNexis has similar coverage to Westlaw in 50 State Surveys Legislation & Regulations. Each survey contains links to relevant codes and regulations on a particular topic.
Subject Compilations of State Laws
KF 1. S795 – In reference in the law library.
This does not have tables and you may want to search the last couple of editions if the most current does not contain your subject. It refers you to other sources such as law reviews where you can find comparisons.
Search law reviews online to locate comparisons in footnotes.
Westlaw: JLR
Example: title(english) and language and code w/30 rev! w/30 stat! and date aft (1/1/2000)
Example: title(english) and language and (ann. and code and rev. and stat.) and date aft (1/1/2000)
Encyclopedia of Associations
AS 22. E5 – On Reserve in the law library.
National Associations often keep up to date with laws that affect their area of interest. For example the American Pit Bull Terriers is listed and it refers to the American Breeders association. It will then give you a description of the association, contact information and its website. The website discusses BSL (Breed specific legislation) and refers to states and cities that have laws on this. You can also find associations by searching the Internet.
Searching codes online in Westlaw and LexisNexis
Search the Internet
The best free source on the internet is the National Conference of State Legislatures – Click on the issue areas tab.
Searching the indexes of each state code in print

By Marianne Alcorn; updated 4/08.


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