We know that many of our students will be doing externships overseas this summer.  Unfortunately, many of the resources you’ve learned about it in your first year legal research class won’t be as helpful in a foreign country.  We do, however, have a number of resources that can help you get up to speed on the legal system and legal research in your country.

Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest (LexisNexis) – This resource has short summaries of different areas of law within foreign countries.  If you’d like to get an overview of the law on different issues in your country, this is a good place to go.  Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest to find.  Once you logon to LexisNexis, you’ll want to click on the “Find a Source” tab on the main research page.  Once there, search for “martindale-hubbell international law digest.”  You will then see links for different international law digest for specific regions of the world, such as “South American,” “Asian,” etc.  They are not grouped all together, but if you scroll down a bit you should find them all.

Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia (HeinOnline) – This resource is somewhat similar to the International Law Digest, but also provides information about the structure of the legal system that might be useful to you.  The one drawback is that it was last updated in 2005, so it’s somewhat out of date.  We also have a copy of this resource in print in the reserve library.

Foreign Law Guide – This is a great resource for learning what are the major legal resources in a specific country.  For example, it tells me that the Criminal Code in Argentina is called the Código penal de la Nación Argentina.  Being familiar with a country’s major publications can be helpful when asked to do research.  The Foreign Law Guide also lets you know if and where legal information for these countries is available on the internet.  For certain countries, you will be provided with information about where to find laws on a specific topic.  For example, I’m told that laws on adoption were introduced in 1997 as Ley 24,779 and I can find the adoption laws in sections 311-340 in the Argentine Civil Code.

GLIN (Global Legal Information Network) – This database contains laws, regulations and judicial decisions of various countries.  While not all countries are represented, this is a good place to search if you’re looking for foreign laws.

Sears Foreign and International Law Directory – Professor Dennis Sears has put together this directory to provide access to free legal resources for the countries of the world.