Wisconsin State Law Library

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September 17, 2018

Save time with fifty state surveys of laws

Fifty state surveys of laws are great resources for getting a quick overview of the differences and similarities between state laws on particular topics. The library has two online resources, as well as print sources, that can be useful for quick fifty state survey research.


Available in HeinOnline, 2015, 2008, 2005

Browse topics with easy to download, customizable charts and references to state laws and code. Also available in print as Richard Leiter's National Survey of State Laws, this collection is perfectly adapted to online viewing. HeinOnline includes the last three editions, allowing you to compare laws as they existed in 2005, 2008, and 2015. A summary of each topic is available, but a little bit hidden. Look for the "show more" link above the topic's table to read the summary.

You can log into HeinOnline with a Wisconsin State Law Library card.

Westlaw's 50 State Survey
Search regulatory and statutory 50 state surveys on Westlaw

50 State Surveys provides access to state and federal statutes and regulations, covering topics of law such as garnishment, attachment and judgment execution requirements, durable powers of attorney, cancellation and nonrenewal of insurance policies and premiums, and many others. More than just a listing of laws and regulations, Westlaw also includes some summary analysis for several of its topics.

Westlaw is available to library users within all of our three libraries.

Charts, tables, and links 

HeinOnline provides quick-to-browse charts of each topic for all 50 states, but there is little customization that can be done, other than filtering states you don't wish to see. In Westlaw, detailed information is in a table in the PDF version linked at the top of the page. Otherwise the related statutes for each state are linked from the main page, but little summary is provided.

HeinOnline list of topics


While there is some topical overlap between HeinOnline and Westlaw's 50 state surveys, there are unique topics to both sources so it's a good idea to check both when looking for a survey. Both sources give you the option to browse through topics to see what subtopics are included.

Both HeinOnline and Westlaw are keyword searchable. Westlaw is easier to search within broad topic areas, although both have that capability to some extent.
Search one or both databases in Westlaw
Do you need help using these sources? Ask a librarian if you have questions, or if these resources don't cover the topic you're researching.

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