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Externships & Summer Jobs: Guide to Legal Research: Federal Regulations

This guide is intended to direct externs to relevant sources for completing research assignments.

Federal Register (FR)

The Federal Register documents the entire federal rule-making process. It is the official daily publication for the Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders, Proclamations and other Presidential Documents. You can access the Federal Register for free at federalregister.gov or you can use any of the major subscription databases including Westlaw and Lexis.

Citing Federal Regulations

From the Georgetown Law Library's Bluebook Guide.

Rule 14 covers how to cite administrative and executive materials, including U.S. federal regulations. 

A citation to a U.S. federal regulation in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) includes four elements:

  1. C.F.R. title number
  2. C.F.R. (The Bluebook's abbreviation for the Code of Federal Regulations)
  3. Section symbol and specific section cited
  4. Date of code edition cited

For example, here is how you would cite a federal regulation that prescribes rules for pets in National Parks in the United States:

36 C.F.R. § 2.15 (2017)

For state regulations, follow the citation format provided for the state in Table 1.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations promulgated by federal executive departments and agencies, as published in the Federal Register. The CFR is organized into 50 titles which represent broad topics. 

If researching the CFR, it is recommended that you also research the corresponding Federal Register for additional summary and explanation. You can access the CFR for free at Govinfo.gov or, you can access the CFR through any of the subscription databases, including WestlawLexis and Bloomberg Law.

If you are searching for regulations related to a specific statute, use the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules to find the relevant regulations.

Links to Administrative Agency Resources