Law school librarians receive requests for recommended readings for students who are beginning law school. Often these requests come from students who are coming to the U.S. from another country and seeking an overview or explanation about U.S. law and legal system. Some of the resources that we can recommend include:
- The U.S. Department of State provides this Outline of the U.S. Legal System (PDF)
- In the law library’s Reserve collection, see the books in the call number range KF 385-386 (such as American Law and the American Legal System in a Nutshell and An Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States)
- Other books on the American system include American Law in a Global Context: The Basics, available as an e-book, as well as print
- The U.S. General Services Administration provides this primer of the U.S. Government and its branches, which is much shorter than the exhaustive United States Government Manual, available from the Government Printing Office
You may find the law library’s research guides helpful to gain an understanding of the federal and state governments, as well as for guidance on legal research. And you can contact a reference librarian if you have questions about where to find the information you are seeking.