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50 State Surveys

What is a 50 State Survey?

50-state surveys are compilations of statutes, regulations, or other sources of law from multiple jurisdictions on a specific topic.  If you have been asked to compile a state survey, you first want to check and make sure that there isn't already an existing survey on your topic. Even if there isn't an existing survey on your topic, you might be able to find an existing survey related to your topic, which can be a good starting point to quickly finding the relevant state laws you are looking for.

There are many places you can check for existing state surveys. One database might not have a survey on your topic but a different database may, so it's worth it to check the different resources available to you. For example, Bloomberg Law has lots of state surveys (called "chart builders") in certain areas like labor and employment, but no state surveys on areas of criminal law. Most state surveys are focused on statutes and regulations. If you are researching an area of law traditionally government by case law, skip ahead to the videos on HeinOnline and American Law Reports, to find resources more likely to be useful to you.

If you find a state survey on your specific topic, remember to check it for accuracy and that it is still good law. If you aren't able to find an existing survey on your topic after following the advice in the videos below, you may have to compile your own state survey. Westlaw's Jurisdictional Survey video may be a useful starting point for state statutory research. 


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