Local Government Law Research

May 2016
Updated by Michael Umberger

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Some resources on this page are subscription databases that require a W&M ID and password for off-campus access.  Use Proxy Authentication for off-campus access to library resources. 

Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law require individual IDs and passwords for both off-campus and on-campus access.


Library Catalog
To search for books, journals, and audiovisual materials held by William & Mary libraries, use the online catalog.

To find local government law materials, use the default search with keywords or search the catalog by subject headings such as:

  • Local government
  • Municipal corporations

Remember that you can search by materials relevant to a particular jurisdiction by adding the location to a keyword search. For example, searching for [Virginia local government] or [Virginia municipal corporations] will bring up Virginia local government and municipal law materials.


To search for materials from other libraries, use Worldcat.

Browsing the Collection:

You can also find local government law resources by browsing the shelves within the Library of Congress call number range KF 5300 to KF 5332

Selected Treatises

The following treatises on local government law can be found in the library at the call number listed and, when available online, on Westlaw or Lexis:

  • Custer, Susan Warner, Handbook of Virginia Local Government Law KFV2830 .H362 2001 (Reserve)
  • Martinez, John, Local Government Law KF5300 .S26 2012 (Westlaw)
  • McQuillin, Eugene, The Law of Municipal Corporations, 3d ed. by Clark A. Nichols, et al., Chicago: Callaghan, 1949 KF5305 .M33 (Westlaw)
  • Moore, Ralph J., Municipal Legal Forms with Commentary KF5305 .A3M6 1976
  • Sands, C. Dallas and Michael E. Libonati, Local Government Law KF5300 .S26
  • Stevenson, Sandra M., Antieau on Local Government Law, 2nd Ed. (Lexis Advance)


  • Matthews, Thomas A. and Byron S. Matthews, Matthews Municipal Ordinances; Text and Forms, 2d ed. (Westlaw)
  • Ordinance Law Annotations (Westlaw)
  • The Library of Congress call number for city ordinance services is KFX. The Library subscribes to a number of Virginia City and County Code compilations. Virginia ordinances are shelved on the first floor in the Virginia Collection. These local codes, along with many other city and county codes nationwide, are available online at Municode.

Directories and Reference Materials

  • County and City Data Book, 2007, 14th ed. (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census)
    Comprehensive coverage of statistical information on U.S. cities and counties. Also available in PDF.
  • The Municipal Year Book JS344 .C5 A24 2007 (Reference, older editions in Stacks)
    Compilation of articles discussing issues of importance to local governments. Numerous statistical tables, lists of contact individuals and sources of local governmental information.
  • Municipal Yellow Book: Who's Who in the Leading City and County Government and Local Authorities JS39 .M79 2016 Winter (Career Services)
    Names, addresses and phone numbers for the primary elected and appointed officials in 100 major United States cities and counties. 
  • ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States (Current edition available through ProQuest)
    Includes local government statistics. 
  • Virginia Review Directory of State and Local Government Officials JK3930 .D57 2012 (Reference; older editions in Stacks)
    Includes names, addresses and telephone numbers of state and local government officials. Information on Board/Council meeting dates and times if known as well as population, real estate tax rates.
  • Virginia Statistical Abstract (Center for Public Service, University of Virginia; available online as VaStatHA686 .V57 2000 (Reference; older editions in Stacks)
    Comprehensive coverage of statistical information on topics related to the Commonwealth and its subdivisions.

Index to Current Journal Articles (1980-)

LegalTrac  (1980-present, updated daily)

  • Indexes articles from nearly 900 legal journals, bar association publications, law reviews, and legal newspapers. Includes book reviews.
  • Also partially available in print under the title Current Law Index. Z66 .C87 (Reference) (1980-2007, no longer updated)
  • Potential Subject Headings:
    • Cities and Towns
    • Municipal Corporations
Select Local Government Law Journals:

Electronic Databases

The Law Library subscribes to a number of electronic databases that include resources for research in local government law.

Lexis Advance

Resources in local government law can be found by navigating these paths from the Lexis Advance home page:

  • Browse Topics > Governments > Local Governments

This section is organized into topics within the particular practice area. Lexis Advance allows users to either search within these topics or view documents (such as cases, legislation, administrative materials, secondary resources, and company information) related to the topics.


Local government law resources on Westlaw can be found by following these paths from the Westlaw home page:

  • Practice Areas > Municipal Law

Westlaw organizes topics by type of documents (such as cases, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, and forms). Clicking on any document type allows you to either search within that document type or select individual documents by topic. 

Other Resources

Local Government Websites

Planning, development, budget, public records, meeting agendas and dates, etc. can be found on many localities' websites.

  • Commonwealth of Virginia’s Home Page

    The path Government > Federal and Local > Localities provides links to Virginia cities, counties, and communities on the Internet, and includes legislative information, information technology resources, state government Internet addresses.

  • The Institute of Government Information at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
    The University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is a research and training organization focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Center provides objective information, data, research, technical assistance, and practical training to state and local officials, community leaders, and members of the general public. The Cooper Center's 35-member staff includes experts in public management, demography, economics and public finance, political science, organizational development, workforce issues, and minority affairs.

  • National City Government Resource Center

    This website serves as a collection of city-related URL's from throughout the United States. For ease of reference, these internet sites have been broken down into the following categories: General City Links, Functional City Links, Regional City Links, and Other City-related Links for those sites that do not fit neatly into these categories. You may check-out most cities in the United States on this page by using either CityGuide and/or CityNet.

  • State and Local Government on the Net

    A Piper Resources guide to government sponsored Internet sites.

  • The Virtual Library of Virginia

    VIVA is a consortium of academic libraries offering a wealth of information on the Internet for students attending participating institutions.


Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc.
Administrative Office
Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia
11 South 12th Street, Suite 225
Richmond, Virginia 23219-4035
(804) 371-0202

Local Government Institute
1231 Farallone Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98466
(253) 565-6253 fax: (253) 565-2575
email: info@lgi.org

National Civic League
190 E. 9th Avenue, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80203

(303) 571-4343

International Municipal Lawyers' Association
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1440
Bethesda, MD 20814
(202) 466-5424 
email: info@imla.org

National League of Cities
1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20004-1763
(877) 827-2385

Virginia Association of Counties
1207 East Main Street, Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23219-3627
(804) 788-6652 fax: (804) 788-0083

Virginia Chamber of Commerce
919 East Main Street, Suite 900
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 644-1607 fax:(804) 783-6112
email: info@vachamber.com 

Virginia Institute of Government
11 South 12th Street, Suite 225
Richmond, Virginia 23219-4035
(804) 371-0202 fax:(804) 371-0234
email: tep3e@virginia.edu or bee2u@virginia.edu 

Virginia Local Government Management Association (VLGMA)
Virginia Municipal League
P.O. Box 12164
Richmond, VA 23241
(804) 649-8471

Virginia Municipal League
13 East Franklin Street
P.O. Box 12164
Richmond, VA 23241
(804) 649-8471 fax: (804) 343-3758

Other associations may be found in the Encyclopedia of Associations (Lexis Advance).