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Georgetown Law Library

Legal Forms Research Guide

This guide provides law students and practitioners with a variety of resources for finding legal forms.


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Practicing lawyers often require sample versions of standard legal documents known as model forms or legal forms. These model instruments offer suggested terminology and other essential details required in formal legal documents.

This guide distinguishes between legal forms and pleading and practice forms. This guide primarily provides resources for the former. Legal forms address substantive matters, such as forms for contracts, wills, leases, etc. Pleading and practice forms provide language used in pleadings and motions filed with a court in litigation and supply language for complaints, answers, and motions. For help finding examples of pleadings and motions filed with a court, see the Briefs, Oral Arguments and Other Court Documents Research Guide.

Generally, you should use legal forms as a starting place and then tailor to your specific needs. While they are labor-saving devices for attorneys, forms are written in response to the requirements of the law in a specific transactional, jurisdictional, or procedural setting, so be sure to always check that the form has been adapted or can be adapted to comply with the requirements of the jurisdiction in which they are to be used.

There are sets of forms for federal practice, most states (check our individual state research guides under "Practice Materials" for more information), and specialized subject areas. Some form sets include annotations, checklists, and citations to cases in which the forms were used. Most law firms also maintain in-house collections of forms relating to their specific areas of practice.

As you begin drafting, keep in mind these helpful Tips for Achieving Clarity in Contract Drafting, a resource provided by the Writing Center at Georgetown University Law Center.

Finding Forms Using the Law Library Catalog

There are many different ways to use the catalog to find form books. A general title search that contains the words forms and the subject area you are interested in can be effective. For example, bankruptcy forms. Take note of the selected dropdown features in the search filters below.

To find form books for a particular state, you might run a subject heading search in the Law Library's catalog for the name of your state and the word forms. For example, Forms (Law) -- Virginia

Finding Forms on Lexis

Lexis Research - Sample Forms

  • Lexis has forms on their traditional research platform. You can search these forms by navigating under Content > Sample Forms. You can also search by jurisdiction and practice area.

Lexis Practical Guidance

  • How to Access: From the main platform, use the product switcher (grid icon) at the top left hand corner to navigate to Practical Guidance, or use the icons to the left hand side of the page.

  • From Lexis' Practice Guidance platform, you can choose from a number of practice areas such as "Corporate and M&A" and "Trusts & Estates." Each subject page provides helpful drafting resources organized by topic such as template forms, practice notes, and checklists.
  • For additional training resources, see Tools & Resources > Training Videos, or visit the Lexis Practical Guidance Resource Page to learn more.

Finding Forms on Westlaw

Westlaw Form Finder

  • On the main search page, access the Form Finder by navigating Content Types > Forms. This category page contains text forms, fillable PDF forms, clauses and checklists available on Westlaw from numerous national and state form sets, including legal and business, transactional, litigation and pleading and practice forms. You can search all forms, or further limit your search by jurisdiction, practice area, or publication type.

Westlaw Sample Agreements

  • On the main search page, from Content types, scroll down to Speciality areas > Sample Agreements. Sample Agreements provides access executed business agreements with language, clauses, and provisions drafted by leading law firms and in-house counsel. Agreements are sourced from EDGAR (SEC) filings, and coverage begins in 2000. You can search all sample agreements or limit your search by practice area.

Practical Law

  • From the main platform, navigate to the top left hand corner and click on the down arrow.

  • Practical Law provides access to helpful resources such as standard documents (forms) and clauses, practice notes, and checklists.  You can do a universal search in Practical Law or limit your search by practice area or resource type.

Finding Forms on Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Practice Centers

  • Navigate to a practice area under Practice Centers.

  • You can access different types of forms and drafting guidance for a number of topics by choosing the "Practice Centers" tab, then picking a practice area and, once in a practice area, transactional resources such as forms, clauses, and sample documents, are provided under various "blocks." Look for blocks titled Practical Guidance and Practice Tools first.

Transactional Intelligence Center

  • Use the Transactional Intelligence Center to access drafting tools such as the Precedent Database and Draft Analyzer.
  • Under Drafting Tools, you can conduct a transactional precedent search to search documents and clauses taken from exhibits filed with the SEC and classified by Bloomberg Law to help you find tailored transaction precedents. Use Draft Analyzer to discover similarities and variances from your drafted language to the most common language for similar documents filed with the SEC as an EDGAR exhibit.
  • Also navigate additional tools under Transactional Practical Guidance and Contract Drafting Practical Guidance to search sample agreements and utilize drafting guides. 

Finding Forms Using Practising Law Institute (PLI PLUS)

Practising Law Institute (PLI) conducts continuing legal education sessions for practitioners and focuses on transactional law. Their published coursebooks, treatises and deskbooks contain practice guidance and relevant forms. PLI PLUS provides users with access to PLI's e-book library of treatises, forms, and more. 

  • Using the Search tab, click on "Forms & Checklists" to search by keyword, title or practice area.
  • Or using the Browse tab, navigate to "Forms & Checklists" and use the filters on the left hand side to refine your search. 

Recommended Titles


  • Legal Drafting in a Nutshell (4th ed.)
    • Legal Drafting in a Nutshell provides guidance on producing transactional documents, contracts, instruments, legislation, and regulations. In this edition, each chapter has been extensively updated to incorporate current and developing perspectives regarding subjects like plain English, legal typography, and document preparation in the 21st century.

Form Sets

  • West's Legal Forms
    • West's Legal Forms provides extensive transactional forms, commentary, checklists, analysis, and expert guidance in over 14 major areas of law.
  • American Jurisprudence Legal Forms
    • American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, 2d presents a wide-ranging collection of forms, clauses, and analysis. The set covers 273 topics, A to Z.
  • Bender's Federal Practice Forms
    • Bender’s Federal Practice Forms is arranged to parallel the federal rules of procedure. As a companion to Moore’s Federal Practice, cross-references to the discussion in the treatise set are included with the forms.
  • Nichols' Cyclopedia of Legal Forms Annotated
    • Nichols Cyclopedia of Legal Forms Annotated is an encyclopedia that has a collection of more than 230 transactional legal chapters with related analysis and general legal forms.

Finding Forms Online

You can find legal forms on the internet, but be wary of costs and verify the quality of the source. Some online sources include Findlaw Forms, Upcounsel, and the IRS forms page

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Update History

Updated 6/14 (mk)
Updated 11/20 (JKK)