A common research project given to summer associates and interns is to conduct a 50 state / multistate survey of a particular legal topic.
One free online resource that you'll definitely want to keep in mind for this sort of work comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The NCSL is a bipartisan organization that provides research and technical assistance to state legislators and staff in all fifty states. As a result, their Issues and Resources page is a great resource to consult when you need to compare treatment of a legal issue across different states.
Topics covered include:
- Agriculture & Rural Development
- Banking, Insurance & Financial Services
- Budget & Tax
- Civil & Criminal Justice
- Economic Development, Gambling and Trade
- Environment & Natural Resources
- Human Services
- Labor & Employment
- Telecommunications & Information Technology