I know I know. You don’t really want free alternatives for those costly legal research services that you have been using since Bowzer was a pup and the World Wide Web was only a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye. I know how that reassuring logo on the top of your downloaded cases, statutes and articles warms your heart and brightens your smile. I know how you have been researching for years and know all there is to know about how to get in the know.
But just in case you might want some of the free and available information of the legal variety, head on over to the Georgetown Law Library for a current list of near comprehensive proportion of free and low cost alternatives for legal research. Heck, the list even includes some low cost offerings by the Big Two. I guess if you can’t beat them, well, you know what to do.
There is a handy Table of Contents along the left side of the page and the more detailed list and tables taking up most of the right. Of course, there is case law broken up by court, state and federal constitutions, federal and state codes and session laws, a passel of legislative history, and even administrative regulations. The low cost alternatives include:
While these lists keep popping up from time to time, it is always worth taking a look. Resources change as fast as Lindsay Lohan’s hair color on the web and you never know what new link might debut.
And if you are looking for some tips on how best to employ these tools in the most cost-effective manner, head over to the ABA‘s Law Practice Magazine for a great article on 10 Ways to Stretch Your Research Dollars – How To Get The Facts On A Dime. The tips include: ways to access the Big Two in a more tailored way; employ advanced search functionality on the Web; use alternative resources for public docs like court decisions; perform competitive corporate research; use sites like JDSupra to assist in preparing your own court documents; use the Web to help with off-line research; and, verify that what you find on the Web is the best source for your purposes. This is a fantastic collection of suggestions that are sure to hone and refine your skill set.
Hat tip to the Legal Writing Prof Blog and to the Ross-Blakely Law Library Blog, which never fail to come up with the goods.
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