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Free and Low-cost Online Legal Research. Tina S. Ching Reference Librarian. February 28, 2006. Real World Costs of Lexis and Westlaw… sort of. Access in Law School Billing Clients Overhead Costs Rate Increases Examples of Pricing. Pay versus Free. Search Function Annotations

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Free and low cost online legal research l.jpg

Free and Low-cost Online Legal Research

Tina S. Ching

Reference Librarian

February 28, 2006


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Real World Costs of Lexis and Westlaw… sort of

  • Access in Law School

  • Billing Clients

  • Overhead Costs

  • Rate Increases

  • Examples of Pricing


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Pay versus Free

  • Search Function

  • Annotations

  • Lag Time

  • Information for your Clients

  • Not everything is online

  • Not everything can be bought


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Starting Points

  • Free sites that provide access or links to various types of legal information

  • Does not always have good searching capabilities

  • May need to register

  • May be owned by major publisher


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Starting Points - FindLaw

Cases

Codes

News

Links

Forms

Directory

Jobs

http://www.findlaw.com/


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Starting Points - lexisone

Cases

Codes

News

Links

Forms

Directory

Jobs

http://www.lexisone.com/


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Starting Points - LII

Cases

Codes

News

Links

Directory

http://www.law.cornell.edu/


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Starting Points - GPO Access

Bills

Regulations

U.S. Code

Public Laws

Reports

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/


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Cases

  • May be able to search multiple states at once

  • Date ranges of available cases vary

  • Keyword and Boolean searching may be available

  • May link to court’s website



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Cases - FindLaw

Miranda

“motion picture” near copyright


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Cases - Court Websites

http://www.supreme.state.az.us/opin/

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/


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Briefs

  • Briefs are not always available even with Westlaw

  • Supreme Court briefs are easier to find for free

  • Older briefs may only be available in print or microfiche


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Briefs

http://curiae.law.yale.edu/

http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/supreme_court/resources.html


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Court Rules

  • Court Rules are free  But no annotations 

  • Check the court’s website for a link to court rules

  • May have to “register” to access information

  • Access may be through publisher (i.e. West)


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Court Rules - Arizona

http://azrules.westgroup.com/home/azrules/default.wl




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Statutes and Bills

  • Available for free!

  • No annotations

  • Not all info may be available

  • Older materials may not be available


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Statutes - U.S. Code

http://uscode.house.gov/


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Statutes - Arizona

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/



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Bills - Thomas

http://thomas.loc.gov/



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Regulations

  • Federal Register has final rules and regulations, proposed rules and notices of administrative actions (such as hearings)

  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is an annual subject compilation of the rules and regulations




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Regulations - Agency Web Site

http://www.epa.gov/epahome/lawregs.htm


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Arizona Regulations

http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/


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California Regulations

http://www.oal.ca.gov/


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Washington Regulations

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/


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City Ordinances

  • Not always available in Print

  • Usually linked to City’s website


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Tempe City Code

http://www.tempe.gov/citycode/



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Secondary Sources

  • Mostly written for the public

  • Great for clients who want to do some research

  • Great for attorneys or students who want general information

  • Limited Information



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Secondary Sources - Nolo

http://www.nolo.com/


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Secondary Sources - ABA

http://www.abanet.org/public.html


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Secondary Sources - State Bar

http://www.azbar.org/LegalResources/brochures.cfm


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Low Cost Alternatives

  • More advanced search functions than free resources

  • Can search multiple databases at once

  • Access to more secondary resources

  • Do not expect Lexis or Westlaw


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Low Cost Alternatives - LoisLaw

http://www.loislaw.com/


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http://www.thelaw.net/

http://www.itislaw.com/

https://www.fastcase.com/Corporate/Home.aspx

http://www.versuslaw.com/

Other Low Cost Alternatives


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http://www.law.asu.edu/Library/researchguides

Don’t Forget your Local Law Library

  • Access to paid databases usually only in the library

    • Westlaw Patron Access

    • Academic Universe

    • Congressional Universe

  • Research Guides often available online

  • Portals – links to free and subscription databases


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