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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Does Anyone Pay for Legal Research Anymore??

Do you even know of anyone who does? For me: no & no...seriously. I think the last time I used a paid legal research provider was working at a large Loop firm at a summer job during law school in 2001.

Here's an overview of the "opening" of the legal research field. Now that Public.Resource.Org has filed all federal cases back to 1950, along with Cornell Law School's groundbreaking Legal Information Institute, the federal systems mostly all there.

On the state level, the IL Supreme Court has opinions posted going back to 1996. Free Fastcase is one of the best reasons to join the ISBA.


At 8:50 PM, Blogger Carolyn Elefant said...

Back in 2000, I wrote this piece -http://www.law.com/jsp/printerfriendly.jsp?c=LawArticle&t=PrinterFriendlyArticle&cid=1015973966238 about using the Internet for free legal research. Unfortunately, I have found that in my area of specialization -federal court practice and regulatory work - there are still no suitable free or low cost tools. I need to access CCH reports that contain federal and state public utility decisions and unfortunately, the only game in town is LEXIS or Westlaw. Similarly, while I have used both Versuslaw and Fastcase and support them both as challengers to the WEXIS duopoly, at the end of the day, I don't think that either one is sufficiently reliable in one area - federal district caselaw. That's another area where Westlaw and Lexis have a huge advantage. I know that Fastcase and Versuslaw are making huge strides, but even today, I would not recommend relying on those sources alone for a motions based, federal district court practice. Still, I do agree - we have come such a long way that it is viable for those with a state based practice to rely exclusively on free search tools.


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