10 Alternative Legal Research Sites
By Kristopher A. Nelson
in May 2009
400 words / 2 min. Looking for alternatives to expensive legal research through Westlaw and LexisNexis? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of ten alternative sources for legal research (aimed primarily at lawyers and law students) that are useful - and much cheaper.
Note: this post is from 2009. Evaluate with care and in light of later events.
Looking for alternatives to expensive legal research through Westlaw and LexisNexis? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of ten alternative sources for legal research (aimed primarily at lawyers and law students) that are useful – and much cheaper:
1. Quimbee – a case brief database.
2. PreCYdent – an “open law source” and legal opinion search.
3. SSRN – an ideal source for cutting-edge legal scholarship (and a repository of older articles too).
4. AltLaw – free access to federal case law, but not as up-to-date as other sources.
5. FindLaw – free access to case law, provided by Westlaw‘s owner.
6. LexisONE – Lexis’ answer to West’s FindLaw: the last ten years of state and federal court opinions, and U.S. Supreme Court opinions from 1781 to present, all free.
7. VersusLaw – inexpensive subscription alternative to LexisNexis and Westlaw (federal and state appellate case law).
8. Fastcase – subscription-based online case law research service, providing access to law, court cases, statutes, and regulations, at reason.
9. CALI – The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction provides free online training in most law school subjects.
10. Your local law library – paper and electronic resources, plus librarians who can help:
- Find a law library in California
- Counties often have public law libraries
- Many law schools have law libraries open to the public
For help with conducting legal research, ask a law librarian or consult the Gallagher Law Library’s legal research guide. If you are not a lawyer but still need to do legal research, you might also find it useful to read How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers.
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