THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH
LawCrossing General Counsel Consulting Career Feature
Low-Cost or Free Online Legal Research Resources Often in small firms, corporate counsels have to handle a multitude of tasks and not all businesses can afford the costs of WestLaw or Lexis-Nexis. Such a situation leaves corporate counsel constrained to do research at their own cost and fumbling to manage. Many a time, only a single account is arranged by the company making it difficult to allow concurrent access of online research to other staff and reducing productivity. Since the responsibility of doing the legal research is ultimately that of the corporate counsel it is immensely helpful to be aware of certain online resources that are truly useful and mostly free. This article mentions a few of the online resources and tools we have found useful when unable to access commercial databases.
Google Patents: (http://www.google.com/
PACER (http://www.pacer.gov/): The Public Access to
?tbm=pts&hl=en) For those in Intellectual property
Court Electronic Records has recently increased fees
law, Google Patents is an excellent resource for finding
to $.10 per page of access. Though this rate is many
information. To narrow down your search, try the
times higher than the actual costs to run the system, it
Advanced Patent Search at http://www.google.com/
is still many times lower than commercial alternatives.
advanced_patent_search. Resource.org: This non-profit works with other The Federal Register (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/
organizations and Princeton to make legal documents
browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR): Run by
and court records available to the public. The website
the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives
also has services like streaming media access to the
and Records Administration (NARA), this is the official
House of Representatives, and other facilities that
publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of
would charm you.
Federal agencies and organizations. The Federal Register provides access to all executive orders and presidential
This list would hardly be complete without mention
documents on top of bare Acts and Statutes.
of The Internet Archive which is a non-profit and the people who conceived The Wayback Machine. Unless
Google Scholar and Google Books: No need to
you use it, you wouldnâ€™t know what you had been
consider these resources separately, both the Google
Scholar and Google Books provide excellent search facilities and access to documents and books of various
There is a great chance that you already know of
types on relevant subjects. You can find court cases
these resources, but there is a greater chance that as
just by entering the name of the lawsuit in most cases.
a corporate counsel, you have never felt the need to use free and independent resources. Giving them a
Cornell Legal Information Institute (http://www.
try and learning your way around can sometimes yield
law.conell.edu): A treasure house on Federal law,
better results than relying solely on commercial law
including Federal Rules, Code of Federal Regulations,
databases. Anyway cross-verification of information
the U.S. Code, uniform model laws etcetera. There are
is written into the bones of every good lawyer and
topical sections and blogs on particular subjects as well
familiarity with alternative resources of information can
as scholarly documents. Cornell also provides state-
always come in handy.
specific information including state-wise judicial and legislative documents.
Published on Oct 5, 2012