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Free Legal Research Online

BY: joe Kruk | Category: Education | Submitted: 2010-03-09 06:54:13
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Article Summary: "This article focuses on legal and related research resources that are available for free on the web through various search engines and publicly accessible websites..."


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This article focuses on legal and related research resources that are available for free on the web through various search engines and publicly accessible websites. I am an attorney and law professor, and this information is provided to assist attorneys, students and the public in conducting legal and related research. I have included some of the best useful direct research links in the website referenced below. The legal research links are well organized by, state, all states and federal law and there are also subcategories for each major section. The site is continually updated with new and revised material. You can visit this site at: lakelandlawyers.yolasite.com/ to instantly access the free research materials.

There are a large number of web resources for conducting legal research on the web. Most notably are Lexis and Westlaw that provide a plethora of state and federal materials for a monthly sub script ion fee. Both these sites do a tremendous job of organizing, finding, validating and retrieving legal document. and many other related materials. However, there are plenty of sites containing free searchable databases that can be very useful to the attorney, paralegal or legal researcher. Several of these sites are outlined below, you can also find a comprehensive list of organized direct links to the research sites by going to my site and scrolling to the "legal research" section. The legal research section contains multiple searchable databases for case law, statutes, court rules, law reviews and much more. A couple of the sites listed require you to create a free account but it is well worth the minimal effort.

Government Websites:

A wealth of legal information can be located in federal, state and local government websites. It is a good idea to bookmark these sites for easy reference. These sites will allow you to contact government agencies quickly and efficiently. Most all government websites will have links to the judiciary including links to all state and federal courts. In addition the court websites usually contain access to state district, state supreme court and federal circuit case law opinions, searchable by date, party, or key word. In addition you can locate and search statutes, constitutions and many other materials. Court websites may also allow you to access all court dockets as well as all pleadings that have been filed in a case. This feature can be very useful by providing templates for drafting routine and complex pleadings. To quickly locate all state government websites including court web sites by state, visit the above referenced site.

Other Free Leal Research Websites:

In addition to government websites, there are several impressive sites containing searchable databases of state and federal law. For instance, Findlaw and Megalaw provide comprehensive databases for locating case law, statutes, forms and many other resources. Google Scholar is a useful resource that contains an abundance of full text state and federal case law, citations, articles and much more. Law school websites can also provide great resources for locating legal materials.

Check your local state Bar association, they may provide free web based research resources such as FastCase and online state bar journals. Bar Journals cannot be overemphasized, journal articles can provide you with a wealth of case law and an, analytical framework to assist you in your research. By visiting the above referenced site, you can link to free searchable databases containing state and federal case law as well as statutes, constitutions and court rules. There is an additional link section for other research materials such as journals, legal dictionarys, legal encyclopedias and periodicals.

Related Research Sites:

Law Enforcement; Fire/ Rescue and Hospitals:
Criminal law attorneys ,Personal Injury attorneys, paralegals and others will find it helpful to be able to quickly contact law enforcement, emergency agencies and hospitals. It is a good idea to have this contact information readily available. These institutions can provide much needed information to assist in criminal and civil investigations and to aid in assessing the merits of a personal injury case. Much of this information is public record and can be easily accessed or requested.

Often clients seek local legal representation though the alleged crime or injury event may have occurred in another jurisdiction, even outside the state. Law enforcement can provide police reports, fire departments can provide results of investigations as to the cause of the fire, and hospitals can provide medical records. You can link directly to national databases for, police, sheriff, fire department and hospitals by visiting the above reference web site.

Free Public Records/ People and Business Locator Sites:

The list of locator sites on the web is virtually endless, most of these sites charge a fee for their services and in some cases it is necessary to pay for a comprehensive search or hire a private investigator. There are a number of websites, however, that provide a surprising amount of information regarding an individual or business free of charge. For example, some sites will display, name, address, phone, age, neighbors, relatives, satellite or 3D interactive photo of the residence (aerial or street level), profession, work address, map, published articles, web pages and more!

A staple locator tool is an online phone book with reverse phone number and reverse address capabilities. Other free sites can be used to locate businesses. Registered corporations can usually be quickly located by going to a states corporations web page that displays name, address, registered agent and other information. Public records databases can be used to locate people and business, assets, real property, marriage and divorce records and much more. Interactive maps are also a great locator source and can provide detailed geographic images. You can find direct links to some of the best locator and public records databases that I have found at the above referenced site, there are also two popular map sites and a world phone book. Scroll to "global search tools".

News and Information Sites:

Information on your legal topic may be found in the local, national or international news media. You may also need to contact the news media to get more information, to report news or submit an article. Most news organizations broadcast online video content that can be easily viewed or incorporated into your research. To link to some of the major news sources including news video, visit my site. Simply scroll to "newspapers" or "broadcast news". News stories are a good way to quickly keep yourself abreast of topics that you may be interested in. Another fun social resource is Justin tv, the site has a selection of video channels of interest including news and allows you to share your thoughts with other viewers.

I sincerely, hope this information is helpful in assisting you with your research. If you have a suggested research source please email me at the address located at lakelandlawyers.yolasite.com/ and I will be happy to review your suggestion for inclusion, no spam please. Specifically, I am looking for law and related searchable databases that are user friendly and free or mostly free. Thanks for reading and best wishes for your successful researching.

About Author / Additional Info:
Florida attorney and legal studies professor

Comments on this article: (1 comments so far)

Comment Comment By Comment Date
Second paragraph, third line - should be legal document . not document. Nice article. BETS 2010-03-09 06:40:15 33

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