Best Free Legal Research Tools for Lawyers 2023
Where does a legal professional start their research for a project? How can one find relevant case law in moments? Are free online legal tools or platforms reliable? These questions are common when you only start investigating legal topics for your academic study or job report.
Legal research can be stressful. However, it is an inevitable part of crafting a winning argument. Luckily, in a profession swamped with legal technology, you don’t need to rely on old-school legal research. Free legal research web sites can save you not only expensive hours of work but also ensure that attorneys work with reliable legal research tools.
8 Best Free Legal Tools
The following law web sites for research can significantly streamline your study workflow and help you delve deeper into legal news, legal journals, and other industry knowledge:
United States Code
Today, you can find the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States online at this link. It is an easily accessible compilation of most public law regulations that are in force to date. With the navigation system, you can conduct fielded searches by the popular name of a statute, the public law number, or a specific term or phrase.
Legal Information Institute
The non-profit services of Cornell Law School provide free access to modern American and international legal research tools online. The organization was among the first pioneers to contribute to developments and the online delivery of legal information. You can find free access to primary full-text legal materials of Supreme Court decisions, decisions of the Court of Appeals and other federal courts, and acts of the legislature, including links to worldwide jurisdictions and state cases. There are also many secondary materials — a browsable legal dictionary and legal encyclopedia.
CourtListener is an online legal research tool with millions of legal opinions from federal and state courts. You can research a critical case from the comfort of your office, stay updated on new legal opinions, and use the website’s raw data for a deeper analysis. All you need to do is enter your keywords or citation information into the search box on the main page.
One of the most beneficial aspects of CourtListener is the Cited By feature, which allows users to find links to other opinions available on CourtListener. This feature can significantly streamline a lawyer’s research.
Legal Citation Generator
Anyone writing and citing legal material knows how tedious it can be to spend hours searching for reliable references. Legal Citation Generator is the leading tool to handle this part of legal research.
You can access the information you need to support your legal research in just a few clicks. Consequently, you will have more time to work on your case. All you need to do is enter the citation of the source you want to find, and this legal citation generator will create a list of credible links to peer-reviewed websites within seconds. With this legal research tool, you can quickly reach the requested legal document and save time for other tasks.
Law Guru is considered an intuitive search engine providing accurate results and up-to-date legal information. The platform’s user interface is one of those features making the legal research source deliver only necessary results and stand out among the others. Law Guru suits skilled legal professionals and law students who don’t want to waste their time redundantly browsing the net.
Probably, it’s one of the best and most popular jumping-off points for legal research. Unlike the tools mentioned above, FindLaw does not have a comprehensive base. However, this legal research tool will provide a general overview of various legal topics that can contribute to your further legal research project.
Decisis is an all-in-one legal research tool connecting robust searches for legal cases and citations. In this database, you can find two major catalogs comprising court rules, codes, and more elements related to state and federal law. Also, Decisis provides tutorial videos about its features.
This tool works perfectly for many experienced legal professionals, from solo lawyers to law firms which are members of bar associations.
Annually, the legal research capabilities of Google Scholar are constantly improving. Google Scholar’s fully searchable case law revolutionized legal research in 2009, which helped it become one of the best free legal software tools among users. After this legal search engine appeared, lawyers could search vast case law databases from their offices for free. With Google Scholar, legal research and citation double-checking have never been that easy.
Other Free Online Legal Research Tools
There are other legal research tools to find the necessary legal information online in a few clicks:
- Legal blogs;
- Court websites; and
- Bar associations.
Legal blogs are admittedly not 100 percent suitable tools for legal research. However, with critical thinking and analytical skills, lawyers can double-check whether the information in legal blogs is credible. These resources provide a basic understanding of any legal topic before committing to deeper research.
For example, Lawrina legal blog includes articles for lawyers and legal clients on various legal topics. Readers can learn more about law amendments and legal case practices from lawyers sharing their thoughts on the blog, plus legaltech updates and legal marketing tips. The audience can use the information from the blog articles to understand their legal issues better and clearly explain them to an attorney.
Almost every state court has a website now. The system of search on these websites is sometimes extensive, but a few of these sites need to be improved. However, you can rely on law websites for research to get basic information about parties, judges, and court rules. All these legal information details can become valuable legal research tools in lawyer workflow.
Lawyers can find free access to legal research tools by joining bar associations. Every association offers its set of tools, so you should check whether the provided legal research tools will work for you and can help you streamline your research. The suggested applications that initially require some budget are free of charge for bar association members.
With these 2023 free legal research resources, you can stop associating legal research with stress. It’s not the time spent on legal research that matters but the quality and efficiency. Try any of the mentioned legal research tools yourself to decide which one will be your perfect match. Some may require paid subscriptions, but they may become a wise financial investment.
Additionally, be careful with other free legal research sites and always double-check the credibility of the information provided. Sometimes, you can find valuable information for your research, even by listening to legal podcasts. Curiosity is often the key to success. It is always wiser to find out than to speculate, especially regarding legal research.
An interesting & very useful legal newsletter