8 of the Best Free Research Tools
Free Sources of Primary Law
Is winning with free legal research tools possible?
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Running a law firm on a budget is challenging. If you’re a solo attorney or small law firm, it may feel impossible at times to compete against large law. However, solo attorneys and boutique law firms are uniquely positioned to serve clients well with dedicated expertise. In fact, the article “Litigating Against Goliath: How Small Firms Can Compete Against Big Law Budgets" from the American Bar Association posits, “clients are better served by a single, capable lawyer on a shoestring budget than by a team of ’good enough’ lawyers with fancy stuff.”
How can you capitalize on your expertise and succeed without the “fancy stuff?” Free legal research tools are one way to minimize your spending. When used strategically, they can still help you win in court and delight your clients. This article lists some of the best free legal research tools available, as well as some free direct sources of primary law, before closing with additional recommended resources. As a note, while this list is compiled with attorneys in mind, it may be helpful if you’re seeking legal advice for free.
Without further ado, here are seven of the best free legal research tools.
Perhaps, you left the days of free, complete access to large research software platforms behind in law school, and now you’re running your own law firm. You may be asking, now what? As costly technology improves, free legal research tools have improved, too. What does that mean for you? You can now find a number of quality free resources. This is especially true if you have membership to a Bar association, many of which will provide access to a legal research platform as a part of your membership dues. Below, we’ve listed eight of the best free sites.
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If you can’t find the primary law you need on any of the sources above, there are a number of websites that primarily function to provide free access to case law and other sources of primary law:
While these sites give direct access to primary law, they don’t provide the same helpful features and guides as the seven research tools we initially listed. If you use them, it’s important to understand the limitations. For example, you will need a way to confirm that the law is “good” before you bring it before a judge.
Now you know where to look, but you may still wonder if you can build a winning case with these tools. It’s understandable to be worried about succeeding in court without spending top dollar on a suite of legal research products. As technology improves and expands, the pressure to spend money on products that promise to increase both speed and accuracy grows with it.
The truth is that this technology can help – paid tools offer a wealth of vetted resources and guidance from experts in the field and can streamline workflows with cutting-edge search functionalities. Even still, costly research tools are not a substitute for your own skill, expertise, and writing abilities. If you are familiar with the pros and cons of using free research tools, you can certainly find success in the courtroom, while sticking within your budget.
Looking for more resources? There are a number of additional free legal resources you can use to stay up-to-date on legal news pertinent to your case, such as legal blogs and information portals. Check out this list of free legal resources offered through LexisNexis, including the U.S. Voting Laws & Legislation Center and the Access to Justice newsletter offered through Law360.
Ultimately, LexisNexis is here to help you with your research needs. While we offer a range of legal research products, we are committed to helping solo attorneys and small law firms succeed. If you’re interested in free legal news, practice tips, and more, the LexisNexis Legal Insights blog is available to anyone.
Ready to make an investment in your firm’s legal research? Contact us to build a custom legal research plan.
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