Friday, July 22, 2011

Legal Research After Law School – Free & Alternative Resources

After the “free” access to Westlaw and LexisNexis is no longer available, what is a newly graduated law student to do when asked to do legal research?  I’m sure that a librarian at some point during their law school career encouraged them to explore the many free and low-cost alternatives to Wexis, but it never gets more real than when they hit the firms.

Here is a link to our library’s guide to free internet legal resources.  One tip I give students is to look to a law library’s website as a gathering place for information like this.  If they find themselves needing to do research in a different jurisdiction, look to the law school libraries in that jurisdiction for guides.  Our Minnesota guide is here.   Most law school libraries have a wealth of information on their websites that is useful for practitioners. 

New graduates should also be aware of services that may be available through their local bar association.  Many states have included CaseMaker or FastCase as part of their bar membership. 

I would also encourage recent graduates to consult with their law firm/corporate librarian when they need research assistance.  If that is not an option (and even if it is) the librarians at their alma mater are another resource they should keep in mind!


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