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Free and Low Cost Legal Research  

Legal research can be effective and low cost (or free). There are options available beyond Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law. This guide helps identify several alternatives
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Books on Legal Research

Cover Art
Legal Research: how to find & understand the law - Elias, Stephen
Call Number: KF242.A1 E43 2012
ISBN: 1413310524
Publication Date: 2012

Cover Art
Legal Research Explained 2e - Deborah E. Bouchoux
Call Number: KF240
ISBN: 0735587671
Publication Date: 2010-05-07

Where to Find Legal Information

The Internet has made it possible to access much more legal information for little or no cost.  Much of the information is published by the government.  In addition to being free, this is often the best source of information.  This legal information is usually Primary Law.  Primary Law is the name for resources that are the law: examples include statutes and cases.  Secondary Sources are not as readily available: these are things that are about the law, sometimes providing interpretations and explanations.


Warning - Be Careful Researching Online

Not everything on the internet is reliable.  Be careful in selecting the websites you choose for research.  Some things to look for:

  • Who is the author?  Is it an official government document?
  • The Domain - does the web address end in .gov, .edu, .mil or .org?  These websites will usually be more reliable for legal research than those ending in .com.
  • When was the website last updated?  Legal information changes frequently so updates can be critical.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The information and links provided on are NOT intended to provide legal advice and should NOT be treated as such. The Legal Information Center gives no assurance or guarantee to the accuracy of the information provided on this website, including but not limited to, typographical errors, inaccurate descriptions of external websites, or broken or changed links.

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