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Free and Low Cost Legal Research: Home

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

Books on Legal Research

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.