Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Free Online Legal Databases (Some Even Searchable)

This article at law.com highlights several sites offering free access to databases of federal statutes and case law. Some are simply a repository of opinions, which can be handy if all you want to do is pull up a case.
Another project, still in early testing, aims to give this growing body of public-domain law a sophisticated search engine comparable to those of commercial legal databases. Already, the developers of this experimental legal search engine, called PreCYdent, claim their tests outperform "by a wide margin" Westlaw natural language search, not to mention other commercial databases.

And then there's this:

Not to be outdone, at least one commercial publisher is getting aboard the free-law bandwagon. On Feb. 13, Fastcase, the company that provided Public.Research.Org with all those cases, unveiled an even larger free library of cases, statutes, regulations, court rules and legal forms. Called The Public Library of Law, it claims to be "the most comprehensive free resource for legal research online."

PLOL includes all the federal cases Fastcase provided to Public.Research.Org, plus appellate cases from all 50 states from 1997 forward. In addition, it has all states' statutes and court rules, selected states' regulations or administrative codes, the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations and court rules.

Read the whole article for more.



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