Why Free Legal Research?

Whatever noble aspirations led you to law school, becoming a lawyer means that you eventually will be running a business too. At the end of the day you still have to get paid and what you get paid is determined by the costs you incur. Fortunately, there are now accurate and reliable options for accessing law for free via the Internet.

Look. You’re smart.  So you should be able to understand that the people that give you those pens and mugs and candy and pizza and prizes are running a game on you.  Their products are great and they make doing legal research much easier.  But in the real world they cost a lot of money.  So they are doing whatever they can to get you hooked on their products now while they’re free for you to use in hopes that you will have no choice but to use them in the future.

Don’t fall for it.

Good Legal Research Starts with Free…

You can do it for business reasons and save your future law practice thousands of dollars. You can do it to show that you’re not a slave to the marketing machine of these companies. Or you can do it because you’ve already paid for this information once with you tax dollars. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter why you do it.

The important thing is that you CAN do it. Technological advancements and the opening of government information have made it feasible for academic institutions, non-profits and public service oriented businesses to get into the legal information game. Instead of monetary gain, they do it because they believe that everyone has a right to access primary legal information for free. It’s probably hard for a cynical law student to believe that, but it’s true.

You’re not going to be able to completely avoid commercial legal information vendors.  Some resources – such as treatises – are simply not available for free.  And since at present some of the information takes some time and finesse to find, you may find it a better use of your billable hours to get it from a paid source.

However, taking the above into consideration, you can knock out a lot of your primary law needs by using Free Law resources.  You  have several options that are just as quick and reliable as the commercial guys – the only difference is that they won’t send you a bill.