R+W Legal Consultants

Research + Writing Tools for Today's Litigators

  • As I discuss in my online CLE on free legal research, Justia now provides summaries of cases from all federal circuit courts and most state supreme courts. These summaries—which are delivered to your inbox—briefly describe the facts and holdings of each opinion and are tagged by practice areas.

  • In my online and live CLE on free legal research, I discuss the many benefits of using Google Scholar. This post addresses one of those benefits.

    Most free services do not allow users to run searches with proximity connectors. Thus, if you want to find cases where “warrantless” and “search” and “vehicle” appear in the same sentence or paragraph, you generally cannot. But Google Scholar has a little-known proximity connector—AROUND.

  • If you have spent at least 10 minutes reading my blog, then you know that I enjoy discussing free websites for legal research. In a prior post, I explained that Justia will deliver weekly summaries of recent cases to your email. Today, you will learn about another service that provides case summaries. (I am presuming that you will click the “read more” button below).

  • I love including explanatory parentheticals with my citations in motions and briefs. In fact, I wrote the first law review article on how to persuade judges using parentheticals. I was thrilled when I discovered wellsettled.com, a new search engine that allows researchers to keyword search the text of the parentheticals used in court opinions.

  • Do you want to retrieve federal dockets for free? You have an option—RECAP. It is an innovative—and free—alternative to the federal courts’ official online retrieval system, PACER.

  • Well, I promised you an explanation of why Google Scholar will not put LexisNexis or Westlaw out of business. Here is the promised post.

    1. You cannot use proximity connectors. Thus, if you want to find cases where “tortious interference” appears in the same sentence or paragraph as “improper conduct,” you cannot. But Google Scholar does have one little known proximity connector—AROUND.

  • If you have not tried Google Scholar for your legal research needs, you should. This post will explain why—or fail trying.

    1. It is free. We all like free research, right?

    2. You can find federal and state cases with Google Scholar’s powerful search algorithm (similar to WestlawNext and Lexis Advance), and it will likely return relevant results even if you do not use the proper search terms. Its algorithm works best for issues that are commonly litigated.

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