Below is a comprehensive tutorial on a range of free legal research tools, presented by folks at The John Marshall Law School. While some of the tools discussed relate to Illinois law specifically, you can find excellent information about the following resources:
- Cornell’s Wex (at 2:18);
- Justia (at 3:06);
- Findlaw (at 3:32);
- Google Scholar (at 4:48, a very thorough review); and
- The Public Library of Law (at 13:28).
This new video tutorial from the ABA is surprisingly comprehensive and focuses primarily on resources in the Law Library of Congress, the “largest law library in the world.” For international legal research, the LLoC is where it’s at. The law library is also one of the biggest online portals to legal resources available. In addition to surveying the LLoC’s website, this video also offers tutorials on Lexis’ free services, FindLaw, Google Scholar, and government websites such as the GPO’s FedSys. The presentation materials can be located here.
Here’s a summary of the presentation from the ABA:
This free program focuses on the legal research services and resources available from the Law Library of Congress, as well as several other free online collections. Following a general overview of the Law Library and its services available to lawyers, librarians, and researchers around the world, there is an explanation of the organization and content of Congress.gov and THOMAS, the Library of Congress’s federal legislative information sites, which together contain the full texts of House and Senate bills and resolutions, the
Congressional Record, and much more, starting with the 101st Congress (1989-90).
Special emphasis will be given to Congress.gov, which was launched by the Library of Congress in September 2012, and is in an initial beta phase, with plans to transform the Library of Congress’s existing congressional information system into a modern, durable, and user-friendly resource. Eventually, it will incorporate all of the information available on THOMAS.
Learn about the Law Library’s global research services, its vast collections in 195 languages from over 220 jurisdictions worldwide, and its expert staff equipped to answer your legal research questions.
The program also highlights other free, yet trustworthy, online legal collections and search engines, such as the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, the University of California, Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project, HG.org, FindLaw, Justia, LexisWeb, Google Scholar, and a number of others products.
From Law Technology Today: “Google is known for constantly working to upgrade and improve its services – and Google Scholar is no exception. Often these improvements are introduced with little or no announcement or documentation. Some of these “improvements” are for the better and some are not.
The first change at Google Scholar that is NOT for the better is that it’s now harder to find because it’s no longer located on the “More” drop-down menu. Instead, to navigate to Google Scholar you’ll need to click the “More” tab and then “Even More” (see Illustration 1).”
Check out these useful tutorials for researching case law using Google Scholar, courtesy of the Wisconsin State Law Library Learning Center’s YouTube channel.