Legal Research Website Summaries

 

Glen Dawursk, Jr. -- June 29, 2007

The first site I found for legal research was the “American Bar Association” site at http://www.abanet.org/tech/ltrc/lawlink/home.html. The ABA site’s sub-area called “lawlink” offered a well organized “jump start” approach to finding information on a plethora of legal issues and cases.  Categories on the “lawlink” area include: federal resources, state resources, international resources, legal associations, legal education, legal employment, continuing legal education, law practice technology, ethics, legal presentation, future of the legal profession, survey and statistics, legal news sources, legal research resources, business and reference resources, and electronic discovery resources.  The legal research resources section gave additional links to: Legal Information Institute: a site hosted by Cornell University's School of Law; Findlaw a free online index of legal materials; The Law Review Project: an online collection of law journals; The OYEZ Project: which contains transcripts and/or audio files of many US Supreme Court cases; LexisONE: an online legal research service with free US supreme court (1790-present) and some federal / state court (since 1996) cases; The Law and Policy Institutions Guide (Lpig.org): a collection of legal research resources and law school tools; and Virtual Law Library: a site from the University of Indiana's School of Law which includes a search engine for any legal subject.

The second site I explored was more specific to my home state, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Court System website at http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl. The site has a well developed case search section including searches for circuit court, supreme court pending cases, and supreme court and court of appeals cases. It also offers a section on opinions and rules from each of the categories. Additional links from the site include:  The Wisconsin Judicial Commission,  the Wisconsin Judicial Council, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Law Library, the National Center for State Courts, a section on the Wisconsin statutes, acts and constitution,  and the U.S. Courts - The Federal Judiciary.  The site also offered an excellent reference to “court terms” which can come in handy when reading through a terse legal article or brief.  An important link went to www.WisBar.org the State Bar of Wisconsin website.  Here they a section on legal research which offered links specific to Wisconsin including  Case law, Courts, Legislature, Administration, Statutes, Acts, Administrative code, Circuit court rules, and Ethics opinions.Their other links to Federal and Other states websites would also be helpful.  One feature is both sites offered a search engine to browse the sites by topic. The site also linked to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities which includes links to Wisconsin cities and their municipal courts.  This is especially helpful when researching a local law.  The last link on the Wisconsin site is not actually a website link.  It is an application to get an e-mail. It is the CaseLaw Express (WisBar's CaseLaw Express version) which offers a free email service with recent cases that have been added to WisBar's case law archives.  This would be very helpful in keeping teachers and administrators current on Wisconsin cases which may affect their school or district.

The last site I checked out was the Lawcrawler at http://lawcrawler.findlaw.com/.

It is a search engine which includes a state-specific collection of resources. It also allows for multiple level searches on the following categories: US Federal Government, US State Search, US Law Schools, and Countries.  Attached to Lawcrawler is an amazing resource called Findlaw.  It offers a searchable database of the Supreme Court decisions since 1893 as well as links to state, other national, and international data bases.  They are all browseable by year and/or US Reports volume number and are also searchable by citation, case title and full text. These both are free research services.