Sunday, November 22, 2009

Check Out Google Scholar for Legal Research

I recently learned that Google has created Google Scholar, a new search engine designed to seek out scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including books, theses, abstracts, articles. Now, as of November 17, 2009, Google Scholar also allows for the search of legal opinions in all 50 states as well as the Federal Courts.

To get there just type in "Google Scholar" in any search box. When you get to the Google Scholar page, click on the "Legal opinions and journals" choice and then submit your inquiry. You can find opinions by searching for cases (like Jones v. Smith), or by topics (like hills and ridges) or other queries that you are interested in.

You can also explore citing and related cases using the Cited by and Related articles links on search result pages. As you read an opinion, you can also follow citations to the opinions to which it refers. You can additionally see how individual cases have been quoted or discussed in other opinions and in articles from law journals. These can be browsed by clicking on the "How Cited" link next to the case title.

While this may not be up to par with Westlaw or Lexis yet, it may be a nice vehicle to get a free, quick read on a case without having to go through the process of logging into Westlaw or Lexis before being able to submit the search terms--just go to Google Scholar and punch it in.

To be clear, I do not benefit in any way by referring to this new search engine. I just think you will at least find it interesting.

Thanks to Attorney Steven Seach for bringing Google Scholar to my attention.

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