Wow – big news last night from Google: Free case law is now available in Google Scholar!
There isn’t much description yet from Google, but Internet For Lawyers has a nice run down of the features. Here are some highlights:
Coverage of the database:
- 1 US 1 (pre 1776)
- 1 F 2d 1 (1924 +)
- F Supp Cases
- US State Cases (1950+)
Go to the Advanced Search page to limit results to:
- all legal opinions and journals
- only US Federal court opinions
- only state court opinions (where you can select any combination of the 50 states and the District of Columbia)
Google Scholar includes the full text of the returned case and links to other cases cited in the returned case.
As cool as this is, remember that free is free and this isn’t Westlaw or Lexis. There will be inadequacies of the search and coverage of the database. According to the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report “respondents are significantly more satisfied with the characteristics of fee-based online legal research resources than they are with those of free online legal research resources.”
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin has a good review of the ups and downs of Google Scholar’s legal offerings.