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Free and Low-Cost Legal Research  

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About this LibGuide

Many legal employers do not have Lexis Westlaw, or Bloomberg Law contracts at all. Others strictly limit the access to these expensive resources. Even attorneys with Lexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg Law passwords can save money by doing as much research as possible in free or low-cost sources. This LibGuide provides an overview of free and low-cost legal research online.

Articles on Deceptive Websites

Legal Search Engines


How to Use This Guide

This guide is meant to take you from start to finish. Look at ALL THREE TABS. Information is not repeated across tabs. Each tab has different resources that you should look at. Check each one to make sure you haven’t forgotten about a great resource. 
If you need additional help, please contact the Reference Desk by phone at (904) 256-1156 or by email at  You can also meet with any of the Librarians individually.

Information on Search Engines

  • Advanced Search : Google search basics - Web Search Help
    Google's page on how to use their Advanced Search feature. This feature is especially useful for limiting the internet domains you want in your results. You can create a search that will return only .gov sites, or only .edu sites. Unfortunately, you can only restrict your results to one domain at a time.
  • The Invisible Web - Invisible Web Search - How To Search the Invisible Web
    Can you find anything on the internet by using a search engine? NO! Most of the information online cannot be found using a search engine. This article explains the "Invisible Web," the parts of the internet that search engines can't find.

Help from our shelves

Cover Art
The cybersleuth's guide to the Internet : conducting effective free investigative & legal research on the Web - Carole A. Levitt & Mark E. Rosch
Call Number: KF242.A1 L481 2011
ISBN: 0971325723
A guide to doing legal and investigative research on the internet.

Cover Art
Find info like a pro : mining the Internet's publicly available resources for investigative research - Carole A. Levitt and Mark E. Rosch
Call Number: KF320.A9 L485 2010
ISBN: 1604428902
Guide to investigative research for lawyers. Includes a CD-ROM and index.

Cover Art
Google for lawyers : essential search tips and productivity tools - Carole A. Levitt and Mark E. Rosch
Call Number: K87 .L48 2010
ISBN: 1604428228
Comprehensive guide to Google as a research and productivity tool.

Cover Art
Electronic legal research : an integrated approach - Stephanie Delaney
Call Number: KF242.A1 D45 2009
ISBN: 1418080888
Guide to electronic legal research on both the internet, and on fee-based services such as LexisNexis and Westlaw. It begins with describing how to put together search terms that will get you what you are looking for, then covers legal research on the open web, including how to evaluate what you find.

Cover Art
The lawyer's guide to fact finding on the Internet - Carole A. Levitt, Mark E. Rosch
Call Number: KF242.A1 L48 2006
ISBN: 1590316711
Using the Internet for factual research


Evaluating Resources

Have you ever found a resource and thought "can I use this?"  Well, here are a few guidelines to see if the resource you found is a quality resource. 

  • Check the date.
    • How current is it?
    • Is it possible the law or fact changed since then?
  • Check the author/corporation.
    • What are the author's affiliations?
    • Is s/he an expert in the area, or just someone who wrote one article on the subject?
    • If it's a corporation, what is the corporation's interest in the subject?
  • Check the publication itself.
    • Was the source peer-reviewed?
    • Is the source available in print from a major publisher or online through a trusted database?
  • Check for relevancy.
    • Does the source provide information relevant to your research?
    • Does the source cite other sources?

CALI Lessons

  • Internet Legal Resources
    CALI lesson on conducting legal research on the internet, deciding when using the internet is appropriate, and evaluating websites for accuracy.
  • Evaluating Web Sites
    CALI lesson on how to evaluate a website's content.

Search Engine Articles


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