El Paso Law
Free Legal Research on the WEB
Legal research has changed more than any other discipline that I learned in law school. Torts, contracts, crimes, etc. have been altered by legislatures, courts and governmental agencies but legal research has been reinvented completely by computer technology. With the advent of cdroms, online research providers, and other electronic media, books are becoming secondary as research tools. And, with easy public access to the World Wide Web legal publishers are falling behind in providing competitively affordable legal research tools to the attorney.
There are several excellent online computer based legal research providers who provide law students with free access during their legal matriculation period. I believe this is done for two reasons. First, to educate the future lawyer in computer research skills and secondly, to establish customers who will pay the high fees required by these providers.
Certainly, the fees for online legal research have been reduced as market forces intervene in this highly competitive area. There are multiuser rates, "value packages" for small law firms and bar association affiliated discounts. Publishers even give discounts if you buy their products conjunctively in different formats, ie. books, cdroms and online access to the same materials.
The one thing that publishers may not want the lawyer to know is that there are massive legal research libraries on the world wide web and the research fees are ZERO. If you already have an online service (America Online, Microsoft Network, CompuServe, etc.) you have access to an almost infinite set of libraries including LEGAL LIBRARIES.I have provided multiple links to my favorite legal websites and have split them into five categories, ie. Texas Law, New Mexico Law, Federal Law, Elder Law, Personal Injury and Other Law Links. Try them for yourself and see if these links are helpful.
Caveat: Remember, these links take you to a wealth of FREE legal research material. Since legal materials are in a constant state of change, be sure you update!!
David J. Ferrell