Thursday, January 20, 2005

Legal Research Tip 11: Think Free

Welcome to the next issue of the DCLRC E-Newsletter "Legal Research Tips"! You can view back issues of these tips through other posts in this blawg. Enjoy!

Legal Research Tip 11: Think Free!
Another blawg publishes legal research tips and their most recent tip is to "Think small" so that you start with a narrow focus that produces the most cost-effective research. My response to that is to "Think Free" by starting your research with resources that are free on the Internet, rather than starting with Westlaw or Lexis. While the fee-based resources are a good starting place for those already familiar with database searching techniques, the novice legal researcher (and those on a tight budget!) will not appreciate racking up charges while learning the specifics of the database. Instead, if your search is for a specific case, statute, or code, why not investigate the free resources that may be available first? Better yet, start with the website of your local law library, or call your local law librarian, to find out where to find free legal resources on the Internet. If what you're after isn't online for free, your law library can help direct your search using library or fee-based resources.