Pricey content providers Westlaw and Lexis-Nexus(and to a lesser degree Loislaw and Fastcase) have held a stranglehold over internet-based legal research since the infancy of the web. So you can imagine my surprise this morning when my google search returned a case cite under a brand new service called “Google Scholar“.
Google scholar makes legal research available for free.
With a few clicks, I discovered that Google Scholar provides searchable case law for all 50 states, all federals Circuit and Appeals Courts, as well as the US Tax Court and Bankruptcy Courts. Included in the Massachusetts results are Rule 1:28 decisions, which (until now) had only been available on the free internet through the unwieldy state-run search page. All I can say is: wow.
Google Scholar doesn’t render the paid subscriptions totally obsolete, as the service lacks legal research guides such as MassPractice or MCLE (to name a few Massachusetts-based guides) and law review articles, but if anyone can kill the paid subscription model for legal research, it is Google.
About the Author: Jason V. Owens is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer and Massachusetts family law attorney for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts.