The Unique Role of the Internet in Legal Research
Since it is far less expensive to store and access data on the web, legal documents and information sites have been spreading over the Internet, but with all of the sites it can be difficult to know where to start. Professionals and laypeople alike need to find information on general topics, case specific studies, and Supreme Court law proceedings depending upon their motivation and needs. General topics may be found on listservs and online dictionaries to facilitate a basic understanding of legal jargon and procedures. A Listserv is a term used to describe any server emailing list and was originally developed in 1986 using Bitnet. Any person part of the listserv will be included in the emailings for all of the emails sent out; this is similar to a newsgroup except the information arrives via email.
Clearinghouse sites are outsourced database and data filing sites that can be accessed to perform research of any kind. Legal research is often accomplished using clearinghouse services from companies like LexisNexis. Newsgroups are specialized servers that deliver subscribers all of the information similar to an RSS feed of a blog or forum. Multitudes of information can be delivered directly to a newsgroup program for further study and manipulation.
· Legal research guide from LexisNexis.
· Factual and legal resources such as case studies and precedents at The Virtual Chase.
· A list of links to law related resources form the US, UK and Europe at Intute.
· LexisONE provides case studies, Supreme court documents, appellate court cases, and guides to legal research. Must register to use.
· FindLaw provides general legal information for the layperson and professional alike.
· A virtual law library for the web maintained by Indiana University at Bloomington.
· Emory University Electronic Reference Desk and Federal Courts Finder.
· Guide to US Law from the Library of Congress.
· Hieros Gamos an international law directory.
· Internet Legal Research Guide providing links and resources for legal research.
· A list of legal newsgroups.
· Internet legal newsgroups located on Usenet.
· Legal Banter is a legal newsgroup providing information on a variety of legal topics.
· Digital Lawyer provides links to newsgroups and guides on Internet legal research.
· The legal dictionary at Law.com.
· Legal definitions for laypeople and professionals at Law-dictionary.
· A simple and easy to use law dictionary available for free use.
· Stay informed using the US Government Printing Office’s law resource site.
Using an number of the listed resources will allow even the common person to understand and implement the law. Professionals from attorneys to paralegals will find any piece of information from case studies to precedents set as far back as 1781 in US history. In addition, conversations on the present state of law and its practice in the courtroom can be viewed by all using newsgroups and listservs.
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