Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Online Resources - The Public Library of Law

No, I have not time to really check out The Public Library of Law but I want to note it for the lawyers reading me and for the general public.

"Searching the Web is easy. Why should searching the law be any different? That's why Fastcase has created the Public Library of Law -- to make it easy to find the law online. PLoL is the largest free law library in the world, because we assemble law available for free scattered across many different sites -- all in one place. PLoL is the best starting place to find law on the Web."
For the lawyers, we need to recognize this as a trend that has been around for a while on the Internet and may finally be taking a solid shape. The Bluebook has a citation form for online materials. Whether or not this affects West or not is a good question. It may make its headnotes even more valuable. It also raises questions for me about Shepardizing.

For the non-lawyers, finding the law is only half the trick and maybe even only a quarter. The remainder consists of verifying a case as good law and then using it in a Brief or an argument.

For both: I suggest (and I am far from being original here) using online resources like this for raw research and then using West or Lexis for further research. That is find the possible cases for free and then go to West to make sure that the case is good law.