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A Beginner’s Guide to Free Legal Research on the Internet

In Legal by Steven Denny0 Comments

Steven Denny

The TCDLA listserve is a great resource for bouncing unique questions off each other and seeking input on strategies from those who have “been there done that, got the t-shirt.” But a great deal of the questions posed could be answered just as easily by following an old acronym: RTFM (“read the freakin’ manual”). Lest we forget, that is where law school started for us—legal research and writing.

Back in the day, we were wooed by the likes of Lexis and West, who gave us free unlimited passwords and tables full of swag scattered throughout the law school, but upon graduation they expect that your thick-carpet firm will start picking up the bill. That is when reality sets in. I do not have thick carpet. I have thin business industrial carpet because my hard-working clients come in to my office with mud and tar on their boots, and their sticky kids get candy and juice everywhere. I could pay for those services myself, but then that cost would be passed on to the hard-working clients, and in short, those paid services are not necessary. Here is why.