Google Closing in on WestLaw, Lexis, Now Allows Searches of Legal Opinions and Law Journals

November 17th, 2009

West and Google, start counting your duopoly days. TaxProfBlog reports that Google Scholar now allows you to search legal opinions and law journals.

I just did a couple quick searches, and you can search for cases by case name, and by citation. Extremely quick, efficient, and free. And it doesn’t just link to FindLaw or Cornell. It actually has an original, full text version. I just entered in a few key Supreme Court cases, and a few prominent Circuit cases, and they were all in Google. Pretty cool. Plus, it has a rough Shepardizing feature, called “Cited By.” I am not sure how broad the Shepardizing is, but it seems to know all citations in Supreme and recent Appellate cases.

Coming soon to a law school near you; a Google Table with student representatives handing out cool Google Office supplies and tasty treats.

And the ABA is getting in on the action as well. They just launched Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals.

The website, which officially launches on Wednesday, now covers the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd, 5th and 9th Circuits. The plan is to add eventually all of the circuits.

About 60,000 cases are filed every year in the federal courts of appeals, McKeown told the ABA Journal. “Most courts have very good websites, but there is a lot of information out there, so this provides a special niche,” she says. “There is a certain needle-in-the-haystack element for someone to go through them every day in every jurisdiction of interest to find cases.”

“Our view is that fair and accurate reporting about the courts is important, both for the public and also in order to emphasize judicial independence,” says McKeown, whose three-year term as chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements ended in August.