Legal Research

Finding Legal, Factual, and Other Information in a Digital World

by Timothy L. Coggins*

Cite as: Timothy L. Coggins, Finding Legal, Factual, and Other Information in a Digital World, XVIII Rich. J. L. & Tech. 2,

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I. Introduction

[1] This updated listing of Internet sites for legal, factual, and other research offers a combination of more established sites and newer sites developed since the publication of the previous listing. The article began as a comprehensive bibliography of research and other sites for an Advanced Legal Research course and a series of continuing education sessions for legal assistants and paralegals.[1] The current version includes sites for primary authorities, both federal and state, as well as URLs for other types of information, such as sites that assist in finding expert witnesses and biographical and background information about individuals.

[2] Researchers seeking to locate more sites for legal or other types of research can find Internet sites for attorneys and legal researchers identified in many sources. One popular source is the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section’s annual TECHSHOW in which the popular 60 Sites in 60 Minutes program offers the favorite websites of the attorney and other panel presenters.[2] In addition, many books identify relevant, new, useful, and intriguing websites for attorneys and legal researchers.[3]

[3] Individuals seeking information about the use of technology and the Internet by attorneys or their office personnel for research or other purposes might be interested in the results of an annual survey compiled and distributed by the Legal Technology Resource Center of the American Bar Association. The 2011 American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report includes explanatory information and data presented in chart format comprising six categories: Technology Basics; Law Office Technology; Litigation and Courtroom Technology; Web and Communication Technology; Online Research; and Mobile Lawyers.[4]

[4] This list of Internet websites contains eleven sections. Part II covers search engines. Part III identifies some important “comprehensive” or portal websites. Part IV includes websites that can be used to search for legislative and administrative information, both Federal and state. Part V covers case law and court information sites. Part VI lists important Virginia legal research and state-specific websites. Part VII lists foreign and international law sites and Part VIII identifies locations for secondary materials. Part IX identifies websites for people, places, weather, vital records, company information, expert witnesses, and more. Part X presents some helpful sites for legal and other news, as well as law blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Part XI covers sites that are difficult to categorize into one of the earlier nine parts[TC1] and the last section, Part XII, is a list of the URLs for the law schools in Virginia, many of which provide legal research guides in the “Library” portion of their websites.[5]

II. Search Engines

[5] The lists below divide search engines into two different types: standard search engines like Google[6] and other search engines that search multiple search engines or categorize or cluster results. Many sources compare various search engines and provide helpful charts that identify how to search with a particular search engine.[7]

a. Standard Search Engines

b. Other Search Engines[8]

III. Comprehensive Research Sites

[6] Attorneys and legal researchers might be better served by starting their legal and other research by accessing a comprehensive or portal research site, rather than simply using a search engine. These sites are good starting places for many different types of information, both primary and secondary. Another advantage of the comprehensive or portal site is its organization. Unlike searching the Web generally, portal sites offer uniformity and consistency from page to page, allowing users to develop an understanding of how to locate information while using the portal. For example, a person researching the Wex Legal Encyclopedia at the Cornell Legal Information Institute website will find the same organization of information regardless of the subject. This means that the page concerning immigration has the same organization – an “Overview” section and tabs for “Resources,” “For Example,” and “In Caselaw” – as the page about domestic relations.

Bloomberg Law: A newcomer to the legal research field, Bloomberg Law offers a legal, regulatory and compliance platform. It also offers a suite of news, data, analytics, and research tools to the legal and compliance community.[9]


Chicago-Kent College of Law:

FindLaw: Owned and managed by Thomson-Reuters.

Hieros Gamos:

Internet Legal Research Group:

Justia: Founded by Tim Stanley, who developed Findlaw and subsequently sold it to Thomson-Reuters; provides access to free case law, codes, regulations, legal articles, and legal blog databases; includes a legal research and law practice series in areas such as injury law, criminal law, immigration law, etc.

Law Library of Congress website: Provides access to the Global Legal Information Network, Guide to Law Online, and the Global Legal Monitor.

Legal Information Institute (Cornell University): Probably the best of the law school research websites; its “Wex Legal Encyclopedia” is frequently used by legal researchers to discover basic information about a subject matter as well as primary documents such as statutes and regulations.

LexisNexis Community: Replacement for LexisOne; provides access to news, blogs, forms, podcasts, emerging issues, and more; no longer accepts a credit card for access to materials not found in the LexisNexis Community.

Public Library of Law: Collaboration with Fastcase to provide access to case law, statutes, regulations, court rules, constitutions, and legal forms.

Public Resource Organization: New endeavor by Carl Malamud, a proponent of open access to primary legal authority, whose new website provides access to U.S. Supreme Court opinions dating back to the 1700s and all U.S. appeals courts decisions dating back to 1950.[10]

Reference Desk:

State and Local Government on the Net (formerly Piper Resources):

Virtual Chase: No longer being updated, but an excellent source for research guides about particular subjects.

Virtual Law Library:

Washburn University’s WashLaw:

Zimmerman’s Legal Research Guides: Covers many different legal subjects and provides excellent guidance on the research resources in those subject areas.

IV. Online Sites for Legislative & Administrative Information

Federal Legislation & Administrative Materials

Code of Federal Regulations and the e-CFR:


Department of Justice: Designed to increase openness and transparency in government, utilizing a variety of online tools to share news and other information.

DOJ Legal Opinions 1998-2007 Complete Index: Posted at the website.

Federal Legislative History sites, The Library of Congress (Thomas): LexisNexis and Westlaw have databases that provide legislative history documents for attorneys who have subscriptions. For users searching for legislative history documents at the University of Richmond, the Congressional – ProQuest Legislative Histories database is available. There also is a collection of federal legislative histories available through the HeinOnline service at the University of Richmond.

Federal Register: Coverage includes 1994-present (vol. 59 – present) as well as access to the current issue of the Federal Register.

Federal Register: Provides access to documents that will be published in the next day’s Federal Register (click on “View Documents Online” button).

Federal Web Locator: Links to federal agencies.

FOI Letter Generator Request:

GovTrack: Independent website run by a graduate student “in his spare time,” following the status of federal legislation and the activities of senators and representatives.

GPO Access on the Web: Access to government documents including: Budget of the US; Congressional Directory and documents; bills; Congressional Record; Federal Register; History of Bills; Public Laws; Congressional Calendars; US Code; Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Replaced by GPO’s FDsys (see below), which includes most content previously available through GPO Access.

GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys): Advanced digital system that enables GPO to manage government information in a digital form. Includes files submitted by Congress and federal agencies; information gathered from federal agencies’ websites; digital files created by scanning previously printed publications.

LSU Libraries Federal Agencies Directory: Created in 1994, this website lists and links to current, active, and existing U.S. Federal government agencies.

Metavid: Video archives of congressional floor proceedings on the web; searchable according to who said what; hosted by the University of California at Santa Cruz.

National Archives: National Archives and Records Administration website of important documents.

OpenCRS Project: Project of the Center for Democracy and Technology that was designed to provide citizen access to CRS Reports already in the public domain and to encourage Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports. Offers the opportunity to find, review, and submit comments on proposed rules from Federal agencies, and is designed for lay citizens, not attorneys.

THOMAS: Access to full text, summaries and status of federal legislation. Includes committee reports, public laws, and the Congressional Record. THOMAS also links to legal historical documents and resources about the legislative process.

University of Virginia – Administrative Decisions & Other Actions: Concentrates on providing access to administrative actions other than the CFR and the Federal Register. (formerly FirstGov): Billed as the most comprehensive site (consolidates about 27 million government web pages) to use when you are searching for information about any branch or agency of the Federal Government.

U.S. Code: Offers access to the U.S.C. with good search flexibility. OR

b. State Legislative and Administrative Materials

ALSO!: American Law Sources Online: State law resources, including state statutes.

Council of State Governments: Can be used like a “portal” site since it links to state home pages.

Drafts of Uniform and Model Acts:

Municode: Excellent collection of municipal, city, and county codes available for free with good searching capabilities.

National Association of Secretaries of State: Portal for online state databases.

National Conference of State Legislatures: Useful for researching issues and 50-state legislative tracking on many topics, including agriculture and rural development, ethics, health issues, transportation, and more.

State Legislative Presence on the Internet (Multistate Associates Incorporated): Chart comparing online state statute availability.

Uniform Law Commission (formerly called the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws): Develops and provides states with “non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of the law.”[11]

V. Online Sites for Case Law and Court Information

[7] The sites listed below offer access to state and federal court decisions. Search strategies vary greatly from site to site, but most are searchable by keyword or date. Researchers should also look at the websites in Part II under the comprehensive or portal website listing for additional access to case law.

a. U.S. Supreme Court and Other Courts

Casemaker: Similar to Fastcase; available to many attorneys through their state bar associations.

CourtListener: Free and competitive real time alert tool for the U.S. judicial system, providing daily information on precedential opinions issued by the thirteen federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Fastcase: Less expensive alternative for accessing state and federal cases; check database coverage. Service is available as a member benefit for attorneys in Virginia who are members of the Virginia State Bar.[12] Fastcase co-sponsors the Public Library of Law, which provides more than fifty years of federal case law, as well as recent state cases from all fifty states. &

Federal Judiciary Directory Information: Search by office, city, zip code, area code, and many other ways.

Findlaw: Includes Supreme Court decisions since 1893 (comprehensive); browse by year and U.S. Reports volume number; searchable by citation, title, and full text.

“FLITE” database (Federal Legal Information Through Electronics): Includes over 7,400 Supreme Court opinions from 1937 to 1975.

Legal Information Institute (Cornell): Coverage from May 1990 to present.

Public Resource Organization: Offers access to materials with plans to include primary legal materials from Federal Government and the states.

United States Courts Access: Mission of this website, which is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary, is to provide information from and about the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government.

U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Audio files of selected oral arguments from Oyez: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia.

The Curiae Project: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs (selected cases only, but temporarily unavailable when searched in March 2009 and continuing to be unavailable when searched in February 2012)

U.S. Supreme Court website: Includes information about the Court and the Justices, as well as links to the calendar, court rules, dockets, opinions, orders, and other information. Previous volumes of the U.S. Reports at this site are PDFs of the print volumes; therefore, a researcher can easily locate particular volumes and specific page numbers.

Web Guide to U.S. Supreme Court Research:

b. Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals

D.C. Circuit:

Federal Circuit:

First Circuit:

Second Circuit:

Third Circuit:

Fourth Circuit:

Fifth Circuit:

Sixth Circuit:

Seventh Circuit:

Eighth Circuit:

Ninth Circuit:

Tenth Circuit:

Eleventh Circuit:

[8] Rather than using a website URL for a particular court, it might be easier to go to the United States Court Access website mentioned above and link to the particular court from that page.[13]

c. State Court Opinions[14] & Other Information

ALSO!: American Law Sources Online: State law resources, including court opinions.

Federal, state, and local court rules, forms, and dockets (links to over 1,400 sites):

Internet Legal Resources Guide: Includes links to state and federal decisions.

Legal Dockets Online: Court case information and public records (includes a blog).[15] &

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records): Electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts as well as the PACER Case Locator.

RECAP: Project of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University to build a free and open repository of public court records by allowing RECAP users to automatically donate the documents they purchase from PACER into a public repository hosted by the Internet Archive. Legal ethics, judicial ethics, and bar admissions issues.

U.S. Courts Civil and Criminal Forms: Collection of more than 125 commonly used forms, such as a summons in a criminal case, a criminal complaint, search and seizure warrants, summons in a civil action, summons on a third-party complaint, and more.

VI. Sites for Virginia Materials

Bankruptcy courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia: Includes court rules, hours, and fee schedules; registered users can access bankruptcy court opinions from the Eastern District. &

Code of Virginia:

Municipal Codes and Ordinances: Includes codes and ordinances from a number of Virginia cities and counties. (Select “Browse the Library,” then click on your state on the map.)

Office of the Attorney General for Virginia: Opinions from 1996 to present.

Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia:

State of Virginia: “Government” link provides access to State agencies, boards, councils, commissions and the Virginia Government Directory.

Virginia Administrative Code:

Virginia Association of Law Libraries: General information about VALL and its members, libraries, activities, meetings, etc. at the VALL wiki.

Virginia Bar Association: Membership information, publications, and calendar.

Virginia CLE: Mandatory CLE information; online registration and order forms; seminars; publications; Virginia Attorneys Network.

Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility & the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct: Includes a cross-reference table between the Rules and the Code.

Virginia General Assembly: Full text, summaries, status, and history of bills and resolutions; schedules of activity; full text searching of the Virginia Code, Administrative Code, Constitution, and legislation.

Virginia’s Judicial System: Opinions of the Va. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals; General information about Virginia courts including Supreme, Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, and District Courts; Virginia State Law Library, Supreme Court session calendar and arguments docket.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly: Legal news for Virginia, including synopses of opinions from the Virginia Supreme Court, the Virginia Court of Appeals, and various lower courts in Virginia.

Virginia Legal Ethics Opinions: Provides access to LEOs numbered 1383 through 1861 from 1980 to present).

Virginia Register of Regulations:


Virginia Regulatory Town Hall: Created to facilitate regulatory tracking; resource for regulatory text and interpretations with guidance documents organized by secretariat, agency, board, and chapter of the Virginia Administrative Code.

Virginia State Bar: Bar exam results; officers; committees and boards; sections; staff directory; recent LEO and UPL opinions; access to the Virginia Lawyer.

Virginia State Corporation Commission:

Workers’ Compensation Commission: Cases from 1995 to present as well cases that were electronically transcribed since 1990.

  1. VII. Foreign & International Law Sites

ArchiveGrid: Connects to archives around the world that have primary source materials.[16]

ASIL Electronic Information System for International Law: Published by the American Society of International Law in various formats since 1997.

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: Published since 1997, a comprehensive guide to legal research in international law.

Canadian Legal Information Institute: Not-for-profit organization created by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and designed to provide the public with permanent open access to the legal heritage of all Canadian jurisdictions.

Findlaw International Law Sources: Links to international organizations and laws of foreign countries. Also allows web search of law resources by continent.

FLARE: Foreign Law Research: Collaboration between the major libraries collecting law in the United Kingdom (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Bodleian Law Library, Squire Law Library, British Library, and the School of Oriental and African Studies) to improve the coverage and accessibility of foreign legal materials at the national level.

FLARE Index to Treaties Extended: Fully searchable database of more than 1,500 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1856 onwards.

Frequently-cited Treaties and Other International Instruments: Maintained by the Law Library at the University of Minnesota.

Commonwealth Legal Information Institute: Provides browsing and searching of 464 databases from fifty Commonwealth and common law countries and territories.

Guide to Foreign and International Legal Databases (Law Library at New York University):

Guide to Law Online: Nation of the World (Library of Congress): Annotated list of links to the law of jurisdictions around the world.

International Law in Domestic Courts: Domestic cases that explore international issues and cases from various nations throughout the world.

The European Library: Search through the resources of thirty of the forty-seven national libraries with access to more than 150 million entries; not full-text access, just bibliographic access.

World Digital Library Project: Primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, etc.

World Justice Project Rule of Law Index: Quantitative assessment tool designed by the World Justice Project to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice.

World Legal Information Institute: Free, independent, and non-profit global legal research facility developed to provide a single search facility for databases located on the legal information institutes of fourteen different legal information institutes, including those in Australia, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United States.[17]

Worldwide Legal News: Law Library of Congress converted its Global Legal Monitor from a static, monthly PDF newsletter to this dynamic and regularly updated website that traces legal news and developments worldwide.

VIII. Sites for Secondary Resources

a. Law Review and Journals

ABA Journal: Magazine’s entire site and all of its contents open to the public since July 2007 after years of being available only to ABA members; site has back issues through 2005.

American Law Source Online (ALSO): U.S. Law Reviews and Periodicals (click on “law reviews and periodicals” on the first page of the site).

Findlaw: Allows keyword searching through the text of online law reviews.

HighBeam: 35 million documents from over 3,000 sources that date back as far as twenty years.

HighWire: More than one million scholarly journal articles from more than 900 journals available for free through HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries.

Ingenta: Searchable index to thousands of academic and professional journals.

Open Access Journal Content: Promotes models that ensure free and unrestricted access to scholarly and research journals; temporarily suspended, but will be back with a new interface.

b. Associations & Directories

American Bar Association: ABA news, ABA Journal, publications, meetings, CLE opportunities, discussion groups, section activities, and news in addition to more information for attorneys.

Avvo: Unveiled in June 2007, its mission is “ to help people navigate the complex and confusing legal industry” and to choose a lawyer.[18]

Findlaw: Foreign/international, national, state, and local bar associations and directories.

Legal Match: Describes itself as “America’s original attorney/client matching service”; system matches the consumer’s case to LegalMatch lawyers in their city or county based on the specifics of the consumer’s case and the lawyer’s location and area of legal practice.

Martindale-Hubbell: Traditional directory that enables attorneys to research lawyers, law firms, government lawyers, and corporate law departments.

The Robing Room: A judge rating site with more than 12,000 reviews of federal and state judges with a new e-mail alert system for notice to users when new postings relating to designated judges appear.

West Legal Directory: Listing of lawyers and law firms.

c. General Legal and Other Reference Resources

Agency Websites (Hide and Seek with FOIA Information):

American Law Sources Online (ALSO): Laws of the US, Canada, and Mexico; uniform laws; law schools; law reviews; directories.

Citation Information from LII: Introduction to basic legal citation; revised by Professor Peter in the fall of 2011 to take account of changes in the citation rules of a number of U.S. jurisdictions and to reflect the fourth edition of the ALWD Citation Manual as well as the nineteenth edition of The Bluebook (both published in 2010).

CyberCemetery: Maintained by the University of North Texas libraries; site is the repository for many government publications, both state and federal, including a database of Congressional Research Service reports (which are generally not available to researchers and the public); click on the “Digital Collections” for access to the CRS reports and other important collections.

Defense Research Institute: National Association of Defense Lawyers’ website that features DRI seminar materials in addition to magazine and newsletter articles; can be searched by keywords or browsed by topic.

Doing Business Gender Law Library: Collection of national legal provisions impacting women’s economic status in 183 economies designed to facilitate comparative analysis of legislation, serve as a resource for research, and contribute to reforms that can enhance women’s full economic participation.

FBI Files: &

FDA: For Consumers:

Findlaw: Legal subject index; cases and codes; professional development; news and reference materials; law firms and lawyers; legal associations and organizations.

FOIA Facts:

FOLDOC: Free On-line Dictionary of Computing.

Government Attic: Access to hundreds of “interesting” federal government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Guide to Finding Old Web Pages: Available at the Search Engines Showdown webpage and last updated as of January 27, 2008; table shows the name of the services, the way to find archived pages, and some notes as to the age of a page that the archive may contain.

Handbook on Military Law 2004 (Secrecy News):

Internet Archive (Wayback Machine): Searchable using a URL to see what was included on a company or other institution’s website at a given point in time.

Jurist – Law Professors’ Network:

Land and Property Values in the United States: databases available here contain information on the values and rental prices of residential properties in the United States; maintained by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Legal Bitstream: Database of tax materials beginning in 1990 with access to many IRS pronouncements, such as rulings and procedures:

Legal Information Institute (Cornell): Legal materials arranged by topic; U.S. Supreme Court decisions; U.S. Code & Constitution; Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence; variety of other legal material.

Merck Manual: Based on the world’s most widely used textbook in medicine.

Net’s Best Law Dictionary – Legal Lexicon’s Lyceum: Includes thousands of definitions and explanations of legal terms, phrases, and concepts.

Patent Assignments on the Web:

President’s DNA Initiative: Initiative designed to “advance justice through DNA technology” with links to highlights, research initiatives, speeches, testimony, press releases, etc.:

Recalls: Current recalls issued by six government agencies.

The Memory Hole: Website owner preserves as many documents that disappear from other websites, including government sites, as he can, such as CRS reports that were only recently made available at other sites.

TradeMarkia: Search engine for more than six million trademarked logos, names, and slogans.

Visual Thesaurus:

Wordnik: Definitions from multiple sources.

d. Sources for Verifying Quotations



IX. Sites for People, Places, Weather, Records, Companies, Expert Witnesses, and More

a. Directories and Information about People

Accurint: Owned by LexisNexis; can be used to locate almost anyone with aliases, historical addresses, relatives, associates, neighbors, assets, and more; focused on helping collection agencies, companies with internal collections departments, lawyers, insurance professionals, law enforcement agencies, and corporations locate debtors, witnesses, suspects, and other persons critical to their work; can search by social security number if available; requires an account. U.S. White Pages; offers a reverse telephone directory (enter a telephone number and find the resident’s address and name).

Four11: Compiled by Metromail from published white page directories and other publicly available sources; one of the most comprehensive compilations on the net; owned by Yahoo.

Globemaster Links: Provides access to databases of active, reserve, retired, and veteran military personnel.

Infospace: Features an array of white and yellow page directories, city guides, and other listings; contains 112 million listings.

Switchboard: One of the fastest directories; 106 million residential listings and eleven million business listings.

USA Search: Genealogy and Family History: page at the USA Search website that offers searching of Census Bureau information, family history, state archives, birth and death information, etc.

WhoWhere? Claims to have the largest directory of e-mail addresses as well as more than ninety-million residential phone listings; offers a “familyfinder” genealogy search engine; utilizes a wildcard search option on the first name.

Yellow Book: Business, people, reverse lookup.

Google: (scroll down to People Profiles)

Internet Address Finder:


KnowX People Finder:

The Ultimate Pages:

b. Business Directories and Business Information Sources

Business and Human Rights Resource Center: Source of news and reports about the positive and negative impacts that companies have on human rights worldwide.

Corporate Information: Jump station for sites that offer information on locating companies; organized by country.

Delaware Corporations Commission:

EDGAR Database: SEC’s database of financial filings of public companies; 24-hour delay in data availability.

Guide to Other Sources for Company Information:

Hoover’s Online: Provides information on 12,000 public and private companies; provides free capsule reports, but full profiles are for subscribers only.

Knowledge Mosaic: Makes SEC filings more accessible and provides other value-added materials.

c. Expert Witnesses[19]

Defense Research Institute: Searchable database of 47,000 experts; fee-based and membership required.[20]

Expert List from Hieros Gamos: Simple, phonebook-style list of experts organized by area of expertise compiled from experts who advertise in major legal publications; site also includes a searchable, self-listing database in which experts can list themselves, describe their credentials and services, and provide links to their websites.

Expert Transcript Center: Extensive database of expert transcripts; lists experts for which Triodyne has background information; must call for list of transcripts for specific expert; fee for transcripts based on number of pages.

Expert Witness & Litigation Consultant Pages: Organized by specialty, country, and state; scope is broad, but results seem somewhat limited.

Expert Witness Network: Sponsored by the Legal Resource Network; available for free is an extensive, searchable index of experts with Web pages and the archives of the “expert-l” discussion list; paid subscribers have access to a database of experts’ curricula vitae and articles written by various experts.

FindLaw Experts Section: Extensive index of experts and consultants on the web; browse the index or search by keywords.

LexisNexis Expert Research On-Demand: Commonly believed to be the best resource for defense experts; Includes more than 75,000 experts’ names; provides a list of prior cases and opposition’s expert testimony; electronic transcript archive; membership required.

Noble Expert Witness Directory: One of the most famous directories now available on the Net.

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys: Data about experts available only to members.

WashLaw Experts Page: Lengthy collection of links that includes most of the sites listed here and links to individual expert pages; maintained by the Washburn University Law Library.

d. Public Records

Corporate Filings: (AZ)

Criminal Records:

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics:


Death Records Index: Social Security death index offers information about individuals dying since 1962; name, social security number, date of birth, date of death, last know address; data from the Social Security Administration.

KnowX: Free searches for people and businesses using a variety of data; results of free searches are highly summarized; full record is available for a fee.

National Obituary Archive:

Portico: Collection of websites containing publicly available information for the advancement community.

RealQuest/City or County Property Records:

Search Systems:

Vital Records Information State Index: Links and information on obtaining vital records from each state, territory, and U.S. county.

X. News/Updating Sites, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Social Media[21]

a. Online Legal Research News and Online Legal News

beSpacific: Daily law and technology news with links to primary and secondary sources on topics including e-government, privacy, government documents, cybercrime, ID theft, the Patriot Act, freedom of information, federal legislation, legal research, knowledge management, blogs, RSS, and wikis.

Electronic Discovery News:

Findlaw Legal News:

Inter Alia:


Legal Smartpros:

LRRX: Excellent source for learning how to research a particular subject.

Virtual Chase: Now a part of; another excellent resource for guidance about researching particular subjects.

b. News (Especially Up-to-Date News) Produced by the Independent Media Institute to provide access to alternative press and political coverage.

Excite News Tracker: (for older news)

GoogleNews: (GoogleNewsAlerts: sign up for alerts that will send an e-mail whenever an article that matches your search criteria is published in any of the index’s sources)

Historic American Newspapers: Access to newspaper pages from select American newsprint sources ranging from 1880 to 1910.

Moreover: Recent news and updates: news headlines and stories from over 1,500 sources.

News Is Free:

Newspaper Association of America:

Salon Magazine: Stories about issues facing state governments; also publishes reports that are useful to researchers, journalists, and others; has a 50-state analysis of post 9/11 open records laws.

Total News: .html

Writenews (newspapers from many different locations):

c. Law Blawgs,[22] Wikis, Twitter, and Social Media

Above the Law: One of the most well known legal blogs; described as an online legal tabloid with the intention of serving as a “kind of virtual water cooler”[23] for the legal profession.

Dipnote: U.S. State Department’s blog.

Directory of Law Related Blogs: Includes a frequently updated listing of law-related blogs (see “visit our bloggers” listing at the first page of newsletter); provides the option of signing up for delivery of the free Legal Blog Watch newsletter.

Law Library Blogs/Blogs at the AALL Computing Services Special Interest Section wiki: /1189465/Law%20Library%20Blogs

Legal Blog Watch:

Legally Minded: ABA’s online community serving the legal profession; designed to create an “unparalleled” resource that gathers law school students, academics, firm administrators, legal support staff, judges, paralegals, attorneys, law librarians, and other professionals to contribute, network, and collaborate online.[24]

LibraryLaw Blog: Blog by Mary Minow (attorney/librarian) that deals with many issues, including copyright law.

Library Weblogs:

LinkedIn: World’s largest professional network.

Opinio Juris: One of the first blogs devoted to international law and international relations.


Slaw: Weblog about Canadian legal research and the impact of technology; aim is to share information, offer advice, and instruction.

Supreme Court Blog: Devoted to comprehensive coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court without bias and according to the highest journalistic and legal ethical standards; provided as a public service and sponsored by Bloomberg Law.

Twitter: Real-time information network that provides access to stories, ideas, opinions, and news.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly Blog: Features breaking news and new cases.

Wiki of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit: provides electronic access to Seventh Circuit case information, rules, procedures, and opinions; first public wiki created by the federal judiciary.

Wikipedia: Online encyclopedia that anyone can edit with over 2,800,000 articles.[25]

Congresspedia: The Citizen’s encyclopedia on Congress that is now a part of Open Congress.

d. Podcasts (Searching the Content of Podcasts)



XI. Miscellaneous Internet Sites

CitySearch: Provides restaurant and entertainment reviews, weather, maps, sections for singles, and online auctions (absorbed content of

CEO Express: Source organized for a busy CEO with links to many different types of information, including movie reviews, airline schedules and prices, and the stock market; also includes a section with links to Internet reference type materials such as directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.

Deep Web Research:

Dumb Laws: Listings and texts of “stupid” laws still on the books; organized by jurisdiction.

Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook:

FlyOnTime: Designed for air travelers who are interested in the on-time performance of the commercial air system in the United States.

Intute: Consortium of seven British universities with partners from many other universities, libraries, associations, and societies; this site reviews, evaluates, and indexes educational and informational web pages from around the world; site closed effective July 2011, but material is still located at the site and nothing new is being added.

MilitaryConnection: Comprehensive directories of military and veteran benefits. (“Law for All”): Legal publisher of many “self help” type materials, but also includes a law store for purchasing software, books, forms, etc.; legal internet guide section includes information arranged by practice areas and other categories.

Smithsonian Collections Search Center: One-stop search of more than two million of the Smithsonian’s museum, archives, library, and research holdings and collections, including 265,900 images, video and sound files, electronic journals, and other resources from the Smithsonian’s museums, archives, and libraries.

Statistics (a few significant ones):

Bureau of the Census:

Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for

Health Statistics:


Labor Union Statistics:

Statistical Abstracts of the United States:

The World Clock:

Weather Information (many places): &

Words and Phrases: Devoted to recently coined words and phrases, old words that are being used in different ways, and existing words that have enjoyed a “recent renaissance.” Real estate research with free valuations and other information on more than forty million homes in the United States; historical value changes as compared to surrounding zip codes; etc.

XII. Virginia Law School Websites

[9] Most law school libraries maintain research guides. For example, the University of Richmond’s website provides access to a series of research guides dealing with topics such as “federal case law,” “Virginia materials,” “treaties and agreements,” as well as many other topics.[26] These research guides identify both print and electronic resources that might be useful to attorneys and other researchers. Similar research materials might be available at the “Law Library” or “Library” portion of the following websites.

Appalachian School of Law:

College of William and Mary School of Law:

George Mason University School of Law:

Liberty University School of Law:

Regent University School of Law:

University of Richmond School of Law:

University of Virginia School of Law:

Washington and Lee University School of Law:

XIII. Conclusion

[10] There are many caveats for those using this type of listing. First, anyone using the sources identified in any listing of Internet websites must recognize that website URLs change frequently and that websites disappear. If you cannot locate a website using the URL in this listing, merely use the name of the website in Google or another search engine to attempt to locate the current URL for the site.[27] Secondly, as merely a listing of websites that might be useful to attorneys, law students, and others in the legal profession, this article clearly does not deal with the issue of whether or not online searching, print searching, or some combination of the two is the most effective type of legal and other research. Numerous authors have written extensively about this issue.[28]

*Associate Dean for Library & Information Services and Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law

[1] See Timothy L. Coggins, Legal, Factual and Other Internet Sites for Attorneys and Legal Professionals, XV Rich. J. L. & Tech. 13 (2009), available at (providing a previous version of this listing of Internet sites); Timothy L. Coggins, Legal, Factual and Other Internet Sites for Attorneys and Others, XII Rich. J. L. & Tech. 17 (2006), available at (providing the initial version of this article).

[2] 60 Sites in 60 Minutes Hall-of-Fame, ABA Techshow, http://www2.american (last visited Mar. 25, 2012) (providing an archive of the program panelists’ selections from 2001 through 2011). The 2012 TECHSHOW was held March 29-31, 2012, and the websites highlighted during the 2012 program are available at (last visited April 16, 2012).

[3] See, e.g., Robert J. Ambrogi, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web (2d ed. 2004); Carole A. Levitt & Mark E. Rosch, The Cybersleuth’s Guide to Internet Research: Conducting Effective Investigative & Legal Research on the Web (8th ed. 2007); Carole A. Levitt & Mark E. Rosch, Finding Info Like a Pro: Mining the Internet’s Publicly Available Resources for Investigative Research (2010); Carole A. Levitt & Mark E. Rosch, The Lawyer’s Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet (3d ed. 2006); The United States Government Internet Directory (Shana Hertz Hattis ed., 2012); see also Catherine Sanders Reach & David Whelan, 10 Ways to Stretch Your Research Dollars: How to Get the Facts on a Dime, L. PRAC., March 2009, at 32 (emphasizing ideas for keeping research overhead as low as possible, as well as many helpful and interesting research websites).

[4] Legal Tech. Res. Ctr., Am. Bar Ass’n., 2011 Legal Technology Survey Report (2011), available at legal_technology_resources/publications.html. The report can be purchased from the American Bar Association, and you can read an executive summary of the report and/or purchase the report at the aforementioned link. The Legal Technology Resource Center sent the 2011 survey to 12,500 attorneys in the first four categories (Technology Basics; Law Office Technology; Litigation and Courtroom Technology; and Web and Communication Technology) and to 9,800 attorneys in the last two categories – Online Research and Mobile Lawyers. Legal Tech. Res. Ctr., Am. Bar Ass’n., 2011 American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report (2011), available at The response rate is not significant, frequently only about 10%. See id. The Online Research portion of the report covers the use of free and fee-based online legal research resources, as well as information about current awareness, knowledge management, locations where legal research occurs, preferences regarding fee-based online services, and much more. About Online Research, ABA Web Store, http://apps. 2680112PDF (last visited Mar. 25, 2012).

[5] This article does not cover other very important topics facing attorneys who are using the Internet for various purposes, such as cloud computing and competitive intelligence. See Catherine Sanders Reach, Reach for the Cloud, TRIAL, Jan. 2012, at 38 (offering an interesting discussion of cloud computing); see also Nicole Black, Legal Technology Predictions for 2012, Va. Law. Wkly. (Jan. 26, 2012), at 7 (offering one person’s view about legal technology that will face attorneys in 2012); Competitive Intelligence: A Selective Resource Guide, , 1216/print (last updated Dec. 2011) (providing a comprehensive listing of websites relating to competitive intelligence).

[6] Many legal professionals focus on Google’s many other services. Google Scholar’s advanced scholar search option now offers searching of databases of legal opinions and law reviews/journals, making Google an even more effective search engine for attorneys and other legal professionals. See Carole A. Levitt & Mark E. Rosch, ABA Law Practice Mgmt. Section, Google For Lawyers: Essential Search Tips and Productivity Tools (2010); Donna Payne, GaGa For Google: How Legal Professionals Can Fully Exploit the World’s Most Popular Search Engine, L. Tech. News, Jan. 1, 2009, at 50; see also David Ratcliff, What Can Google Do for You?, TRIAL, Sept. 2006, at 52.

[7] See Greg R. Notess, Search Engine Showdown, http://www.sear (last visited Mar. 25, 2012) (offering comparisons of search engine features). See the “Feature Chart” at the Search Engine Showdown homepage. See id. Although the comparison feature chart is not currently updated, it does help a novice searcher understand the features of the various search engines. See also Robert Ambrogi & Steve Matthews, LegalWeb2.0: Optimizing Your Online Shingle: On-Page and Off-Page Best Practices, L. PRAC., July/Aug. 2011, at 28; James A. Martin, Five SEO Secrets to Make Your Site More Visible, PCWorld (Dec. 22, 2009), /id,185251.html (providing information about marketing your law firm using search engines, including an assessment about how small businesses, such as a law firm, can use search engine optimization to make their own sites more likely to turn up in results lists); Sarah Rodriguez, Search Engines Besides Google? Who Knew?, Va. Law. Wkly., April 27, 2009, at 2.

[8] Google Answers is no longer accepting questions, but an archive of previously asked questions still remains at the site and is searchable. See Google Answers, (last visited Mar. 25, 2012). Approximately 850 questions with some answers about “Law” appear in the “Relationship and Society” section of Google Answers. See Relationships and Society, Google Answers, 1600.html (last visited Mar. 25, 2012).

[9] See Robert Ambrogi, Bloomberg Law Releases Next Version of its Research Platform, Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites (July 5, 2011), 11/07/bloomberg-law-releases-next-version-of-its-research-platform.html.

[10] See Douglas S. Malan, Breaking Down The Barriers, Conn. L. Trib., Feb. 11, 2008, at 20.

[11] Diversity of Thought, Uniformity of Law, Uniform Law Comm’n, The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform St. Laws, (last visited Apr. 9, 2012).

[12] See Daniel Fisher, The Law Goes open Source, (June 30, 2008), (discussing the reasons why the developers of Fastcase, two lawyers who were practicing at Covington & Burling, decided to create an alternative to Westlaw and LexisNexis).

[13] See Court Locator, United States Courts, CourtWebsites.aspx.

[14] See David Whelan, Opinions Online: An Increasing Number of Courts Are Offering Web Access, L. Tech. News, July 1, 2006, at 49 (discussing the innovative ways state courts make opinions available); see also Robert J. Ambrogi, Get Your Free Case Law on the Web, L. Tech. News, May 1, 2009, at 45 (listing websites that provide free access to case law) .

[15] See Warner J. Miller, Trial Court Docket Research Tools, 26 Legal Info. Alert, July/Aug. 2007, at 1 (discussing the leading docket search and retrieval services).

[16] See also Robin Peek, Focus on Publishing: Digital Public Library of America, Info. Today, Feb. 2012, at 24 (announcing the development of the Digital Public Library of America project). The DPLA Steering Committee recently met “to establish ‘the first concrete steps toward the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all.’” Id.; see also Digital Public Library of America, Berkman Ctr. for Internet & Soc’y, (last visited Mar. 19, 2012) (detailing the effort in the United States, similar to the effort of the founders of ArchiveGrid).

[17] See Graham Greenleaf, Legal Information Institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement, GlobaLex, ion_Institutes.htm (last visited Mar. 19, 2012) (discussing the legal information institutes and public access to legal information).

[18] Avvo Overview, BENCHMARK Capital, (last visited Mar. 25, 2012); see David Horrigan, Involuntary Spotlight? Avvo Expects Lawyers and Law Firms to “Claim” Their Profiles, L. Tech. News, May 1, 2008, at 26.

[19] See Hazel L. Johnson, Identifying and Evaluating Expert Witnesses, Va. Law., Dec. 2005, at 29 (discussing the many different sources and locations for discovering and evaluating expert witnesses).

[20] See Robert J. Ambrogi, Two Paths to Solid Research: Two Websites Offer Similar Lessons in Enhanced Utility, L. Tech. News, Nov. 1, 2005, at 12 (reviewing and describing the website).

[21] Increasingly, lawyers and other researchers are looking at how Web 2.0 technologies can change the way that lawyers practice. For an interesting discussion of Web 2.0 and its use by lawyers. See Catherine Sanders Reach, Legal Web 2.0: Saving and Retrieving Fleeting Reference Information, 35 L. Prac. 27 (2009); Edward A. Adams, Web 2.0 Still a No-Go: Lawyers Slow to Adopt Cutting-Edge Technology, ABA J., Sept. 1, 2008, _a_no_go/. See Ellyssa Kroski, Web 2.0 for Librarians and Information Professionals (2008), available at; Dan Regard & Tom Matzen, What Is Web 2.0? Overwhelmed? Here’s a Quick Primer, L. Tech. News, May 14, 2008, at 28 for a basic understanding of Web 2.0 technology. For information about the use of social media and networking by lawyers and other legal professionals, see Evan Brown, Five Reasons for Lawyers to Use Social Media, L. Tech. News., Oct. 7, 2009; Rodney Dowell & Erik Mazzone, A Lawyer’s Social Networking Toolbox: Tuning Up Your Online Business Development, L. PRAC., Nov./Dec. 2009, at 42; William B. Eadie, Protect and Enhance Your Online Reputation, TRIAL, Jan. 2012, at 12; LEADER Networks, 2009 Networks for Counsel Study – A Global Study of the Legal Industry’s Adoption of Online Professional Networking, Preferences, Usage and Future Predictions (2009), available at _for_Counsel _2009.pdf (indicating that counsel in 2009 took a “wait and see” attitude about the strategic value of the networking that they have joined, but they also have a “general belief that online networking will change the business and practice of law over the next five years.” ); see also Jordan Furlong, Make the Most of Twitter, TRIAL, Jan. 2010, at 28 (dealing with the use of Twitter for client communications, while another writer warns about possible security breaches with Twitter); Robert Vamosi, Twitter: A Growing Security Minefield, PCWorld (July 22, 2009), icle/168859/twitter_a_grow ing_security_minefield.html.

[22] See Molly McDonough, Sarah Randag & Lee Rawles, The 5th Annual ABA Journal Blawg 100, ABA J., Dec. 1, 2011, /the_5th_annual_aba_journal_blawg_100/ (listing of the best 100 blogs arranged by subject matter as selected by the authors); see also Pamela A. MacLean, Judges Cite More Blogs in Rulings, Nat’l L.J., Sept. 4, 2006, at 7.

[23] Jamie Diaferia, A View from the Legal Press Box: An Interview with David Lat, L. PRAC., Sept./Oct. 2009, at 48 (Lat is the author of “Above the Law” Blog).

[24] See Robert J. Ambrogi, Good News, Bad News: The ABA Creates a Great Portal but a Lousy Social Networking Site, L. Tech. News, Feb. 1, 2009, at 51; Tamara Thompson, Me, Myself and I: People Can Be Unguarded on Social Networking Sites, L. Tech. News, Dec. 2008, at 32 (discussing social networking); see also Daniel Siegel, Data Security: Honored in the Breach, 48 Trial 18 (2012); Daniel J. Siegel, Social Networking No-Nos, TRIAL, Oct. 2011, at 50.

[25] Many articles and writers debate the usefulness of Wikipedia for legal researchers. See Diane Murley, In Defense of Wikipedia, 100 L. Libr. J. 593 (2008); R. Jason Richards, Courting Wikipedia, TRIAL, April 2008, at 62; Noam Cohen, Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively, N.Y. Times, Jan. 29, 2007,; Brock Read, Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade?, CHRONICLE Higher Educ., Oct. 27, 2006, at A31,; Shawn Zeller, Getting the Facts, Right, 65 CQ Weekly 623 (2007).

[26] Law & Law-Related Databases, U. Rich. Sch. L., library/databases.html (last visited Mar. 13, 2012).

[27] See Patricia A. Broussard, Now You See It Now You Don’t: Addressing the Issue of Websites Which Are “Lost in Space,” 35 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 155, 168-69 (2009).

[28] See Scott P. Stolley, The Corruption of Legal Research, For The Defense, Apr. 2004, at 39, available at; see also Timothy L. Coggins, Virginia Law: It’s Online, but Should You Use It?, Va. Law., June- July 2008, at 35, available at; Hazel L. Johnson, Internet Reality Check, Va. Law., Feb. 2000, at 1; Lyn Warmath, Yes, Virginia, Everything Is Available on the Web for Free, Va. Law., Dec. 2005, at 32.