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Start Your Legal Research with Google Scholar

Start Your Legal Research with Google Scholar

Just last week, I told a group of paralegals at a civil litigation seminar to always start their informal case investigation with a Google search. This week, I would tell them that they can also start their free legal research using Google Scholar.

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.

Just go to http://scholar.google.com/. To search for case law, select “Legal opinions and journals”, and then enter your query and prepare to be quietly impressed. I quickly tested it with a few queries about common North Carolina workers’ compensation issues, and all of the key cases appeared in the top search results. Then I narrowed the search to articles only, querying the terms “workers’ compensation” with various medical conditions, and was very pleased with the results.

Google Scholar may not replace your other free and fee-based legal research services, but it’s not a bad place to get started.

For an excellent review of Google Scholar’s capabilities, see “Google Makes Free Caselaw Search Available in Scholar” from Internet for Lawyers and “More Sources on Google Scholar Case Law” from Just in Case.

If you’ve tried it, what do you think, and for what purposes would you recommend it?

3 Responses to Start Your Legal Research with Google Scholar

  1. I tried it out last night, and though I had to play around with phrasing, it was surprisingly nice. Because it's free, I can actually follow the links to federal and other state opinions. I'm a fan.

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Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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