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Google Scholar

Google Scholar Legal is Google's legal research product with a large database of case law, patents, and articles. It is fast, free, and easy to use.

Google Scholar Rating:
4.3/5

Features

  • Customer Experience & Support - 7/10
    7/10
  • Pricing & Value - 10/10
    10/10
  • Innovation & Future-Proofing - 9/10
    9/10
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Details

Rating Breakdown

Our Rating: 4.3/5

Our rating is based on our subjective judgment. Use our resources—including our rating and community ratings and reviews—to find the best fit for your firm.

Who Google Scholar Legal is For

Google Scholar Legal is an excellent choice for anyone just starting to research case law, patents, or articles. It’s free and easy to use. It can also help refine and scope a search in a familiar interface you know and trust before you dive into a different—and probably much more expensive—tool.

However, your mileage may vary, since your Google searches may not be as accurate as you need without lots of extra digging. And, as with the Google you know so well, the software returns search results that are only as good as your queries. Google Scholar is a good starting point, but because of its lack of secondary resources and a proper citator, you should probably use it in conjunction with other legal research tools or in cases where you are already intimately familiar with the issue’s seminal cases in your jurisdiction.

Google Scholar Legal Features

Website
scholar.google.com
Starting Cost
Free
Free Trial
Apps
  • Web
Sources
US State Cases
All 50 States
US State Statutes
US Cases
US Statutes
Dockets
Secondary Sources
News Coverage
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI legal assistants can help you identify relevant cases and statutes, and may even help you draft your brief.
Natural Language Search
Can you search by entering a question in normal language rather than keywords or Boolean connectors and phrases?
Boolean Search
With Boolean operators like AND, OR, and more, you can precisely target your search query.
Case Summaries
Citation Checking
A citation checker helps you identify whether a case or statute has been overruled, modified, or reversed or repealed.
Filter Search
Can you restrict your search to certain parts or features of cases and statutes, like the date, judge, or jurisdiction?
Research History
Research history makes it easier to find the results of previous searches or see if the law has changed with new results.
Research Folders
Organize your research history into folders.
PDF/Word Downloads
Download cases and statutes as a formatted PDF or Word document.
Suggestions
When you run a search, get suggestions for additional searches to run or material you should look at.
Alerts
Flag key cases so that you get an email notification if it is cited in a new case, statute, or secondary source.
Software Integrations
  • None
Open API

Things You Might Want to Know

Set up your preferences. If you have specific settings you’d like to set as defaults, click the button in the top right corner to set your preferences. On the home search screen, you can also select which jurisdictions you’d like Google to search.

Google Alerts. If you want updates about changes to practice areas or particular cases, the Google Alerts feature automatically updates you according to your customized notification preferences.

“How Cited?” Google Scholar does not have a citator per se. It does, however, have the “How Cited” section, which shows you how other opinions or secondary sources have treated the case. It doesn’t provide explicit “good law” or “bad law” ratings, either, so you’ll have to put in the grunt work to find how reliable a particular case is.

No headnotes. Google Scholar also skips summaries and headnotes. So you’ll have to do a little digging there, too, to see if a particular case is actually relevant to your search.

Limited secondary sources. While you can search for articles, some of the search results lead you to different databases, like HeinOnline or JSTOR, which require subscriptions for access.

Save your articles. As you search, if you come across articles or case law you want to save, save them to your Google Library by clicking “Save.” You can even organize saved documents by labeling them in much the same way you label Gmail messages.

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