The longer I practice law, the more I realize that lots of my information gathering is not done through legal research. Instead, much of my research is done through internet search engines. When you are just looking for background information, or readily accessible information, try a few of these tips to find what you are looking for.

Site searches

The good news is that many sites have their own intra-site search functions. The bad news is that many of these search engines do not work well, and may not show you the results you need. An easy workaround is to use Google to search the site. Please note, Lawyerist has a good search function, but I still use it for the sake of examples below.

Lawyers can use Google to search sites for particular topics. For example, in Google, type in technology site: and Google will search Lawyerist for technology posts. In this example, the second search results is the technology category for Lawyerist.

Use “or”

If you are not sure what the proper term is for your search, try using or. In the example above, if you wanted to search Lawyerist for posts on Facebook or social media, type in Facebook or “social media” site: and Google will pull up posts relating to both topics.

Search for certain types of files

When you are trying to quickly acquire background information on a new topic, Google can be a good place to start. Many times, I find PowerPoint presentations dealing with the topic. It turns out you can direct Google to search for certain types of documents. For example, if you were looking for a PowerPoint on social media policy, type in “social media policy” filetype:ppt and Google pulls up a number of PowerPoint presentations.

(photo: manfrys)

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