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Where Do You Find Great Legal Research Advice?

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When you need legal research advice, turn to the legal research experts, professional law librarians, most of whom are able to share their expertise freely, or low-costly (so to speak), which is good value indeed when you need accurate, timely, and comprehensive information.

Great law librarians keep up with the vast world of legal research resources: dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of journals and websites and lawyer and law librarian listserves, networks, and professional associations (e.g. AALL). A Law Librarian’s Continuing Education also includes reading local, state, and national judicial, legislative, and regulatory news, and related news in the foreign and international legal world.

So, make sure the librarian you consult for legal research advice is Keeping Up With the Legal Research Joneses or, more to the point, Keeping Up With Opposing Counsel, whose access to legal research resources might be funded a whole lot better than yours:

If you need legal research information, start with these:

A) Your local public law library* and (sometimes) academic law library** are 2 places you might be able to find comprehensive or at least adequate legal research collections and the expert legal researchers who can help you navigate the print and online resources.

B) Sample online legal research resources include lawyer and law librarian entrepreneurs like these (and there are many, many others), which will give you an idea of the breadth of legal research resources one needs to navigate to be a great legal researcher:

1) Aaron Greenspan at PlainSite
2) Carole Levitt, President of Internet For Lawyers (I blogged about one of her books)
3) Fastcase 50 (stay tuned for the 2016 Fastcase 50)
4) LLRX
5) Justia (lawyer, law librarian, law school library websites, blogs and much more)

Notes:

*Not everyone has access to an adequately funded or professionally staffed publicly accessible law library.

**I say “sometimes” because many academic (law school) libraries are putting most of their research databases behind their student-faculty-staff firewalls in response to licensing demands by the database vendors. Law school, and other academic, library directors could fight back, and some do and have, but, like the rest of us, you just have to pick your battles. And, even in publicly funded law school libraries, the primary constituents are the school’s students, staff, and faculty, and the general public’s needs do not supersede the students who pay an ever increasing percentage of the school’s bills. (You are aware, I presume, how our state and federal legislators are not funding higher education at the levels of the past, let alone at levels in other countries that value higher education? If you or your children want to attend institutions of higher education, start saving immediately or think about attending a university abroad in a country where funding higher education is no different a public obligation from funding primary and secondary education – and where a trained and educated population is considered a public asset.)