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Free Legal Research Databases for all Oregonians


If you are not a licensed Oregon attorney and you need to perform thorough legal research (vs “googling a legal problem,” yikes), you have free access to some of the same legal research databases that Oregon attorneys use: Fastcase is one of them and you have remote access to it through your State of Oregon Law Library (SOLL). (Check out their Blog while you’re at the SOLL website.)

You also have free access to NOLO (formerly Nolo Press) databases through the SOLL.

Remember, Google isn’t enough when you have to appear without an attorney before a judge. I recommend consulting an attorney* or a professional law librarian**, but not everyone (or even most) has access to either, let alone both.

*As a wise lawyer / law librarian once said, you can read all the cases, statutes, and regulations in the world and still have no idea what the law is or how it applies to your case.

** Read the Legal Research is Easy blog if you want to know the types of legal research resource and legal research advice a professional law librarian can give you. (It’s also a fun legal research blog to read, but it’s California specific, not Oregon. And California has a lot of legal research resources and services that Oregon does have for self-represented litigants and for lawyers, especially in metro areas.)

And as you will see from Legal Research is Easy, legal research advice is not legal advice! You will need to read the law and commentary on the law, you will need to analyze the law, and you will need to decide your own course of action. (Professional, experienced law librarians also give lawyers legal research advice. The lawyers then give their clients well-informed, up to date client-specific and jurisdiction-specific legal advice.)

Note: Other states’ public law libraries offer similar services and free remote access to legal research databases.

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