Free and Low-Cost Resources for the Budget Conscious

Saving money on legal resources doesn’t have to be hard. There are dozens of free and low-cost resources available to the budget-conscious, if you just know where to look for them. Below is a list (with links!) to help you on your search.

The FREE Stuff:

Public Libraries.

Now don’t scoff. Public libraries are invaluable resources for millions of Americans and they can be for attorneys as well, if you know what you’re about. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH) has access to Hannah (Ohio Capitol Connection) and Gongwer News Service and an extensive print collection of legal materials that includes the Baldwin’s Ohio Handbook Series, Baldwin’s and Anderson’s Ohio Revised Statutes, American Jurisprudence, Ohio Jurisprudence and more. PLCH and the Clermont County Public Library both offer incredible services called OhioLink and SearchOhio, which allow you to check out materials from any public library in the state of Ohio (SearchOhio) and any academic library in the state of Ohio (OhioLink) with just your PLCH or CCPL library card. Unlike interlibrary loan, this service is entirely free, it’s easy to use and the books arrive within 7 to 10 days. This means you can check out books from universities, law school libraries and even medical school libraries. For free.

Also never to be underestimated, Gale Legal forms is available at Clermont County Public Library for Ohio forms and Kenton County Public Library for Kentucky forms. Clermont County allows you to sign up for an ecard online. They will then send you the code you need to access Gale (and all of their other eresources) without having to step foot inside a library building.

Other free resources:

  • Findlaw for legal professionals
  • Lawriter
  • Supreme Court Reporter of Decisions (1992-2017)
  • Fastcase – use it for FREE at HCLL
  • HeinOnline – use it for FREE at HCLL
  • CourtListener: millions of opinions both state & federal, run by the Free Law Project
  • Google Scholar
  • The Public Library of Law
  • The entirety of the extensive print collection at HCLL
  • Print Resources used on-site at the UC Marx Law Library (you can even check out materials with your PLCH card because UC participates in OhioLink)
  • Westlaw (limited, but still available for free to the public on special computers), faxing and print resources used on-site at NKU’s Chase Law Library

Low cost resources:

  • Ravel - Searchable case law and statutes. This product is very similar to Fastcase, utilizing visual charts to help make the results more navigable.
  • Judicata - This is a product that has won some acclaim of late. It features a standard case law search but with a query assist that puts Google to shame. More than just suggested spellings, the AI learns from your natural language searches and helps you build the perfect query.
  • CARA (Casetext) - this product has been named New Product of the Year by the American Association of Law Libraries. It’s fairly ingenious. Users upload a brief and the AI software reads the brief and then returns cases and other secondary sources most relevant to the case in question. It’s like having your own researcher without having to pay for benefits.
  • FindACase - This is a case searching software that is similar to the Public Library of Law, except that you have to pay to download the cases.
  • Justia - A comprehensive, searchable database of all SCOTUS and Court of Appeals cases since 1950
  • PublicLegal - a collection of legal forms, some of which are free, some must be paid for.
  • Fastcase Forms - while Fastcase is free at the Law Library, unfortunately the forms must be paid for separately.
  • And of course, The Hamilton County Law Library! For our subscribers, we offer research assistance, remote access to many of our proprietary databases for certain subscriber groups, FREE CLEs, videoconferencing, conference rooms and a subscriber’s lounge and computer lab.