Date of this Version
Most legal professionals have used free online resources to help in the legal research process. Whether it is an opinion downloaded from a court's Web site, a federal statute located using Cornell's Legal Information Institute (LII), an article on Wikipedia, or a post on someone's blawg, the quantity and variety of free online resources seems to grow on a daily basis. Some have even wondered if these resources can one day replace the need to subscribe to a computer-assisted legal research (CALR) service such as Westlaw or LexisNexis. Late last year, the "blogosphere" was abuzz with this question after Google added legal journals and opinions to its Google Scholar search tool. Although members of the legal community already use the Web as a complement to fee-based CALR services, the role free Web resources play in the research process will likely expand. This article will examine the appropriate short-term and long-term roles free Web resources should play in the legal research process. Particular attention will be focused on the authentication and preservation of online primary legal material.