Legal research. I’m compulsive. I want it and I want it right now. It needs to be current and for my practice I need access to legal resources from around the country.
The Major "Brands:" A long time ago, I used each of the two "name brand" legal research tools. At first, the service arrived on CDs on a quarterly basis. As a sole practitioner working part-time, it was expensive. My database was limited to Michigan case law and statutes. But it was convenient because I could access it from my desk. Current? In this day, no one would call a quarterly update current. My niche practice in interstate jurisdictional controversies requires access to cases and statutes in all 50 states. Often I need copies of law review articles.
Later, I switched to the other name-brand legal research tool. This one was very expensive for a sole practitioner and my selected database was limited geographically. I was able “opt-out” of Michigan searches and do a search for other states—law review articles, treatises—all at an incredibly high price. One month, my bill from the service was over $700—all because an electrical storm had interrupted my law review search, I’d logged on three times, and I was billed $50 for each access and by the minute for each download.
Finally, along came TheLaw.net. This was an amazing find! At the time (2005 or 2006), it cost me $1/day! For that $1/day, I had access to law, statutes, court rules, rules of evidence, etc. from all federal and all state resources.
Without extra charge, I could send an email to the “Virtual Assistant,” and within less than 24 hours (7 days a week), I’d get the law review article(s) or treatise piece(s) I wanted to review. Amazing. Moreover, TheLaw.Net updates cases so quickly that slip opinions I've read by subscription from the Michigan appellate courts are quickly added to TheLaw.net and then updated with proper citations if an unpublished case is later published.
Now, ten years later, I see nothing but improvement. TheLaw.net has developed links within cases to the citations in the appellate decisions I am reading. (That used to be a luxury I enjoyed in the major law research database, but one that cost me precious time as I traveled down side roads). I’ve learned to put blinders on and to use these links judiciously to conserve time, but I do appreciate them.
TheLaw.net Equalizer 7.0 provides a clean interface. There is none of that garbage (you know . . . the images of what you last looked at on Amazon.com . . . an ounce of saffron, e.g.) cluttering up your screen.
Price: The price is unbeatable! $575/year for 1 lawyer and 1 paralegal.
Test Drive It: You can test drive it for a month without charge.
Tutorials: In addition to the Virtual Assistant, TheLaw.net has valuable online tutorials. If you’ve never learned to power of a Boolean search, Mark Whitney, TheLawNet’s developer, is a fantastic teacher. There are online support blog posts and see: http://www.thelaw.net/frequently-asked-questions/
For trial subscription and /or to choose TheLaw.Net as your preferred legal research database, go to this URL: http://www.thelaw.net/subscription-fulfillment/