Legal Research Using Google Scholar

Over at FourthAmendment.com, John Wesley Hall suggests that Google Scholar is a very helpful way to find and link to caselaw online.

I’ve fiddled with it a bit, and I think it’s a great tip. For example, if you want to read cases on the “reasonable expectation of privacy” test, you enter “reasonable expectation of privacy” into Google Scholar, just click on “legal opinions and journals,” and you get a list of cases with their citations that you can read in what seems to be rough order of prominence. The cases themselves are in a very easy-to-read format, with clearly visible page references for pincites to the published reports. You can do a date range search, and each opinion includes links to all the other cited opinions. And if you really want to get into it, check out the Advanced Scholar Search page.

I’ve just started to check this out, but it seems sort of like a free version of Westlaw. It doesn’t have all the same functionality, but the price is certainly right. And the cases actually load faster than Westlaw does. Very cool — yay Internet!