State Bar Associations Provide Free Legal Resources
Coverage varies from bar to bar, but paying those annual membership dues can get you access to legal research services such as Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and Versuslaw.
Greg Lambert has provided an interactive map (at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog) that shows what service you can expect to find provided by your state bar. The Georgetown Law Library blog points out that the underlying data for this map “comes from a more detailed matrix of bar benefits that describes such benefits as mentor and ethics resources.” Check it out!
Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and Versuslaw are all Web-based legal research services that are available by subscription. While not providing the depth and breadth of coverage as Lexis and Westlaw (nor the bells and whistles), they are low-cost legal research alternatives.
Fastcase includes primary law from all 50 states as well as federal case law back to 1 U.S. 1, 1 F.2d 1, 1 F.Supp. 1, and 1 B.R. 1. Use Fastcase to find court rules, legal forms, search PACER and newspapers.
Casemaker contains state and federal case law, statutes, regulations, attorney general opinions and other resource materials used daily in the practice of law.
Loislaw, in addition to having primary law for all 50 states and federal jurisdictions, has a public records database and a database of practice-specific treatises and state-specific treatises and legal forms.
Versuslaw offers access to archived and current opinions from state, federal and Native American tribal courts, as well as the U.S. Code, CFR, and specialty practice collections. Versuslaw also has an a-la-carte database of U.S. Legal forms.
Be sure to check out each service’s website for more detailed information on content coverage, searching, citators, training and webinars, free demos, iPhone apps, and more.