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My institution recently dropped LexisNexis. I have had an email from our Deputy General Counsel for the University. She asks:
Within the last few years we also cancelled our subscription to Nexis Uni. As part of that process, we did a review of coverage/alternatives, which I've included below. Westlaw is the product that has the closest coverage to Nexis, but I'm guessing you probably don't subscribe to that. Here are the others (some are cheaper subscription products) we looked at (including in this thread in case others are interested):
(Session laws, like United States Statutes at Large) are the laws published in chronological order. Codes are laws arranged by subject.)
Google Scholar has pretty good coverage of state and federal cases. Searching is not as sophisticated as in commercial databases. I'm not as confident of Google Scholar's coverage as I am of commercial databases' coverage.
Harvard Law Library scanned all of its case reports, redacting the editorial features where the publisher claims copyright. Coverage ends with cases published in June 2018.
Different sites-e.g., Justia, Findlaw, Leagle-have case reports. Again, searching is clunky and we have little assurance that the coverage is complete and the texts are accurate.
HeinOnline and WestLaw have different subscription packages – so you might be able to customize.
West might be best to shepherdize a case – but I am not suppose to endorse or recommend commercial products. So that is not an endorsement.
Jenny Groome | Reference Librarian Connecticut State Library | 231 Capitol Ave | Hartford, CT 06106 Tel.: 860-757-6500 email@example.com
She should get pricing and then request that the university purchase her a Lexis Nexis or Westlaw subscription. With a multi-year contract, she probably can get monthly pricing down to around $65 for her seat to have a basic state and federal plan. For someone working full time in law, the secondary sources and citator in whichever of those she prefers is important.
She already has Fastcase as a member of the bar. That will have statutes, case law, and regulations. It used to not have secondary sources. Now it has secondary souces, but it likely does not have the go to resources for explaining an area of law. It has a citator. My understanding is that the citator is not as reliable as for Lexis Nexis or Westlaw, but that they are converging over time into having similar reliability. She should use her bar login to try it out.
For every state, someone will be doing CLEs (continuing legal education courses required for keeping the bar certificate). I looked and couldn't find a great resource on that. Maybe combining https://law-campbell.libguides.com/free_resources/nc plus https://guides.ll.georgetown.edu/freelowcost and calendaring out 4 hours to look through sources there could be a way for her to assess where things are at. Free of charge legal research online keeps getting better and better. For example, today the laws in Justia have case notes. I would say for primary law, free of charge websites adequately cover the topic. Then for secondary law and a reliable citator, that is mostly what people are buying when they buy a legal research tool.
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