Do Free Legal Research Tools Waste Resources?

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 13, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Almost every lawyer has been down the rabbit hole of researching free legal research tools. And almost every one of those lawyers comes to the same conclusion: free legal research tools are often lacking in several ways (except, ironically, in cost).

Whether it's questionable accuracy, abysmal formatting, or the annoyance of having to scour multiple free sources, there's always something when it comes to free research sources. In the end, even bothering with free research sources can just be a waste of time, and hence a waste of resources (and ironically, a waste of money).

No Time Like the Present

When it comes to some research, naturally, using Google is the way to go. For instance, if you need to know the weight, or airspeed velocity, of an unladen swallow in order to provide context to defeat a defense to a Res Ipsa Loquitur claim involving a dropped coconut, a legal research tool probably isn't going to get you there. Using the right research tools is imperative to protecting your most valuable resource: Time.

If you're just pulling cases down off Google, how can you be sure that the holding is still good? If it's a recent case, it may only take a few minutes to run that case's citation through another Google scholar search to see how many times it has been cited, but you're going to have to read through those cases to find out if those were positive, negative, or neutral, citing references. That's going to take some time. And while there are free tools available, like EVA by ROSS Intelligence, that can accomplish that step for you, you have to manually move that information across platforms, which also eats up your time.

Had you just pulled the case down from a search in a premium, professional, legal research platform, with a simple click you can get all the citing references with clear indications of positive, negative or neutral treatment. This can save hours upon hours of time, as often reading the whole case in a cited reference is absolutely necessary, and you don't want to waste time with neutral treatments or just passing mentions.

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