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Free and Low Cost Online Legal Research: Beyond Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg: Federal Courts & Case Law

This Guide describes a wide range of online legal research resources. It covers primary law, government resources, research guides, reference sources, forms, and legal news.

CALI's Free Law Reporter

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)'s Free Law Reporter (FLR) is an electronic case reporter that freely publishes nearly every recent appellate and supreme court opinion, from state to federal U.S. courts.

This project builds upon Carl Malamud's Report of Current Opinions (RECOP) and, hence, contains whatever is included in the slip opinion archives of the RECOP. This includes primarily appellate level courts in the 50 states and D.C., the federal courts and SCOTUS. For the most part, coverage begins with 1/1/2011 and continues forward.

Federal Court Dockets

Below are lower-cost alternatives to LexisNexis' CourtLink and Westlaw's CourtExpress.

Quick Links

U.S. Supreme Court

History & Statistics

Judicial Nominations

FDsys' United States Courts Opinions

A project between the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to provide public access to opinions from U.S. appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. The coverage dates vary widely and early opinions are continually added, please check the website for current coverage. For the district courts, not all federal districts within a particular state are represented.

Other Federal Court Opinions

Please note that U.S. District Court cases are not as readily available for free on the Internet (except for those opinions posted on the courts' official Web sites, which are typically only the most recent decisions, and through Justia). Options include the low-cost subscription service Loislaw and the UCLA subscription database LexisNexis Academic (see descriptions below).

Also consider calling your local college campus or public law library, which may have subscriptions to LexisNexis Academic or public-access Westlaw, respectively.

UCLA Law students are eligible for free Loislaw accounts which remain active throughout the summers and 6 months after graduation.

Links to related guides