Google Scholar is becoming an increasingly important tool for conducting legal research and for lawyers writing appellate law briefs. I wrote a blog post on this website about Google Scholar’s legal research software in January of 2010 when the system was still in it’s infancy. Over the past year the capabilities of Google Scholar have grown, to the point that many lawyers are using it as their primary legal research tool.
Although it is not ready to handle 100% of the legal research needs of an appellate attorney, it is more than enough for the average layman and it provides lawyers with a faster way to access basic caselaw research than they can get through the high-priced legal research products. I’ve used it for a substantial portion of the legal research I have conducted in working on appeals over the last few months, and if Google provided a few more functions I would be willing to consider using it exclusively. In it’s current form Google Scholar is great at what it provides, but has a few holes in it’s coverage that will still force lawyers to use commercial legal research tools for a while longer.
I’ve become such a fan of Google Scholar that I wrote a review for it on the About.com Law Practice Management website. Read my About.com Guide Review of Google Scholar as a Legal Research Tool to learn more about this great free legal research product. I also posted a blog post about Google Scholar here.