Guide Prepared By:
This guide was used with permission from Meredith Hale, content created and developed by Sue Altmeyer and Laura Ray at the Cleveland Marshall Law Library.
BNA and CCH
These databases are not necessarily inexpensive, but usage is typically not billed back to clients. BNA and CCH include many expertly prepared current awareness services, as well as treatises and primary sources, and are popular amongst practitioners. Coverage spans the full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.
Fastcase is a federal and 50-state case law database. It has natural language, as well as boolean search capabilities. Authority Check citator provides list of cases citing your case and blurb of text from the citing cases, but no signals. Unique features include Forecite, which identifies cases likely to be on point that do not include all your search terms, and Interactive Timeline, which shows the chronology of cases in your search results and which cases were cited most frequently. Fastcase has low subscription costs and may be available at your firm.
Comparison of Low Cost Alternatives to LexisNexis & Westlaw
|Unannotated Regulations||“Shepard’s –Like Feature”||Other|
Federal - 1789 - present for Supreme and District, 1891 for Circuit.
|Yes||Yes||Dockets, Forms, Practice Books, News, Company Info, Legislation/reg tracking|
|People's Law Library of Maryland||Links to the Maryland State Legislature, which has current code||
Links to the Maryland Judiciary's online case information page.
|Links to COMAR online||No||Step-by-step instructions for pro se litigants in various areas of the law|
|Fastcase||Internet links for 8 states||Coverage||Mostly Internet Links||Yes||---|
|Versuslaw - See help, Content/
|Fed if pay more, no state||Fed if pay more, no State||Yes||----|
Treatises, Forms, Public Records
(Depends on Plan)
|Database||Boolean||Natural Language||Fields||Search databases together||Saves Searches,
|Bloomberg Law||Yes - s/, p/||No||Advanced Searches on the right side||All-in-One Search Box||
Saves Searches and
|People's Law Library of Maryland||NA||NA||NA||All-in-One Search Box||No||No|
|Fastcase||Yes - w/n||Yes||Date, cite look-up only||Yes||Saves last 10 searches||No|
|Versuslaw||Yes - w/n||Yes default connector is ADJ||4 fields, see help||For additional fee||No||No|
|Loislaw||Yes - near2||No||Yes||Yes||
Saves Searches and
|All-in-One search box|