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Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World   Tags: cost effective, practice  

Research in the real world starts here! Use this guide to orient yourself to the work and research environment.
Last Updated: Oct 5, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Low Cost Databases Print Page

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.


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.



    VersusLaw offers state and federal cases as well as and statutory law in a variety of low cost plans.  Free for law students and faculty, register here.


      Comparison of Low Cost Alternatives to LexisNexis & Westlaw


       Database Unannotated
      Unannotated Regulations “Shepard’s –Like Feature” Other
      Bloomberg Law Yes


      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 ----
      Loislaw Yes Yes Yes Yes

      Treatises, Forms, Public Records

      (Depends on Plan)


       Database Boolean Natural Language Fields Search databases together Saves Searches,
      Alert Searches



      Bloomberg Law Yes - s/, p/ No Advanced Searches on the right side All-in-One Search Box

      Saves Searches and

      Alert Searches

      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

      Alert Searches

      All-in-One search box

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