AnyLaw is a free legal research tool covering all precedential court levels in the United States, at both the state and federal level. AnyLaw features a highly intuitive interface (it’s like Google; just input keywords or keyphrases), and delivers targeted searchable results in an instant.
The headline, of course, is that AnyLaw doesn’t cost anything to use. Despite the existence of a legal research industrial complex spearheaded by ancient behemoths like Lexis and Westlaw, there is a current drive to make legal research more accessible = less costly, or free. So far, AnyLaw has done the best job of putting its money where its mouth is, by delivering an ad-supported legal research tool. Using AnyLaw for legal research is similar to listening to free music on Pandora or Spotify; ads are present, but not distracting. At the home page, the search feature appears, with an ad at the bottom of the page; within search results: ads are on the right side of the page, search features are on the left.
Of course, ‘free’ is only a part of the equation: even free solutions have to work well, to merit consistent usage. And, AnyLaw works well. Full coverage of state and federal case law precedent is supplemented by responsive live filters, linked citations and real-time updates. You can easily tweak searches on the fly, or follow chains of case precedent. Users can filter for particular court systems via the main search page, or from within search results. There is also a download feature for case text, as well — since lawyers love to cling to paper documents. All those features are not only free, but don’t even require a login. If you join AnyLaw (provide an email address, and create a password), you’ll also be able to save (or, ‘favorite’) cases, which will then be accessible later, at your account, under the ‘My Stuff’ tab. This is less an inducement to solicit email addresses, and more of an answer to the reality of having to create a personal storage unit for the cases you wish to go back to. Saving search results is a key component to modern legal research, and AnyLaw offers that ability via its ‘Save’ feature.
For lawyers who are tired of haggling over research fees, with an end result of saving pennies on the dollar for a significant budget line item, AnyLaw is the answer for eliminating that overhead cost altogether. Of course, AnyLaw also has significant ramifications for access to justice (A2J) — not only because it offers legal aid lawyers a legitimate free research tool, but also because it provides DIY legal clients with a no-cost research alternative. Since cost is not a barrier with AnyLaw, it has the potential, as a research tool, to better connect lawyers and law firms with legal consumers.
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AnyLaw is free to use; and, there’s really no excuse to not at least try it today! Start here.