Caveat Emptor: Risks of “Free” Legal Information

It is human nature to love free stuff! However, it’s not necessarily likely for people to recognize that what appears “free” often comes with a few caveats. In Free Legal Information is Not Risk Free Jean O’Grady succinctly unpacks a recently released report on the state of legal information. Important warnings abound regarding free legal information, especially as relates to State materials found on the Internet.

Take heed of just a few of the findings below:

  • State provided legal information sites provide minimal search capabilities: citation retrieval and some basic searching
  • Case citators are not provided by any State case-law sites
  • Ambiguous dates for when many free State provided statutes were last updated
  • Some States post disclaimers regarding reliability of the information

Legal researchers, the general public and especially attorneys using freely available legal information resources on the Web beware: “free legal information is not risk free”.

Click here for a full PDF of the State of Legal Information report findings.

 

 

 

About Cheryl Niemeier

Cheryl Niemeier is Director of Knowledge & Research Services at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Ms. Niemeier received her Master of Science in Library Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1986 and her Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana in 1981. Ms. Niemeier has held multiple professional leadership positions in local, regional and national library associations. She frequently speaks at professional association conferences and continuing legal education seminars. Ms. Niemeier has authored multiple articles and seminar publications.
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