An increasing number of legal resources are now published solely on the Internet. Legal researchers have more database choices which offer full text, searchable access to case law, statutes, regulations, and court rules. Publishers realize it is less costly to publish electronically compared to traditional paper formats, plus users benefit from the timely coverage and the editorial enhancements available with an online format. Loislaw (www.loislaw.com), from Aspen Publishers Company, groups its online service into flat-rate subscription plans and targets users needing a low cost research system. This database provides access to: primary law, covering state / federal jurisdiction; secondary law, consisting of a treatise library and Bar publications; and finally, special products such as Personal Public Records, Corporate Records or Legal News. The design of Loislaw is straightforward and intuitive, yet includes all the features a researcher would expect from an online database like Boolean searching and hyperlinks. The treatise library in Loislaw provides electronic access to many of the legal titles published by Aspen and includes links to forms and checklists whenever possible. State Bar publications add unique content and value to the Loislaw database. Having access to Wisconsin CLE material (in a searchable, full-text format) is a solid reason to subscribe. A cite checking service called 'GlobalCite' is also available. Versuslaw (www.versuslaw.com) is another flat rate, legal database. Their standard plan consists of federal and state case law coverage. Other add-ons include federal statutes and administrative material. The most interesting feature of Versuslaw is the coverage of decisions from 19 different tribal courts. Although these two databases do not provide extensive date coverage or a wide variety of secondary resources like Lexis / Nexis and Westlaw, Loislaw and Versuslaw might be the perfect research solution for a small law office. Stop by the UW Law Library to test-drive these databases via our homepage.
Submitted by Cheryl O'Connor on March 23, 2007
This article appears in the categories: Law Library/IT