Since it came out a few years back, Google Scholar Legal Documents has been a welcome addition to legal research (especially as a free resource). One attorney who was in the library the other day told me he uses it frequently and I’ve heard the same from many lawyers.
When I wrote about Google Scholar last summer, Google had removed the option of selecting a jurisdiction before searching and was relying entirely on post-search filtering. While I didn’t love this approach (I generally want to choose the jurisdiction first), it did provide the advantage of getting rid of the cumbersome way that pre-search filtering had been done.
Now it looks like Google has brought back the pre-search jurisdiction filter, but improved how it works. Now when you select “Legal Documents” you will be given an option to select either Federal Courts or your State’s courts.
You can also select other courts that you may be interested in. Previously when you clicked on “Select courts,” all courts would be selected and would require the user to “deselect all.” Google has now fixed this so that no courts are selected and the user can select the needed court without having to deselect first.
Once you run a search (even if you don’t select a jurisdiction first) you are still given the option to filter your search results by court.
This is a great improvement that is more in line with how legal research is conducted. I’m a fan.