On Friday I posted about Westlaw/Lexis’s summer access policies.  While some of you may not qualify for Westlaw/Lexis access this summer – stay calm! – there are other options available that are free to you.  These resources can be especially helpful to use before money’s involved with your firm’s Westlaw/Lexis contract.

Bloomberg LawAs I wrote earlier this year, Bloomberg is attempting to position itself as a competitor to Westlaw and Lexis.  One way it’s getting its name out is by offering access to law students and putting no limitations on law student use during summer jobs and externships.  BYU law students received an email in early March with a personal Bloomberg Law username and password.

Fastcase – This is my favorite low-cost legal research resource.  The law library has a subscription to Fastcase, so BYU law students can access it for free if you use this link.  Fastcase also has great iPhone and iPad apps that provide content for free.

Google Scholar: Legal Opinions and Journals – This is my favorite free legal research resource.  The search engine works well – try advanced search for more narrowing options.  The downside is it only has cases, no statutes, etc.

Loislaw – This is another low-cost legal research database that the law library subscribes to.  Several firms use Loislaw and BYU law students can use it for free this summer through our subscription.

Westlaw Patron Access – For those of you that will remain in Provo, the law library has a version of Westlaw on one of the computer terminals near the 2nd floor reference desk.  You are more than welcome to use it for your summer research if you’re around.

This should give you some good options if you can’t use your school Westlaw/Lexis account this summer.  For a few more options and some tips on using these free/low-cost alternatives, see this short article I wrote for Student Lawyer magazine.