Low-Cost Legal Research Services on the Web

Updated Jan. 7, 2014.
Prepared by Nancy McMurrer; updated by Cheryl Nyberg (2011 & 2014)), Lori Fossum (2009), and Kristy Moon (2006).

This guide describes four low-cost online legal services, three of which are available to current UW School of Law students and faculty. Links to online review articles are UW Restricted.

For information on free or other low-cost legal research resources, please see Georgetown Law Library’s thorough and well-designed guide on Free & Low Cost Legal Research.

UW School of Law faculty, students, and staff are entitled to passwords/IDs to use other commercial legal databases, described at Access to Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis & Westlaw.


URL Casemaker
Federal and State materials.
Washington State Library has Supreme Court (from 1854) and Court of Appeals (from 1969) with official pagination; RCW; session laws; Attorney General’s opinions (from 1949); WAC; Growth Management decisions; Environmental Board decisions; court rules (including Superior Court rules); Rules of Professional Conduct;, and ethics opinions. Secondary Sources available for purchase via CaseKnowledge tool.
Student Use The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) provides student access for academic use only. Ask a reference librarian for a password. WSBA members may share their password with you for work-related legal research, so ask your supervising attorney for more information.
Reviews Carole Levitt & Mark Rosch, Meet Casemaker and Fastcase: Legal Research Databases You May Not Have Heard About, Legal Information Alert, Oct. – Dec. 2008.

Casemaker: The Free First Stop for Your Legal Research, Washington State Bar News, August 2010.



URL Loislaw
Contents Federal and state materials. State materials include case law, codes, administrative codes, court rules, and some additional materials such as administrative decisions, attorney general’s opinions, and bar publications. Unpublished opinions available for some states (including WA). The Treatises Libraries include twenty-six subject areas. UCC filings and corporate public records available. Some databases only available through additional subscription.
Student Use Loislaw suspended its free program for law schools.
Review Stacey Gordon, Update XXV: What’s New on Westlaw, LexisNexis, HeinOnline, and Loislaw, Legal Information Alert, Jan. 2009.


Practical Law Company

URL Practical Law Company
Contents Articles and other secondary sources in the areas of bankruptcy, business entities, capital markets, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity. Includes articles, checklists, forms, and practice notes and overviews
Student Use Free registration and use until graduation. Register



URL VersusLaw
U.S. Supreme Court (from 1886), Courts of Appeals (from 1930 for most Circuits), District Courts (coverage varies), other federal courts, US Code, CFR, state appellate courts (coverage varies, WA from 1935), state codes and regulations, court rules, tribal courts, and Australian courts.
Notes Multiple federal or state case law databases may be searched simultaneously. A non-subscriber may search and retrieve the document hit list as a guest by providing a name and email address. A citation tool, while somewhat limited, (V.Cite) is available. Formal privacy policy.
Student Use To register, click on “Law School” under the heading “Special Groups.” Registration is good for one year from Aug. 15 through July 15. You must reactivate your account each year. You may use VersusLaw for academic purposes only.