By Dione Wrenn • April 07, 2013•Writers in Residence
Legal research. Two words that you will never be able to shake from the start of law school through your days practicing law. For some, legal research is an absolute joy. For others, they'd rather be arguing in the courtroom than sitting at a desk trying to decipher which combination of connectors will yield the best results. Thankfully, there are a few companies that endeavor to make legal research less burdensome. Two of those companies are practically a staple in law schools across the country: LexisNexis and Westlaw. Like many of my fellow classmates I was one of the first in line for free gear on days that the LexisNexis and Westlaw reps had tables set-up. Other than outstanding swag and catchy slogans, both companies make legal research 101 easier and have saved many a first-year from the horrors of the Socratic method with quick case summaries.
Law students across the U.S. may soon have a third legal research platform that not only offers superior research tools but also the latest in business and tech news. Bloomberg is best known for providing the best in business and financial market news. However, in 2009 Bloomberg stepped into the legal research market with its site "Bloomberg Law". Although the site was unveiled roughly four years ago, many law students are unaware of its existence. I'm sure you are wondering, who wants another legal research tool? Well, Bloomberg Law is definitely worth a look especially since it is free to law students.
At its core, Bloomberg Law is a comprehensive legal research tool with an edge. It offers case, statute, treatise, law review article, and book searches coupled with an easy to navigate interface. Alongside your search results, the site offers an interactive side bar that provides citation analysis, related dockets, and a handy dandy notepad. Bloomberg Law also has a nifty section called "Practice Centers" that focuses on the following subject areas: business, corporate, intellectual property, labor, employment, and technology law. There you can research news, financial reports, laws, regulations, court opinions, dockets, books, and treatises in connection with those specific practice areas. One of my favorite features of Bloomberg Law is the ability to research federal and state dockets, which is an invaluable resource as a law clerk.
Outside of its competitive legal research tools, Bloomberg Law offers fantastic resources for students interested in business and corporate law, IP, and tech law. Also, there is a student resource center that provides useful videos and articles about careers, insight into the legal profession, and ways to enhance your marketability. Bloomberg Law is a fantastic free tool that will only enhance students law school experience and further improve their legal research capabilities.
Some of What Bloomberg Law Has to Offer:
- Cases, statutes, and Bloomberg's very own BCite
- Books, treatises, and practical guidance materials to help you learn about new areas of law and new projects
- Examples of litigation briefs and transaction documents
- Company and people profiles to help with career research
- Notepad and workspaces