West/Lexis Access for the Patrons

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This might have been mentioned before in earlier posts, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. 

By now you are probably aware that lawyers rely on the big legal databases of West and Lexis to do their research.  These provide access to state and federal cases and statutes and important secondary sources.  You are also probably aware that it is pretty expensive to use these resources.  And a couple of pro se patrons have complained that they feel pretty outgunned going up against lawyers who use such databases.

However, you may not be aware that your state or county court law library might have patron access to either West or Lexis.  This can give you good search capability of state and federal statutory and case law.  And its usually free of charge (print outs are another matter).  Certainly, these patron access services do not give you the full capability that West and Lexis are capable of.  But they are pretty darn helpful.

If you need to research an issue, contact your state or county court law library to see if they have patron access to a major database.  That will help level the playing field.

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