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Home Page > Courts > Finding the Law > Doing Legal Research

Doing Legal Research on the Internet

 

There are many good websites with accurate legal information. Also, when you search electronically on the Internet, the computer finds all of the cases or statutes at once instead of having to go through the books one at a time the way we humans do.

Doing legal research on the Internet has some disadvantages that have to do with searching the Internet. Here are four.

  • Remember when you put words in a search engine, the search engine has its own way of using the words; make sure you know what that way is (by reading the help section). Remember that no matter how good your search is, the Internet is so vast that you will get many hits, some of them no good at all. Be prepared to be patient.

  • The Internet is much newer than the law. Most sources of law on the Internet go back to the mid-‘90s; the printed sources go back to the 19th century. Sometimes you will need to go to a library and look at books.

  • Doing legal research on the Internet has a disadvantage that has to do with publishing on the Internet. Just as there are many good websites with accurate legal information, there are bad websites with incorrect legal information. Try to see if you can find the same answer on more than one website before you use the information.

  • There are also websites with information that is accurate but biased toward the point of view of the creator of the website. Before you use information, think about the reason the creator put the information there.

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Low-income New Jerseyans can get free legal help by phone: call our toll-free hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Outside of New Jersey, please call 732-572-9100 and ask to be transferred to the hotline.