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covid-19 law library updates

A Message from Pat Newcombe, Associate Dean for Library & Information Resources

Before the current COVID-19 crisis, many alumni may have relied on print and online materials available through law libraries. Since many law libraries are closed to the public, the Law Library thought it might be useful to provide you with a list of free and low-cost legal research tools available remotely or online.

Please note that the WNE University School of Law Library is closed in accordance with Governor Baker's order. If you need assistance or have questions about Library materials/services/research etc., please contact Pat Newcombe at (413) 782-1616.

LexisNexis Digital Library
The Law Library's subscription to LexisNexis Digital Library gives you access to hundreds of LexisNexis ebooks that you can access digitally from anywhere, including Suppression Matters under Massachusetts Law, Massachusetts Corporate Forms, Moore's Federal Practice, What's it Worth?, annotated codes, and many others. Helpful features include quick access to recently accessed titles and the ability to highlight and annotate material.
Alumni can access the Law Library's subscription by signing in with your School of Law Library barcode and PIN. If you would like to be set up for access, or are having trouble accessing this resource, please contact Nicole Belbin.

Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries
Currently, these libraries are closed to the public. Still, they have reference services available through chat, email, texting to (617) 674-1455, by calling (800) 445-8989, or by calling any of the individual law libraries listed here. Library staff can perform legal reference and research, including Shepardizing and Keyciting cases, and document delivery. Cardholders also have access to Lexis/Matthew Bender ebooks, Nolo books, and Retrievelaw. Additionally, the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library staff have prepared topical guides to Massachusetts law and related federal law in their Massachusetts Laws About… pages. Note that some resources require a library card; if you do not have one you may fill out a registration form online and contact the library via email.

Members of some state bar associations, including the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA), enjoy free access to Fastcase. There is a link to Fastcase on the MBA website. Fastcase is a legal research platform that permits advanced searching techniques like Boolean and proximity searching. Fastcase also has an algorithmic citator, which can help you determine the validity of a case.

Some state bar associations, including the Connecticut Bar Association, offer free access to Casemaker. Look for a link to Casemaker on state bar association websites. Casemaker is a legal research platform that permits advanced searching techniques and provides an algorithmic citator to help you determine the validity of a case.

Google Scholar
Cases from most jurisdictions can be found on Google Scholar. Right underneath the search bar, you will see two radio buttons – one for "articles" and one for "case law." Be sure to select the "case law" radio button. Users can apply an advanced search that includes Boolean searching but not proximity searching. It also includes a citator which gives a list of citing cases with a short passage to help the user determine how the case has been treated but gives no evaluation as you might get with Shepard's, KeyCite, or one of the algorithmic citators.

Casetext offers a 14-day free trial of their legal database. Casetext also uses advanced searching techniques and includes an algorithmic citator. With the free trial, Casetext also provides access to the Cara A.I., which allows users to drag and drop their legal briefs to receive a report of relevant case law they might have missed.

For More Information, Contact:
Pat Newcombe
Associate Dean for Library & Information Resources
(413) 782-1616