There have been some changes to the state bar associations' legal research offerings since the Goodson Blogson last surveyed the landscape in summer 2014. The Goodson Law Library now hosts a map of state bar association-provided legal research services. Updated for December 2015, this map provides quick access to the current research service provided by each state bar.
|State bar association research offerings, Dec. 2015|
Fastcase maintains a slight market edge, with 27 state bar associations providing their members free access compared to Casemaker's 22 state bars. (These numbers include Texas, still the only state to provide its members with free access to both services.) Three state bar associations (California, Delaware, and South Dakota) provide no free research benefit to their members. However, many attorneys in California receive Fastcase or Casemaker as a benefit of county or local bar association membership, while South Dakota offers its members a discounted rate for Fastcase.
Curious to see these services in action? Members of the Duke University community can access a campus-wide version of Fastcase, which does not require a separate username and password (but also does not save user search history, as an individual account through a bar association would). Current law students may create an account on CasemakerX, an educational version of Casemaker, with their Duke Law email address.
Many state bar associations (including North Carolina) also offer free law student memberships, which include access to the research service offered. To locate the bar association in the state where you plan to practice, check out the American Bar Association's online state and local bar association directory.
For more information about the campus versions of these services, or for assistance locating the best legal research service for your needs, be sure to Ask a Librarian.