The case law search function in Google Scholar enables you to find Federal and state cases via keyword search. This is helpful if you’re looking for court rulings on a topic but don’t have a specific case in mind. For example, if I’m researching the development of laws pertaining to the New England lobster fisheries I can enter “lobster fishing” into Google Scholar then search for Federal court cases that include my search term and or search for Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island state court cases that include “lobster fishing.” (The sixth New England state, Vermont, is unlikely to have any court cases involving lobster fishing because Vermont doesn’t have any ocean coastline).
Once you’ve found a court case related to your search term in Google Scholar you can read the case online within Google Scholar. Additionally, Google Scholar lists other cases that have cited the ruling that you’re currently reading. That provides an easy way to find related cases about your chosen research topic.
A video overview of how to use Google Scholar to locate federal and state court rulings is available here and as embedded below.
This blog post was written by Richard Byrne and originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Any appearance of this post on other websites is unauthorized.