100 Free DIY Legal Resources on the Web
Posted by Staff Writers on December 17, 2008
If only you had the time and money to go back to school and get a law degree. Then, you’d be able to understand business contracts, real estate forms, your divorce papers and even the news a little better. But since we’re pretty sure you’re like us and don’t have the time and money to go to law school in your spare time, we’ve compiled a list of 100 online legal resources that help you manage your own cases and questions.
Use these search engines and search tools to get connected to legal materials faster, without having to sort through a bunch of junk you don’t need.
- FindLaw Cases and Codes: Look up case summaries, jurisdictions, historical documents and more with this tool.
- LawGuru: This legal research tool is totally free and searches more than 535 engines.
- ‘Lectric Law Library: This irreverent law search tool is powered by Google.
- Public Legal: Learn about the law and legal profession when you start your search here.
- Meta-Index for U.S. Legal Research: The GSU College of Law operates this search resource for DIY lawyers and students.
- Law.com Quest: Here, you can "search the legal web" to find legal blogs, law firm websites and more.
- MegaLaw: Look up everything from federal cases to legal forms to family law on this site.
- FindForms: Locate legal forms, from confidentiality agreements to bankruptcy forms, by using this tool.
- Law Forum: Find lawyers and locate legal resources by state or by category.
- The Virtual Chase: Browse categories like foreign law, legal reference, state law and more here.
Glossaries and Legal Terms
Look up confusing legal terms and Latin words with these glossaries.
- Law.com Dictionary: Look up legal definitions using this powerful tool.
- Everybody’s Legal Glossary: Nolo’s legal glossary lets you browse by letter or type in a word.
- Court TV Glossary of Legal Terms: Court TV’s glossary is loaded with legal terms and definitions.
- Glossary of Legal Terms: Lawyers.com supports this glossary that’s based on the 2001 version of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law.
- U.S. Courts Commonly Used Terms: This guide is helpful for cramming before your case or to look up something you didn’t understand.
- Legal Definitions: This free dictionary lets you search words and phrases.
- Legal Dictionary: Find legal definitions that are commonly founded in business contracts and settings.
- List of legal Latin terms: Here you can look up Latin words like caveat emptor and habeas corpus.
- Common Legal Words: This glossary is powered by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch.
- Real Estate Terms: Here you can find words that you’ll find in real estate transactions and forms.
- Glossary of Basic Legal Terms: You can use this glossary as a cheat sheet or as an introduction to legal terminology.
- Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in Court: Virginia’s judicial system maintains this very useful glossary.
- Contract Law: Look up words you’ll come across in a contract here.
For free legal advice and to keep track of the latest legal news, visit these blogs from law firms, newspapers and more.
- Advertising Law Blog: Get tips and insight into advertising law, including Internet and privacy law, promotional marketing and more.
- My Disability Blog: This is a helpful blog for anyone wanting to learn about Social Security, arguing disability cases in court, and more.
- Houston Legal Advice Blog: Based out of Houston, this blog discusses all types of Texas law, including consumer law, civil law, criminal law and real estate law.
- Legal Blog Watch: Get updates from the Law.com Network, significant cases and legal trends from this blog.
- WSJ Law Blog: The Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog keeps track of the stories and issues through which business and law intersect.
- Above the Law: Read this legal tabloid to find out what’s going on in the worlds of law school, law firms and the courts.
- Law Librarian Blog: Periodically check back with this blog to find new legal resources for your research.
- Election Law Blog: Get a better understanding of U.S. elections and politics when you read this blog.
- FDA Law Blog: Stay abreast of FDA cases and rulings here.
- Law Professor Blogs: Play around on this network of law professor blogs, where you can find daily news, case updates and plenty of resources for analyzing your own case.
- The Art Law Blog: This blog documents the latest legal issues and scandals going on in the art world.
- Sustainability Law Blog: Use this blog as a resource to learn about environmental law and building regulations, sustainable business, green building and more.
- AFL-CIO NOW Blog: Learn about the legislation, advocacy movements and more that affect everyday workers and individual rights.
- ACS Blog: The American Constitution Society Blog reports on equality and liberty, judicial nominations, the criminal justice system, the Bill of Rights, and more.
- The Trademark Blog: Learn about copyright laws and legislation here.
- Privacy Law Blog: Know how and when to protect your privacy and information when you read this blog.
Here you can find links to the government resources you’ll need to research or contact during your case.
- SCOTUS Blog: Keep up with the cases, issues and legislation of the U.S. Supreme Court here.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: On this website, learn about the health care and other benefits that are guaranteed to you as a veteran by the government.
- U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Resources: Find out when votes will occur, search for bills and debates, and read U.S. laws here.
- Federal Judicial Center: Read biographies of federal judges, learn about educational programs and access publications and videos from the FJC.
- State Government Information: Click on a state to be directed to the appropriate government and legislative information.
- Library of Congress: Here you can find all kinds of research materials and links for legal cases and more.
- National Center for State Courts: You can learn about new research projects and technology updates that benefit the state courts.
- Constitution of the United States: Use the Constitution as a primary resource for all your legal research.
Forums and Social Media
Network with others to get real-life advice.
- ExpertLaw: Find forums on all sorts of topics, including family, government, employment and personal injury law.
- FreeAdvice Forums: Here you can search threads like Medical and Health Care Malpractice or Auto Accidents and Vehicle Claims for everyday cases.
- TheLaw: Participate in the forums to share your stories and get tips on others on topics like divorce, personal injury, banking, contracts and more.
- The Securities Law Forums: Learn more about arbitration, corporate finance and brokers here.
- The Attorneys Forum: Submit a legal question on this site and share your own tips with other visitors.
- WORLD LAW Direct Forums: The most popular threads on this site are debt collection, business contracts, and consumer complaints.
- Labor Law Talk: For advice on everything from immigration law to accidents and injury, this site has lots of active threads.
- Law School Forums: Facebook: This popular law forum even has a Facebook page.
- Internet Law Forums: Learn more about Internet law, including free speech and trademarks, here.
- Fraud Watchers: This forum also has a lot of useful links to legal research tools and resources.
Articles and Guides
Here you can find articles and guides that explain how to file for divorce, manage debt, and decide whether or not you’re capable of handling your case on your own.
- Divorce, Dollars and Debt: How to Manage Debt: This guide takes you through the steps of getting a divorce, including filing for divorce, filing requests for temporary court orders and the settlement agreement.
- 10 Steps to Take Before You File a Lawsuit: If you’re thinking about suing a person or company, consider these ideas first.
- Do you really need a lawyer?: If you’re thinking about handling your case yourself, read this guide to help you evaluate the situation.
- Four Behaviors to Avoid to Reduce Divorce Costs: Learn how to be organized, focused and economical when getting a divorce.
- Closing on a home: This DIY guide takes you through the steps of closing on a home.
- How to file a lawsuit: Consumerist shares tips on filing small claims here.
- What if you’re sued?: Read this article to learn how to prove your case if you get into an automobile accident.
- What does copyright protect?: This government website explains what you can and cannot fight for in a copyright case.
- How to file divorce papers?: Learn what you need to get in order before you file for divorce.
- How to Defend Yourself in Traffic Court in a Trial with No Prosecutor: Learn how to address the judge and cross examine.
- Do you really need a lawyer for a real estate closing?: Find out what this writer has to say about hiring a lawyer, or not, in New Jersey.
- How to Protect Your Website’s Copyright When Someone Steals Your Content: This article shares tips for finding perpetrators and how to fight for your content.
- Small Claims Court Defense: Here you will find tips for managing yourself in small claims court.
Podcasts and Videos
Listen to these legal podcasts for more advice and legal news.
- Immigrate USA: Recent podcasts from this site cover citizenship, labor certification laws and more.
- Legal Broadcast Network: This site is mostly designed for lawyers, but anyone can learn from channels like "Voices Of The Law" and "The Tax Law Channel."
- Georgetown Law Webcasts: Listen to webcasts on the global health workforce, juvenile justice and more.
- Connon Wood Scheidemantle: This firm records podcasts about employment law, alternative fee arrangements, insurance traps and more.
- How to find free legal advice: Get tips for getting connected with legal aid groups and finding quality, online assistance.
- Legal Talk Network: Listen to podcasts about the legal profession and high profile trials here.
- American Constitution Society at Stanford Law School: Stanford’s ACS uploads podcasts that feature interviews with U.S. Attorney John McKay, social psychologists, and others.
- Keepin’ It Legal: In this video, you’ll learn legal marketing and networking tips for your new business.
- Legal Lad: Legal Lad shares "quick and dirty tips for a more lawful life" in this podcast.
- Yale Law School Podcasts: Listen to lectures and speeches from the Yale Law School to learn about practical and ideological issues.
Databases of Lawyers and Legal Help
Find a lawyer using these directories.
- FindLaw: Look up law resources, expert witnesses, court reporters and more.
- TheLaw: Get connected to free legal advice, including forums, a free consultation with an attorney, and free forms.
- iLawyerSource: Find a lawyer by specialty or location.
- Law Firm Directory: Here you can find law firms by specialty, including elder law, entertainment and sports, bankruptcy and more.
Take a free legal class online when you visit open courseware sites from MIT and other schools.
- Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager: This MIT course can be a great help for new business owners.
- Constitutional Law: This survey class focuses on understanding civil rights and liberties.
- Law and Veterinary Medicine: Tufts’ class helps veterinarians run ethical, lawful practices.
- Law and Society: MIT’s anthropology course can help you gain insight into how modern societies accept and manipulate the law.
- The Law of Mergers and Acquisitions: Here you can get an overview of how deals are made, contracts and mergers.
- Criminal Law: Take this criminal law class to learn about criminal acts, the purposes of punishment and more.
- Gender and the Law in U.S. History: Gender issues like suffrage and gay marriage are explored in this class.
- Patents, Copyrights, and the Law of Intellectual Property: Whether you’re a blogger or small business owner, this class can help you gain a better understanding of copyright and IP law.
- Online Media Law: Learn about defamation, privacy, plagiarism and copyright in this media law class.
Here you’ll find even more educational and legal resources from the ACLU, University of Minnesota Law School and more.
- Legal HelpMate: This is an excellent resource for looking up legal terms, finding forms, getting credit reports and more.
- VersusLaw: Subscribe to this service to search cases, courts and more.
- ACLU: Learn about legislative updates, high profile cases, and what the ACLU is doing to protect individual rights and civil liberties.
- International Law: This guide from Cornell gives a brief overview of how international law is organized.
- Federal and Government Resources: Find more legal resources from the government here.
- Subject Index to Law-Related Web Sites: The University of Minnesota Law School organizes links by categories like copyright, juveniles, bankruptcy, animal rights and more.
- Research Tools: Browse state legislative research guides at the Maurer School of Law and Indiana University.