Legal Research Software

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Learn More About Legal Research Software

What is Legal Research Software?

Legal research software helps law firms find useful information for building cases and drafting documents. Software vendors offer access to searchable databases of legal documents. These legal documents can include case law, treatises, statutes, property and other legal records, and more.

Legal research software may also provide analytical tools to help interpret search results. These tools include citation checkers that ensure individual cases are still considered good law and AI draft analysis.

Adequately preparing to argue a case or advise a client requires extensive research. Using legal research software can reduce research times for legal professionals. Legal research software is frequently used by lawyers, paralegals, and law librarians, depending on the firm. The software includes tools to help legal professionals evaluate the strength of their case or plan their court strategy.

This software is also used by professionals who access legal records to perform people searches or background checks.

Vendors actively curate and update their databases to include new decisions, overturned cases, and other changes to existing law. The range of coverage varies between different software options. Some focus on statutes and case law in a particular state, while others contain a much wider range of documents covering international law.

Legal Research Software Features

Feature sets of legal research software vary, but common features of legal research software include:

  • Access to databases of legal information
  • Active database curation to keep information relevant
  • Relevant articles and analysis from newspapers and journals
  • Updates on current events and changes to the legal landscape
  • Research support teams to assist users with searches
  • Analysis of public records to find information on companies, people, and assets
  • Validation of citations to ensure that cited decisions are still considered good law
  • Infographics showing relationships between cases relevant to a search
  • Assisted document drafting
  • Analytics for specific judges, firms, and case types
  • Time tracking for billing purposes
  • Ability to create folders to organize individual cases

Legal Research Software Comparison

When comparing legal research tools, there are some important factors to keep in mind.

Scope of Information Needed: Some smaller firms may mostly need access to local and state case law and the occasional secondary source. The free or low-cost option offered by the state bar association should work well for those firms. Other firms tackle larger and more complicated cases and therefore do more research. For these firms, a legal research tool with access to a larger database and wider variety of information is desirable.

Research Support Features: Experienced legal researchers like law librarians may not need many additional features to make the research process easier. Some legal research tools, however, offer features to aid those who may prefer a simpler search experience. These features can include natural language search, support teams, and online communities.

Natural language search is more intuitive than a traditional Boolean search, and will produce results in the same way as a web search. Responsive support teams and online communities can help answer tough questions. These features may be useful for anyone, but particularly those who have not previously conducted a lot of academic, library, or legal research.

Pricing Model: Many vendors charge a monthly fee for legal research software, but some charge per minute used, per document viewed, or per search conducted. If you don’t do legal research very frequently, choosing a pay-as-you-go software may be ideal. If your cases require a heavy research load, a monthly subscription will be a better choice.

Start a Legal Research comparison here

Pricing Information

The price for legal research software varies depending on the number of users and the features included. Most vendors use a monthly subscription plan. Per-month costs range from $50 per month to over $600 per month.

Some vendors also offer pay-as-you-go plans, charging per minute used or per document viewed. Vendors may also charge extra fees to view documents outside the scope of a subscription. For instance, some subscriptions only include legal documents from a particular state or region.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does legal research software do?

Legal research software allows legal professionals to access and search databases of legal documents. These databases include case law, statutes, legal records, and more. It also helps users assess and analyze the data they find, then compile it for use in cases they are working on.

What are the benefits of using legal research software?

Legal research software helps legal professionals save time searching through multiple smaller databases or physical records for necessary information by compiling it all in one place. It also makes case prep work easier by allowing legal professionals to find applicable statutes and precedents for their cases.

What are the best legal research products?