Why is a google search not a reliable tool for legal research?

If you're a lawyer, that's a pretty big alert that you could be jeopardizing your legal investigation. To begin with, the coverage of your case isn't complete and often doesn't include the latest court opinions. There are many good lawyers who (secretly, at the risk of being embarrassed) who initiate many legal research projects with a simple Google search. There are also several good reasons for this.

It's usually the most practical place to start with complex issues or topics that the lawyer has only limited familiarity with. You can use broader search terms and still get useful information, because algorithms are smarter and Google has access to a greater variety of information. I am not advocating the use of Google or other search engines as a substitute for traditional legal research. Google Legal Scholar is a free legal research platform with an easy-to-use interface that is perfect for many individual and small law firms looking to complement their existing legal research tools.

Google search results usually show the keywords, case law or statutes that allow a lawyer to more effectively embark on the deeper investigation offered by more traditional legal search techniques. I don't mind saying that I have a strong interest in lawyers using search engines and non-traditional sources of information to facilitate their investigations. But that only succeeds to the extent that lawyers use non-traditional legal research methods to educate themselves. However, many law firms are looking for alternatives such as Google Legal Scholar as a free complement to their existing legal research tools when lawyers need to conduct basic research.

A Google law search can find legal cases that date back to the 1650s, state appellate cases since 1950, and cases from federal trials, appeals, taxes and bankruptcies since 1923, and more. A legal search on Google is a great way for any lawyer to investigate your case while avoiding the costs associated with more established legal research tools. Search engines can be used to find summaries, technical documents and treatises that summarize dense or complex topics.

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