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The information on this site is provided as a service and should not be construed as legal or non-legal advice. Users needing legal advice are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney.
This guide’s purpose is to aid users in utilizing the Google Scholar search engine. Google Scholar covers a wide range of content areas. Similar to its traditional search engine, Google Scholar ranks and lists results according to relevancy.
Google Scholar retrieves its results from a separate database than traditional Google searches. Google Scholar includes articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions in its results list. This information is retrieved from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other sites. Much of the information provided is not available for free and the search results only include the citation and a link to an abstract of the article or publication. However, case law and court opinions are free and readily accessible from the results list.
This guide discusses searching techniques and strategies. It also provides information on various tools available through Google Scholar. Please remember that this guide is not exhaustive and does not cover all the features of Google Scholar.
Google Scholar Coverage
Google Scholar, under its “legal opinions and journals” option covers federal and state case law, as well as legal journal articles. Legal opinions may be found in Google’s own database or via a link to an alternative source such as Cornell’s LII, Justia, or Public.Resource.org.
As of 2011, Google Scholar had the following case law coverage:
U.S. state appellate and supreme court cases since 1950
U.S. Supreme Court cases since 1791
Citations for cases cited by indexed opinions or journal articles, which are not yet online or publicly available