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Free is good. But free is not necessarily equal. Below are 10 sites that provide free access to case law. Each has its peculiar strengths and weaknesses. Which is right for your research project? The answer depends on what you need.

1. Fastcase and Casemaker. These two commercial services qualify as free only if you happen to belong to a state bar association that offers one as a member benefit. Twenty-eight state bars offer Casemaker, and 14 offer Fastcase.

Of the two, Fastcase has a slight edge, both in coverage and usability. Its Supreme Court library dates back to 1754. Its federal circuit cases start from the beginning of the Federal Reporter second series in 1925 and its federal district court cases go back to 1912.
For Casemaker, its Supreme Court library also dates back to 1754. Its federal circuit library goes back to 1930 and its federal district court cases go back to 1932.

Both services have appellate cases from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with coverage varying widely by state. All Fastcase libraries go back at least to 1950. Several Casemaker state libraries go back even farther, to 1930 and earlier.


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