As a former law firm librarian during the days when cite checking meant ruffling through maroon-colored hardbound books, today’s legal research options seem revolutionary. Lawyers, librarians, and paralegals no longer have to sit at dedicated Westlaw and Lexis terminals. They simply open a browser on their computer or whatever device is handy, and begin typing.
Along the way, browser tools have been created to make online research faster and more efficient. Here are a few of the top legal research extensions, plugins and add-ons.
Bestlaw – Adds features to Westlaw and Lexis to make legal research faster and easier. Features include: copy a perfect Bluebook citation with one click, automatically generate a clickable table of contents for any document, share the document by email or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and much more. Works with Chrome and Firefox.
CiteGenie – Highlight text in the court opinion or other content on the webpage you’re viewing, right-click and select the “Copy with CiteGenie” option and CiteGenie™ will create citations in Bluebook, MLA, APA, Chicago, and Wikipedia formats when you paste it into your word processor or other program. Works with Firefox.
Evernote Clearly – If you use Evernote to store and manage your research, this tool cleans up the webpages and online articles you save for easier reading. It strips out ads, banners and other elements while retaining images related to the content. Works with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
RELATED: How Lawyers Use Evernote
Google Scholar Button – This extension transfers your query from web search to Google Scholar and formats references in widely used citation styles. For more information, check out the Washington Post writeup. Works with Chrome and Firefox.
Jureeka! – Powered by Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII), this plugin simplifies online legal research by identifying and transforming plain-text legal citations on web pages into direct links to the source material. Works with Chrome and Firefox.
Lexbox – Helps you organize and keep track of your online legal research in one place and monitor your research with personalized alerts for related new content. Works with Chrome.
RECAP The Law – a joint project of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University and Free Law Project, this extension improves the experience of using PACER, the electronic public access system for the U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts. It shows you when free documents are available, gives you better filenames and headers, and more. Works with Chrome and Firefox.
We’ll update this post as more browser tools surface to help legal professional conduct research online.