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As a seasoned lawyer, I've evaluated numerous tools and handpicked these 12 exceptional free legal research resources to aid your practice.

  1. Lawclerk - Best for freelance legal services
  2. Westlaw - Best for authoritative legal research
  3. District Attorney Case Works - Best for criminal case management
  4. TeamConnect - Best for enterprise legal management
  5. Smokeball - Best for small law firms
  6. CaseFleet - Best for timeline visualization of cases
  7. CASEpeer - Best for personal injury attorneys
  8. Moxo - Best for legal marketing automation
  9. Assembly NEOS - Best for document and workflow automation
  10. MyCase - Best for legal practice management
  11. Clio - Best for legal case tracking
  12. PracticePanther - Best for all-in-one legal management

As a law professional, you probably spend a considerable amount of time navigating through various legal databases and search engines, digging into federal regulations, court rules, and relevant cases, or analyzing complex legal issues. I've been there, trawling through the law library of Cornell Law School or the Library of Congress, sifting through an immense amount of information on legal topics. Whether you are studying Supreme Court decisions, federal courts' opinions, or state case law, or whether you are searching through the databases of Lexis, PACER, or the Caselaw Access Project, having reliable legal research tools can be a game-changer.

Just as it's important to stay updated with the latest from the U.S. Supreme Court or your local state supreme court, legal news from the American Bar Association (ABA) and other bar associations is just as crucial. Additionally, researching and interpreting state laws, treaties, the U.S. code, and bankruptcy court rules can be exhausting and time-consuming.

That's why I've put together a collection of legal research tools that can provide comprehensive, docket number and full-text searches for law reviews, federal appellate decisions, court of appeals cases, and public laws. These tools can ease the burden of research and give you quick access to accurate and up-to-date information, even down to specific regulatory details.

A legal research tool is a specialized software or online platform that assists legal professionals in accessing, understanding, and applying legal information. Used by a range of practitioners, including attorneys, paralegals, legal researchers, and law students, these tools provide a wealth of features. They enable efficient case management, document automation, legal research, and marketing automation.

The primary purpose of these tools is to simplify the complexities of legal processes, improve productivity, and ultimately facilitate better legal outcomes. From tracking case progress to researching precedents or even managing client relations, legal research tools are indispensable aids in modern law practice.

Lawclerk free legal research tool interface
Here's the Lawclerk website screenshot.

Lawclerk is a revolutionary platform that connects attorneys with a vast network of freelance legal professionals. With this tool, attorneys can delegate tasks and focus on what matters most. It’s specifically designed to facilitate freelance legal services, offering a robust and secure platform to manage tasks efficiently.

Why I Picked Lawclerk:

In the ever-evolving legal landscape, I chose Lawclerk for its innovative approach to leveraging freelance legal expertise. Its standout feature is the ability to connect attorneys and law firms with a vetted network of freelancers, offering a versatile and adaptable resource for managing workload. The tool's unique design makes it the best fit for those seeking freelance legal services, allowing firms to tailor their legal team according to specific case requirements.

What do you get for free?

Lawclerk offers project-based pricing rather than a traditional subscription model. This means you only pay for the services you need when you need them. There's no subscription fee or long-term commitment, providing the flexibility that many law firms and solo practitioners need.

Standout features & integrations:

Lawclerk comes packed with features to streamline task assignments and management. With secure communication and document sharing, you can trust that your sensitive information is safe. The tool’s intuitive task management system makes delegating and tracking progress a straightforward process. As for integrations, Lawclerk can work seamlessly with your existing document management systems, ensuring a smooth workflow.


With Lawclerk, you pay per project with prices determined by the complexity of the task. There's no monthly subscription fee and no hidden costs. You get straightforward, transparent pricing, which makes budgeting for freelance services easier.


  • No monthly subscription fee
  • Secure communication and document sharing
  • Wide network of vetted legal freelancers


  • Limited feature set compared to full-suite legal tools
  • No fixed pricing structure
  • Requires time to vet and select freelancers
WestLaw free legal research tool interface
Here's Westlaw's legal database feature is simple and easy to use.

Westlaw is an industry-leading online legal research service for attorneys and legal professionals in the U.S. and around the globe. Known for its comprehensive legal database, it excels in providing detailed, authoritative resources for legal research, making it ideal for those who require in-depth information at their fingertips.

Why I Picked Westlaw:

The decision to select Westlaw was straightforward. Its reputation as an industry leader and the depth and quality of its legal database is truly unparalleled. As a tool, it has effectively transformed how professionals conduct legal research. I found it to be the best tool for authoritative legal research due to its vast collection of legal resources, including case law, case summaries, statutes, treatises, and legal encyclopedias.

What do you get for free?

Westlaw offers a 7-day free trial, which gives you access to their comprehensive legal database, with the ability to review and analyze cases, regulations, court opinions, court rules, secondary sources, and more. After the trial period, a subscription is required to continue using the service.

Standout features & integrations:

Westlaw's key feature is its extensive legal database with advanced search functionality. It offers KeyCite, a citation indexing system, which helps to ensure you're citing good law. Additionally, it has a feature for legal research and writing called Westlaw Edge, which employs artificial intelligence for faster, more precise research. It integrates well with legal practice management software, enhancing efficiency in case research and preparation.


Westlaw's pricing starts from around $89/user/month, but exact pricing varies based on the specific resources and features you require. It's also important to note that this is often a negotiated price and can vary depending on the size of the organization and the length of the contract.


  • Vast and comprehensive legal database
  • Advanced search functionality
  • KeyCite feature for citing good law


  • Higher cost compared to some alternatives
  • Learning curve due to extensive features
  • Pricing can vary and may require negotiation

3. District Attorney Case Works - Best for criminal case management

District Attorney Case Works free legal research tool interface
District Attorney Case Works is a top choice for criminal case management.

District Attorney Case Works is a comprehensive solution for managing criminal cases. It provides legal professionals with tools for organizing, tracking, and analyzing case details efficiently, earning its reputation as a top choice for criminal case management.

Why I Picked District Attorney Case Works:

I selected District Attorney Case Works for this list due to its specialization in criminal case management. It's tailored to help attorneys navigate complex cases, allowing them to focus on important legal matters rather than administration. It stood out to me because it's specifically designed for the unique needs of criminal law practitioners, making it the best tool for criminal case management.

Standout features & integrations:

District Attorney Case Works boasts a suite of features, including case tracking, document assembly, and a calendar system. Its standout feature is its powerful reporting tools that allow for deep insights into case metrics. Additionally, it integrates seamlessly with other legal research platforms and document management systems to streamline case preparation.


Pricing for District Attorney Case Works begins from $99/user/month, making it a premium option for criminal case management. Additional costs may apply for specific integrations or advanced features.


  • Specialized tool for criminal case management
  • Powerful reporting capabilities
  • Seamless integration with other tools


  • Higher cost compared to general legal management tools
  • No free trial or free tier
  • Some advanced features require additional payment
TeamConnect free legal research tool interface
Here's the legal management feature in TeamConnnect.

TeamConnect is a robust, comprehensive platform aimed at enterprise-level legal management. It provides a myriad of solutions including matter management, e-Billing, legal hold, and much more, making it an optimal choice for larger organizations that require a more extensive approach to legal management.

Why I Picked TeamConnect:

I picked TeamConnect for this list due to its expansive suite of functionalities that cater to the specific needs of larger organizations. Its broad set of features provides a unified solution for enterprises, eliminating the need for multiple tools. The extensive approach to legal management and its ability to scale to large user numbers is why I consider it the best tool for enterprise legal management.

Standout features & integrations:

TeamConnect offers a comprehensive suite of features, including robust reporting and analytics, document management, and automation of complex legal workflows. It integrates effectively with various other platforms, ensuring a seamless flow of information across different departments in an enterprise.


Pricing information for TeamConnect is not publicly disclosed and can be obtained upon request.


  • Comprehensive set of features for large-scale legal management
  • Seamless integration with various platforms
  • Tailored to the needs of larger organizations


  • No free tier or trial
  • Pricing information is not publicly disclosed
  • May be too complex for small or mid-sized businesses

5. Smokeball - Best for small law firms

Smokeball free legal research tool interface
Here's Smokeball's task management feature sample that enhances legal productivity for small firms.

Smokeball is a cloud-based legal productivity software designed for small law firms. It offers case management, time tracking, billing, and legal forms features, and because it's tailored to the needs of smaller firms, it's my top pick for that category.

Why I Picked Smokeball:

Smokeball appealed to me because of its focus on small law firms. In comparison to other tools, it uniquely understands and addresses the requirements of smaller legal teams. With a user-friendly interface, comprehensive features, and a keen understanding of a small law firm's needs, I believe Smokeball is best suited for small law firms.

Standout features & integrations:

Smokeball provides full case management capabilities, including document automation and robust task management. Additionally, it has an AutoTime feature that passively tracks work to ensure accurate billing. For integrations, Smokeball seamlessly syncs with Microsoft Word, Outlook, and QuickBooks to further streamline operations.


Pricing information for Smokeball is not publicly listed on their website. It's suggested to contact the vendor for detailed pricing information.


  • Designed specifically for small law firms
  • Comprehensive case management features
  • Seamless integrations with popular software like Microsoft Word, Outlook, and QuickBooks


  • No free tier or trial
  • Pricing information is not publicly listed
  • May not scale well for larger law firms

6. CaseFleet - Best for timeline visualization of cases

CaseFleet free legal research tool interface
The fact management feature of CaseFleet is a prime example of its timeline visualization capabilities.

CaseFleet is a case management tool that provides robust features, including fact management, document review, and a powerful timeline tool. It's this timeline tool, which visually maps out the important details and dates of a case, that makes it my top choice for timeline visualization of cases.

Why I Picked CaseFleet:

The timeline feature in CaseFleet caught my attention. The ability to visualize the progression of a case through a timeline is a unique aspect that sets CaseFleet apart from other legal software. The tool's functionality and user-friendly interface also played a part in my decision. In my opinion, CaseFleet is the go-to choice for those who need an effective timeline visualization of their cases.

What do you get for free?

CaseFleet does not offer a free tier, but they do provide a 14-day free trial for potential users to evaluate the software and its functionalities. This trial includes access to all the features, giving a comprehensive view of the software's capabilities.

Standout features & integrations:

CaseFleet shines with its case chronology feature, allowing users to track case facts and visualize them on a timeline. It also offers document management, task management, and contact management. The platform integrates with Google Calendar and Office 365 for seamless scheduling and task tracking.


CaseFleet's pricing starts from $30/user/month (billed annually). This is the starting price for their "Solo" plan which includes all their core features.


  • Unique timeline feature for case visualization
  • Integrates with Google Calendar and Office 365
  • Comprehensive 14-day free trial


  • No free tier available
  • Pricing can be high for smaller firms
  • May require some time to fully utilize the timeline feature

7. CASEpeer - Best for personal injury attorneys

CASEpeer free legal research tool interface
The case management feature in CASEpeer is one of the many features this tool has to offer.

CASEpeer is a comprehensive case management software explicitly designed for personal injury attorneys. The tool manages every aspect of personal injury cases, from intake through settlement or trial. Given its specific design and functionalities that cater to the unique needs of personal injury cases, it's best suited for personal injury attorneys.

Why I Picked CASEpeer:

I selected CASEpeer for the list as it specifically targets personal injury lawyers, making it distinct in the crowded field of case management software. Its specialized design allows it to provide industry-specific solutions which other tools cannot offer. I firmly believe CASEpeer stands as the "Best for personal injury attorneys" because of its customizability, dedicated features, and intuitive workflow that meets the unique demands of personal injury practices.

Standout features & integrations:

CASEpeer comes with robust features, including intake tracking, task management, case timelines, and settlement tools. Moreover, the software boasts a dynamic reporting feature that provides data-driven insights for law firms.

In terms of integrations, CASEpeer excels by connecting with various legal tech tools. Notably, it integrates with software like QuickBooks for accounting, LexisNexis, and Google Calendar, enhancing its overall utility.


The pricing for CASEpeer starts from $65/user/month. The software requires a minimum of three users ("min 3 seats"). It's important to note that this is an annual plan rate and will be billed annually.


  • Specific design for personal injury attorneys
  • Dynamic reporting feature
  • Seamless integration with various legal technology tools


  • No free plan or trial version
  • Requires a minimum of three users
  • The interface may have a steep learning curve for some users
Moxo free legal research tool interface
Moxo specializes in marketing.

Moxo is a powerful automation tool developed with law firms in mind, focusing on the enhancement of their marketing activities. It is designed to automate client engagement processes, marketing campaigns, and analytical tasks. Given its dedication to legal marketing, it is the optimal choice for law firms looking to improve their marketing automation.

Why I Picked Moxo:

In the comparison of marketing automation tools, Moxo caught my attention due to its law-centric design. It stands out from other marketing automation software because it understands and caters to the specific needs and compliance requirements of legal firms. Given its legal focus and sophisticated automation capabilities, I believe Moxo is "Best for legal marketing automation."

Standout features & integrations:

Among its many features, Moxo excels with its customer relationship management (CRM) functionality, email marketing capabilities, and client engagement automation. These features simplify the process of managing client relationships and enhancing communication effectiveness.

In the area of integrations, Moxo integrates smoothly with popular legal software, such as Clio and Lexicata, as well as general tools like Gmail and Microsoft 365. These integrations broaden its functionality and ease of use.


The pricing for Moxo starts at $50/user/month. The service is billed annually, and there is no information regarding a minimum seat requirement.


  • Dedicated focus on legal marketing automation
  • Integration with popular legal software and productivity tools
  • Powerful CRM and email marketing capabilities


  • No free plan or trial version
  • Pricing information may not be entirely transparent
  • Might be expensive for smaller firms with limited budgets

9. Assembly NEOS - Best for document and workflow automation

Assembly NEOS free legal research tool interface
A look at the document management feature of Assembly NEOS.

Assembly NEOS is an advanced document and workflow automation solution designed to improve business efficiency. It streamlines the creation, collaboration, and management of documents and workflows, and due to its flexible design and robust feature set, it stands as an ideal tool for document and workflow automation.

Why I Picked Assembly NEOS:

The choice of Assembly NEOS for this list was driven by its profound capabilities in automating document generation and workflows. It is distinct in its commitment to flexible automation, offering customizability that surpasses many other tools in the market. Based on this level of automation and flexibility, I'm convinced that Assembly NEOS is "Best for document and workflow automation."

Standout features & integrations:

One of the core strengths of Assembly NEOS is its intelligent automation capabilities. It can automate the generation of complex legal documents and manage intricate workflows, effectively reducing manual intervention.

In terms of integrations, Assembly NEOS connects well with major document management systems, including SharePoint, iManage, and NetDocuments, as well as business tools such as Microsoft Office and Salesforce. This ensures a more cohesive and efficient workflow.


The pricing for Assembly NEOS is upon request. It appears they tailor pricing to the specific needs and scale of the user’s business, so detailed pricing is not publicly available.


  • Strong automation capabilities for documents and workflows
  • Flexible and customizable to suit varying business needs
  • Integrates with major document management systems and business tools


  • Lack of a free plan or trial version
  • Pricing is not transparent
  • May be complex to set up and use without prior experience
MyCase free legal research tool interface
The case management feature in MyCase has a user-friendly interface.

MyCase is a comprehensive legal practice management software that provides tools for case management, time tracking, billing, and client communication. With its robust and intuitive design, it stands as an optimal solution for law firms needing a centralized platform for practice management.

Why I Picked MyCase:

The selection of MyCase comes from its comprehensive approach to managing legal practice. Its all-in-one solution differentiates it in the market, covering the entirety of a law firm's daily operations. I find MyCase to be "Best for legal practice management" due to this encompassing approach, making law firms' work more streamlined and efficient.

What do you get for free?

MyCase offers a free trial of its services, providing a taste of its full suite of features. However, there is no permanent free plan available.

Standout features & integrations:

MyCase excels in its case management features, which allow for efficient organization and tracking of cases. It also offers excellent time tracking and billing capabilities, making it easy to manage billable hours and client invoicing.

In terms of integrations, MyCase has a smooth interface with QuickBooks for streamlined financial management. It also provides a secure client portal for efficient communication and document sharing.


Pricing for MyCase starts from $49/user/month, billed annually. This is the starting price for their primary package, which offers access to all the essential features.


  • Comprehensive suite of tools for practice management
  • Efficient case management and billing capabilities
  • Integration with QuickBooks and secure client portal


  • No permanent free plan available
  • Pricing is billed annually
  • May take time for new users to navigate due to the extensive feature set
Clio free legal research tool interface
Here's Clio's dashboard screenshot, which shows you details of a matter.

Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management platform that facilitates client intake, case management, document management, tracking, and billing. Its proficiency in legal case tracking aligns with the needs of law firms that require an efficient, reliable tool for managing their caseloads.

Why I Picked Clio:

Choosing Clio for this list was a clear decision, given its emphasis on case tracking. What makes Clio different is its combination of intuitive user interface and comprehensive case-tracking features, which can lead to significant improvements in productivity for law firms. Therefore, I believe Clio is "Best for legal case tracking" for its potent blend of usability and thorough case oversight.

What do you get for free?

Clio offers a free trial of its software, but there is no permanently free plan. The free trial enables potential users to explore the full functionality of Clio's legal practice management suite.

Standout features & integrations:

Clio's primary strength lies in its comprehensive case tracking system, which seamlessly links with its document management and billing tools. Additionally, its client intake feature simplifies the process of onboarding new clients and managing their information. Clio offers integrations with a wide variety of third-party applications like FastCase and Casetext, including QuickBooks for accounting, Microsoft 365 for productivity, and Dropbox for document storage.


Clio's pricing starts from $39/user/month. This is the entry-level price for their "Starter" package, offering access to core features such as case and document management.


  • Advanced case tracking system
  • Robust integrations with essential third-party apps
  • User-friendly interface


  • Does not offer a permanent free plan
  • Pricing may be high for small firms or solo practitioners
  • Some advanced features only available in higher-tier plans
PracticePanther free legal research tool interface
PracticePanther's dashboard shows its comprehensive list of features.

PracticePanther is a comprehensive legal practice management software that covers a wide range of needs, from case management to billing. Providing an all-in-one solution, it's ideal for legal practices seeking to streamline their operations and have all crucial tools in one platform.

Why I Picked PracticePanther:

I selected PracticePanther for this list because of its comprehensive offering of features necessary for legal management. It stands out due to its unified approach, combining case management, client communication, billing, and more into a single platform. Thus, I consider PracticePanther as the "Best for all-in-one legal management" due to its wide feature set that caters to the diverse needs of legal practice.

What do you get for free?

PracticePanther offers a free trial but not a permanently free plan. The trial period allows users to assess the breadth and depth of features and understand how they can cater to their practice's needs.

Standout features & integrations:

Notable features of PracticePanther include case management, time tracking, billing, and secure client communication. Its document management system also offers automation capabilities, significantly reducing the manual workload.

As for integrations, PracticePanther connects with essential platforms such as QuickBooks, LawPay, Dropbox, and Microsoft 365, further increasing its utility.


Pricing for PracticePanther starts at $42/user/month, marking the beginning of its "Solo" plan that offers comprehensive features. The price increases for more advanced plans that provide added functionality.


  • Comprehensive feature set for legal management
  • Notable automation capabilities
  • Broad range of integrations


  • No permanently free plan
  • Some users may find the interface complex at first
  • High-tier plans can be expensive

Below is a list of additional free legal research tools I shortlisted but did not make it to the top 12. Definitely worth checking them out.

13. XploreJD

14. Google Scholar

15. LexisNexis

16. FindLaw


18. HeinOnline

19. NOLO

20. Fastcase

21. Bloomberg Law

When it comes to choosing the perfect legal research software, the criteria can be quite vast and specific. I've personally tried and tested dozens of these tools, focusing on those that not only provide comprehensive databases but also excel in terms of usability, functionality, and key features.

Core Functionality

Legal research tools should enable you to:

  • Access comprehensive databases of legal cases, statutes, and regulations
  • Provide advanced search features to find specific legal materials
  • Offer cross-referencing and citation features for academic and professional use
  • Include tools for tracking changes and updates in laws and legal precedents

Key Features

Here are some key features that are crucial in a legal research tool:

  • Advanced Search: This helps to filter through thousands of documents to find the exact piece of information needed.
  • Citation Tools: For professional or academic use, it is crucial to have features that help in creating, tracking, and managing citations.
  • Alerts: This feature is essential to stay updated with new cases, changes in laws, or updates in specific areas of interest.
  • Collaboration tools: Some research projects might require a team effort. Tools that support note-sharing, joint document editing, or case tracking are highly beneficial in such scenarios.


A good legal research tool should have:

  • An intuitive interface that's easy to navigate without requiring extensive training. Search functions should be upfront and centered, and it should be easy to move between different sections or databases.
  • Responsive and knowledgeable customer support to assist with any queries or technical issues.
  • Easy onboarding with guided tutorials, tooltips, or a learning library for new users.
  • Flexibility in terms of access - a tool that is web-based or has a mobile app allows users to do research from anywhere, anytime.

Legal research tools offer multiple benefits. They allow for easy access to a vast database of legal cases, statutes, and regulations. Advanced search capabilities make finding specific information a lot quicker. Citation tools aid in creating, tracking, and managing citations for professional or academic use. Alerts help you stay updated with changes and updates in laws and legal precedents. Lastly, some tools provide collaboration features for teamwork on research projects.

The cost of legal research tools can vary widely based on the extent of the database, the number of features, and the level of customer support provided. Pricing models can range from monthly subscriptions, annual licenses, or usage-based pricing. Some tools may offer discounts for larger teams or for long-term contracts.

Pricing for these tools typically starts as low as $20 per user per month and can go up to $300 or more per user per month for premium tools with comprehensive databases and advanced features.

Fastcase is one of the low-cost and more affordable legal research tools, with plans starting at around $20 per user per month. On the other hand, tools like Bloomberg Law are on the higher end of the spectrum, with pricing typically available upon request due to the high customization and comprehensive service they offer.

Yes, there are a few free legal research tools available such as Google Scholar, Legal Information Institute (LII), and Courtlistener, which allow users to search for a broad array of legal cases and journals. FindLaw also offers free access to a range of case law, statutes, and regulations. However, these free options often lack the advanced features and extensive databases found in paid tools.


In conclusion, selecting the best free legal research tool depends largely on your specific needs. Each tool offers a unique set of features, integrations, and pricing models. Therefore, understanding your requirements is crucial for making the right choice.

Key Takeaways

  1. Core Functionality - Understand the primary needs of your legal research. This could include access to comprehensive databases, case law, statutes, regulations, or advanced search capabilities. Once these are outlined, you can choose a tool that offers the core functionality that aligns with these needs.
  2. Key Features - Beyond the basic functions, consider the key features that a tool offers. This can include citation tools, alerts for law changes, collaboration features, or integrations with other software. A tool that provides these additional features could greatly enhance your research process.
  3. Pricing Model - Consider not just the cost but the pricing model that suits your budget and usage pattern. While some tools offer monthly subscriptions, others may have annual licensing or usage-based pricing. Also, remember that there are free tools like Google Scholar and FindLaw that offer good value, though they may lack some of the advanced features found in paid tools.

What do you think?

I hope you found this guide helpful in your quest for the perfect legal research tool. If there's a tool that you find invaluable in your legal practice or research and it wasn't mentioned in this list, please feel free to share it.

I'm always eager to learn about and explore new tools to keep this guide as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible. Your suggestions and insights are most welcome!

By Ben Aston

Ben Aston is an online media entrepreneur and founder of Black & White Zebra, an indie media company on a mission to help people and organizations succeed.

Since 2011, he has been evaluating, reviewing, and helping to recommend software through hundreds of articles across the company's influential digital publications, seeking to make technical workplace topics fun and easier to understand.