Home Google Scholar Gets Smarter: Now Features Legal Opinions

Google Scholar Gets Smarter: Now Features Legal Opinions

Google just announced that it now features legal opinions in Google Scholar. Starting today, Google Scholar will feature the full text of legal opinions from US federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts. Through this, users can now easily find the text of Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education, for example. Google Scholar also lists other legal opinions and journals that cited these opinions. In addition, users can also do standard keyword searches to find legal documents.

Users can easily restrict searches to opinions from federal courts or courts in certain states. In addition to finding the case and legal opinion, Google Scholar also displays related documents in a sidebar, as well as a list of cases where a certain opinion was cited. Google’s Anurag Acharya also notes that a lot of these opinions are surprisingly readable.

As Google points out in the announcement, finding these legal opinions has typically been difficult. Now, the company makes it very easy to find any legal opinion about Napster, for example. Google notes that it hopes that access to this information will allow regular citizens to “learn more about the laws that govern us all.”

It’s interesting to see that Google continues to add more and more public data to its repositories. Just last week, Google added data from the World Bank to its search results. Earlier this year, Google also started to include data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division. Google didn’t go as far as integrating these legal opinions on its search results page yet – though for searches for Roe v. Wade or Miranda v. Arizona, these results could really enhance the current search results.

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