Although legal analytics are all the rage in legal research tools, for many solo and small firm practitioners, these new developments don’t yet have much relevance. For starters, many of the analytics tools are priced out of solo and small firm budgets. Moreover, many of the courts where solos and smalls practice often involve unreported decisions or mixed rulings (such as custody and support awards in family law) and don’t readily lend themselves to data analysis ( On the other hand, the SSA maintains a thorough database of ALJ awards in SSA cases which is another type of case that solos might practice.
That said, there are plenty of new legal research developments that do benefits solos and smalls. One platform that has always been a bargain for solos and smalls and continues to be, even more so is the Jenkins Law Library, the nation’s first and oldest law library . Though based in Philadelphia, Jenkins serves lawyers nationwide with a rich repository of online resources that continues to grow – and only costs $200 per year (you read that right – half the cost of a month of WestlawNext).
For that low price, Jenkins Law includes:
- Fastcase , the fastest growing comprehensive legal research platform – and now, more widely used than LEXIS ;
- HeinonLine, a database of law journals and bar magazines, along with an extensive searchable legislative history data base that includes far more resources than either Westlaw or Lexis (I just pulled Congressional Reports that I’ve never seen before from a 1935 statute and its subsequent 13 different iterations);
- Treatises on topics like immigration, property law, jury instructions, Section1983 and more that are no longer available or maintained in most law libraries and can cost a pretty penny to purchase (for example, Nichols on Eminent Domain costs a whopping $8500 but can be borrowed online from the Jenkins Law Library;
- The Nolo publications on a range of topics – employment, trusts & estates, family law, bankruptcy, etc…
- Forms and templates for many types of legal contracts
If you haven’t done so already, give Jenkins Law Library a try. And if you’re already using it, share your favorite features in the comments below.