Gatekeepers of Legal Information: Evaluating and Integrating Free Internet Legal Resources into the Classroom


Jootaek Lee




Barry Law Review




This Article provides a new analytical tool for legal researchers and practitioners to evaluate free or low-cost Internet resources. Since the global financial crisis has discouraged legal researchers and practitioners from accessing high-cost databases and has encouraged increased reliance on free or low-cost Internet resources, it is important now to establish appropriate evaluation standards for free or low-cost Internet resources. The author believes that evaluation standards based on authority, accuracy, currency, coverage, and usability are necessary for legal instructors in order to safely introduce these resources into their classrooms.

The Article critically analyzes Internet legal resources, primarily using the principle of usability web-design. It concentrates on explaining how to evaluate free or less expensive Internet resources. First, the Article attempts to define Internet legal research and show the difficulty of distinguishing Internet legal research from other online searches. Next, the pros and cons of using free or less expensive Internet resources for legal research are discussed. Lastly, this Article attempts to introduce and establish evaluation standards which we can apply to various Internet resources.