A good site for quick and simple access to California law.
By Erik J. Heels
First published 5/11/1998; LegalResearcher.com; publisher: New York Law Publishing Company
JuriSearch (http://www.jurisearch.com/) provides online access to California laws for $39.95/month plus a yearly charge of $40 (that’s $519.40 for a year). The site includes next-day access to opinions from the California Supreme Court, California Courts of Appeal, U.S. Supreme Court, and the 9th Circuit.
Their site lets you sign up online for a free 14-day trial. You’ll need to provide your credit card number and notify them in writing (including by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to cancel past the free trial period.
So, being adventurous, I signed up for the free trial. Oddly, the form for submitting your credit card was not secure, but I still did it. I suspect that others will shy away from the form because of this rather stunning oversight. And I’ll let you know in a future article if my credit card information actually gets stolen. So after a few screens, I was up and running with my username and password, and I was immediately able to access the members-only area. The “today’s opinion” page contained paragraph-long summaries of the previous day’s opinions. (Perhaps it should be called “yesterday’s opinions.”) But unless you have a high-speed Internet connection, the page can be really long. On the day I accessed it, that page was about 500 K long, or the equivalent of over 200 printed pages! Not exactly user-friendly. But if you’ve got plenty of RAM, you can use the simple find (control-F) feature of your browser to search the summaries for names and keywords. Pretty basic.
The cases themselves are plain ASCII files, no HTML formatting, no links. Hard returns at the end of each line. But if all you’re looking for is the text of a particular case – and you want it quickly – this is a good option.
There didn’t appear to be any access control beyond the initial username/password prompt, so if you know the URL for a case (here’s an example for you to try: http://www.jurisearch.com/fsquibs/cases/9670805.htm), it appears that you can access the case without a subscription.
The search engine uses the familiar Folio interface. My search for “Internet domain name” turned up one case (CYBERSELL, INC. v. CYBERSELL, INC. 9617087) relating to disputes about Internet domain names.
Overall this is a good site for what it does: quick and simple access to California law. It is lacking some of the bells and whistles that appear on Lexis and Westlaw, but that is to be expected. There will always be a place in the Internet marketspace for companies such as JuriSearch that can provide more service faster, quicker, and cheaper than the big boys.