Court-sponsored Web sites are not, typically, a lawyer’s first stop for an opinion, but that may change. There have been substantial developments in access to federal and state court opinions that make court Web sites worth visiting. And as small firm lawyers are pinched in the amount of fee-based services they can afford, using free court Web sites can supplement content from legal publishers’ databases.

States have typically been all over the board in providing opinion access. For example, Alabama court opinions are only available from its Web site via a subscription to Alalinc (although Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt hosts its own copy). As with most other states, recent Alabama opinions are also available from Thomson Findlaw or LexisNexis’ lexisONE, although the court’s own content may be more extensive.

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