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1.5.7 Computer Assisted Legal Research

One of the fastest and most thorough methods of bankruptcy research is use of any of the several computer assisted legal research services that are now available, for example, Lexis and Westlaw. These systems contain a full-text database of bankruptcy cases, and usually also contain many unreported decisions, as well as a citator. The Lexis and Westlaw databases also contain public record information that may be necessary, including UCC filings, bankruptcy records, and various bulletins, law reviews, and newsletters. These services are now available over the Internet. A useful entry point for Lexis is the bankruptcy practice page at www.lexis.com which offers easy access to cases, statutes, rules, forms, the Collier publications, Shepard’s, public records, news articles, and other secondary materials. Another recent entrant to the field of electronic legal research is Fastcase.com. Although it is not as robust, complete or current as Lexis or Westlaw, it is available free to all members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA).166 Google Scholar is also a free internet search tool that can be used to find court opinions.

Finally, the text of the Bankruptcy Code, like the rest of the United States Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and local bankruptcy court rules are available on the Internet.167 Many other useful materials, such as court decisions and law review articles, are also available through various websites offering free legal resources.

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