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Largest Legal Vertical Search Engine Launches: Public Library of Law

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The world's largest legal vertical search engine launched today in a partnership with legal research provider Fastcase, Inc. Public Library of Law (pLoL) may be more of a directory than a search engine, even though Fastcase CEO Ed Walters says it makes"first-time legal research as easy as using Google."

That's what Yahoo and Microsoft said and look where it got them.

The site indexes cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals and all 50 states (back to 1997); federal statutory law and codes from all 50 states; and regulations, court rules, and constitutions.

More than 2 million pages of cases previously available only by subscription make PLoL the largest free legal search engine online.

Last November, a Fastcase deal with made 1.8 million pages of federal cases available in the public domain. Fastcase now boasts what it calls "free links to paid content." Now there's an original idea -- make blue links free!

While domains are at a premium these days, the combination of "LOL," "dot org," and "p" as in public cries out for brand rehab.

Google and Yahoo tried to help Fastcase sell legal docs to the general public via search back in September 2006. Fastcase powered "premium legal search" in Google and Yahoo by making their extensive law library – previously only accessible on a subscription basis – available for $4.99 per case.

We'd ask Fastcase the Dr. Phil question ("So how's that workin' out for ya?") but the answer arrived today.

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