Apparently there is a fairly robust online debate about the state of the free access to the law. As we know the law is generally found in case opinions and statutes, which are, generally speaking, in the public domain by their nature. Scholarly treatises and law reviews provide analysis and commentary. Other research tools provide help in finding the applicable law.
A professor with long-term ties to West Publishing praised the free access to law movement for increasing competition, but also downplayed free legal research tools as being second rate. (One wonders if the esteemed professor has ever paid for legal research out of his own pocket.) Needless to say his statement provoked responses and you can find links to view his initial video and the responses here.
Well, the free access to the law movement is thriving in Oklahoma. Years ago, our Oklahoma Supreme Court decided that the law should be free and available in Oklahoma. The court's website, OSCN.net, has available to anyone all of the court opinions in a searchable format, back to statehood and even before. The online law library there includes the statutes as well as the case opinions, links to the administrative code, fee and bond schedules and many other resources. The largest counties already have their case files online and work is underway on the other counties.
Any citizen can also go to the local county courthouse and find the county law library and use Westlaw with a subscription paid for by the state.
For legal research in other jurisdictions, the Oklahoma Bar Association provides its member-lawyers access to Fastcase for the other states and federal courts. Last month OBA members had over 30,000 transactions on Fastcase.
There may be a debate about free access to the law in other jurisdictions, but not in the Sooner state. OSCN.net is recognized as our Website of the Week.