If you use the Google Chrome browser, and you do legal research online, you should add the new Google Scholar Button to your browser. It’s really easy to do. Just click here and add the button.

At that point you can use the button to research academic articles using Google Scholar’s database. For most of our readers, though, I suspect it would be more useful to research judicial decisions. So there’s an easy way to make that happen: After the button is installed, click on it, and then click on the settings wheel at the bottom right. Then, under “collections,” click on “search caselaw.” That change will switch the database to be searched from journal articles to judicial opinions.

The result is a fast and easy way to search cases online for free. When you click on the blue button to the right of your search bar, it opens a little search window that queries Google’s case database. If you enter in a case name, citation, or search term and then hit enter, your browser will then return full citations to a few cases that might be what you want. When you click on a citation, the browser will give you the case in a new window.

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The feature also provides citations that you can cut and paste directly in to your legal writing. When the browser gives you the list of possible cases to click on, you can click on the “quotation” button on the right of the entry. That will give you a bluebooked citation to the case that you can cut and paste. The bluebooking isn’t always perfect, but it’s at least a start.

On one hand, this is just an easier way to access Google Scholar’s database of cases. But sometimes being just a little bit easier can make a big difference. Pretty nifty, and all for free.

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