The Google Scholar interface (scholar.google.[com or your country code]) is named for its function of searching academic articles. However, it has ‘hidden’ extras – such as a search of patents, and a search of US case law.
Since the end of last year, the search can be refined by court jurisdiction – as you can see from the partial screenshot below (click to enlarge). The search can also be filtered by date range.
Now this is clearly useful for lawyers, but how can translators use this resource? Well, those translating into English may want to check target language terminology in cases involving a certain point, and could create a corpus (see my post about corpus linguistics here) and/or carry out a term extraction.
Below is an extract from a review of Google Scholar for case law by the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas School of Law (see full details here):
Free, easy to use, and no login required.
- Coverage: Google Scholar is limited to case law and doesn’t include statutes or regulations. Thus references within cases to statutes and regulations aren’t hyperlinked.
- Currency: new content is added several times a week, but updates to existing content can take up to six months to appear.
- Lacks direct history of the case.
- Lacks editorial content: Google Scholar lacks helpful resources, such as headnotes and annotations.
- No additional finding tools such as a digest for searching by subject.
- Granularity: does not have a feature allowing you to break down a document into individual parts or search within it, but it does allow you to restrict a search to a particular publication.
Especially when you are unfamiliar with a particular subject, this easy to use resource allows you to perform an unlimited number of searches to get a sense of the keywords used in legal opinions regarding your subject […].
You might also be interested in this post about Google Scholar and finding significant cases.