Nolo: Law for All (Review)
Last semester, I discovered a self-help legal website through an entrepreneur class I took at the business school. The site is called “Nolo: Law for All”. Although the site is for non-lawyers, the site can be incredibly helpful for anyone wanting a quick primer in various fields of the law. Nolo is not a research tool in the same way that Wexis or Google Scholar is, but it is a great way to learn about the legal steps required to form a corporation or file a provisional patent application, etc. Not all research is case-law research and Nolo is a great example of a site that does everything, but case-law.
The site has articles, books, and legal forms (that must be purchased). The legal information part of the site has some case-law (I lied) in the form of a Supreme Court case database that includes all cases, in downloadable PDF format, going back to 1791. The site also has an extensive collection of Podcasts of experts discussing various legal issues. If you rather read, than listen, then you can check out articles, blogs, or FAQs pages on almost any subject in the law. There’s also a Q&A section of the site much like Yahoo’s Answers website. Many of Nolo’s articles cover common issues facing small business owners or solo practitioners. The articles cover everything from proving fault after a car accident to forming a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization. The site also has free ebooks on how to beat a traffic ticket, how to avoid probate, guides on foreclosures, small claims court, etc.
For my class last semester, we made use of all the resources Nolo had to offer. We read through dozens of articles on copyright law, labor law, business law, etc. The site is mainly a legal resource, but it also has a lot of great tools for business owners. We used the site to compare the pros and cons of C Corps., S Corps., LLCs, and other entities. The forms section of the site is also helpful to small business owners as well as lawyers. It includes Non-disclosure agreements (NDA), power of attorney forms, demand letters, and hundreds more.
The only thing I didn’t like about the site was that there were no free forms. The articles were all free, the podcasts are free, and you can even get the books for free if you get the online version. I understand they need to make money somehow, but it would have been nice to have at least some of the more common forms downloadable free of charge. The NDA is a good example of an easily found form that you can get anywhere online, but Nolo is charging for theirs.
Overall though, Nolo is a great site to get information on basic legal/business issues. The articles are short and the answers are direct, I definitely recommend you add this to your list of research sites.