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Free Legal Resources

Over the past few weeks I’ve stumbled upon numerous online legal education resources. Free courses, ebooks, podcasts all online and all for free. I think these are great resources to use post graduation, or for anyone wanting to learn about a particular aspect of the law without taking an actual course through a law school.

Project Gutenberg is a digital library that offers over 34,000 books free of charge. The catch? All books listed on the site are out of copyright, which means they are fairly old. It is a great site to download classic novels. In fact, just about any classic you can think of is probably listed on the site. The “Top 100” page lists books like Moby Dick, Heart of Darkness, Plato’s Republic, The Prince, etc. You can find religious texts, philosophical treatises, slave narratives, poetry, just about anything you can think of. As far as legal texts go, books by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin Cardozo, William Blackstone, and more are included on the site. Overall, the site provides some good material for those interested in legal history.

Websites like Scribd and Docstoc can also be incredible resources to get free ebooks or legal templates. Scribd and Docstoc are like the Youtube of documents online. People can upload documents for others to view and download for free. Both sites include a legal section where countless forms and templates can be found. These documents can be used to model your own contracts or agreements. Law related ebooks in PDF format can also be found on these sites. Like Youtube, though, Scribd and Docstoc have received a lot of criticism for allowing copyrighted material to be uploaded by users. When using the site, do not assume that everything you see is in the public domain (as opposed to Project Gutenberg where EVERYTHING on the site really is in the public domain).

Open Culture is another great educational resource on the web. The site offers free school textbooks, ebooks, language lessons, and even online courses. Although the language lessons were the most interesting to me (they have the nightly news in classical Latin!), they also have various talks hosted by law schools through out the country.

I’m definitely just scratching the surface with this list, but I think it’s a good start for anyone interested in acquiring free law related material (or very interesting non-law related material) online.


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