New Tools For
Member, State Bar of Texas, Computer & Technology Council
Chair, San Antonio Bar Association Technology Committee
Bexar County E-Filing Task Force
*To request a downloadable version of this document with ‘live’ links, please email the author at the above listed email address.
“Isn’t it strange
Princes & Kings and Clowns
scamper in sawdust rings
common people like you and me,
builders for eternity
to each is given a sack of tools,
shapeless mass & a book of rules
he must make,
life has flown,
stumbling block or a stepping stone.”
Search Engines/All topics
Data Searches on People
Corporation Tax Search
Bexar County Practice
Personal Property and Corporate Filings
V. Texas Government Sites
Legal Research Sites
Texas Statutes Online: Texas
Rules and Codes
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (revisions):
Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure
Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure
Texas Case law
Private Legal Sites for Texas Attorneys
Introduction to the Information Superhighway,
This paper is a basic introduction to conducting research on the
internet, primarily focusing on some of the most basic and widely used websites
for locating people, places, and things, as well as pursuing legal research and
information. Most of these sites
are free and easily accessible to the public, however some have been restricted
and are intended to conform to recent movements in privacy law and the
legitimate purposes for such research. Many
of the search engines and websites listed herein contain a certain amount of
crossover or overlapping of topics or information.
Although I have tried to limit the number of sites in this paper, only
trying them out will result in which one best suits your practice and personal
Search Engines/All topics
These sites are generically based and are
intended to search for keywords that are registered as “metatags” with the
particular search engine/website, returning a list of sites that match as
closely as possible the words for which you searched.
State Bar of Texas Attorney Search
(includes disciplinary records):
Finds businesses or people by name,
Yellow Pages, White Pages, Reverse Lookup, Toll-free numbers, and International
4. Smart Pages:
version of nationwide searches for businesses and a whole lot more;
5. US Search:
Search backgrounds of people, criminal histories, identity theft and various court records, for a fee.
Outstanding and comprehensive free
way to find a lot of people.
Yahoo People Search: http://people.yahoo.com/
This pay site, merely repackages and
utilizes USSearch.com but offers three different packages depending on how much
information you want on the person.
Data Searches on People
Black Book Online: http://www.crimetime.com/online.htm\
For Investigators only, this
‘portal’ makes available tools for searching phone directories, mail drops,
corporations, businesses, real estate, death records, criminal records and much,
much more, though not always the best way.
i.e. Texas lawyer searches
are routed through the State Bar of Law Examiners, rather than the more direct
State Bar of Texas membership page.
Search Systems: http://www.searchsystems.net/
Public Records locator by State.
Virtual Gumshoe: http://www.virtualgumshoe.com/
Great list of investigative tools,
extremely comprehensive portal for investigators and investigation.
Outstanding portal for locating
driver’s license and criminal records; fee-based,
but not that expensive.
friendly, as reprinted below--
6. Accurint: www.accurint.com
Boasting the lowly price of 25 cents per search, this is my favorite for locating people and information about them. Other search examples include Banking, Insurance, child support agencies, collections, landlord/management companies, and media.
7. KnowX.com: www.knowx.com
Slightly more expensive, but all searches can be ordered in a self-contained format on a pay-as-you-go way (app. 6.95 per search).
IV. Property Searches:
A. Real Property:
1. Craig Ball’s County Property Links
Thanks to council member Craig Ball, who along with Howard Nations has arguably the two best private research sites for attorneys in Texas, this page boasts a compilation of all the County Appraisal Districts online.
Texas County Data Website: Billed as the Texas’ largest online
property records database; Searchable by name, address or property ID number.
B. Corporation Tax Search:
C. Bexar County Practice: I would be remiss in not providing some of the sites that provide attorneys in and around Bexar County, Texas and the information that is available if you ever practice in this area.
1. Bexar County Appraisal District: www.bcad.org
2. Bexar County District Clerk:
Lists information and postings on a full range of practice issues in the Bexar County Courts, including: Fax Filing, E-Filing, Fees, Civil and Criminal Courts, Local Rules, Passports, Attorney Vacation submissions and Tax Suits.
3. Bexar County Clerk: http://www.co.bexar.tx.us/cclerk/
Searchable database of Deed Recordings, Marriage Licenses, Assumed Names, UCC filings, and Foreclosure Notices.
4. San Antonio Municipal Court – pay or lookup pending traffic tickets/records: http://www.sanantonio.gov/court/
D. Personal Property and Corporate Filings:
1. Secretary of State (SOS):
If you do not want to pay for the same service on Lexis, you can
Search the SOS site, and even file other business documents and articles, for a small fee.
E. Texas Government Sites:
1. Office of the Attorney General, Child Support database; with client information, you can look up recent payments by Non-Custodial Parents.
2. Texas Online, E-Government Services; Texas Government site and partner for Electronic Filing of Court Documents (now available in Bexar County):
3. Texas Department of Public Safety:
Search Tx.DPS for any of the following (some with slight fee)
Log in to search statewide criminal records database; similar to PublicData and KnowX’s but probable more up to date.
A full range of forms provided by Tx.DPS.
4. First Gov – US Government Portal/gateway to US Government web pages: http://www.1stgov.com/
5. Comprehensive State Government Links; Links to virtually all state agencies, as well as statutes: http://www.texasatty.com/texgov.html
Comprehensive Federal Government Links
7. Case File Xpress; Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) partnered with Bearing Point, Texas Online and Bexar County to offer Electronic Filing of Court Documents: www.casefilexpress.com
Texas Legislature: search for past and pending legislation, as well as
comments and legislative history.
Texas Courts: Search for
opinions, as well as general Court information for all Texas Courts.
(Includes Supreme Court of Texas, all Appellate Courts and all Trial Courts).
VIII. Legal Research Sites:
A. Texas Statutes Online: Texas Rules and Codes
B. Texas Constitution:
C. Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (revisions):
D. Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure:
E. Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure
F. Texas Codes (some of the many specific codes listed on the Texas Statutes web page)
1. Texas Family Code:
2. Texas Penal Code:
3. Texas Probate Code:
4. Texas Property Code:
5. Vernon’s Civil Statutes (all others not listed on Texas Statutes page)
G. Texas Case law:
1. My Texas Bar: Utilizes internal ‘deep’ linking with Findlaw
Free to Texas
Attorneys, this ‘portal’ is the pre-eminent gateway to practice management
in Texas. A comprehensive site that includes calendaring function, free
2. Findlaw: www.findlaw.com
3. Cornell Law School: Incomparable legal portal, very user friendly for all States laws and other legal research. http://www.law.cornell.edu/
4. Lexis: www.lexis.com
Full service legal research site; various plans available.
5. LexisOne: www.lexisone.com
Limited search capabilities for registered users; free service, includes some recent case law, forms, bookstore, news and site search capability; Marketed towards small firms.
6. Westlaw: www.westlaw.com
Same as Lexis, only different; the two major players in the legal research game, West has aggressively marketed it’s website service (for a substantial fee) to tie into other major search engines and gain a web presence and potential client’s for it’s member firms; takes a three-tiered approach for various entry levels for firms.
7. My Texas Bar – Legal Search Links
8. Nolo Law Center
H. Private Legal Sites for Texas Attorneys
1. Craig Ball, Esq: http://www.craigball.com
2. Howard Nations, Esq.: Links for Texas Lawyers
I. Bar Associations:
A. San Antonio Bar Association: http://www.sanantoniobar.org/
B. Travis County Bar Association: http://www.travisbar.com/
C. Dallas County Bar Association: http://www.dallasbar.org/
D. Houston Bar Association: http://www.hba.org/
E. Texas Access To Justice Commission (TAJC) and Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation (TEAJF) website. www.TexasLawHelp.org
F. My Texas Bar, free to Texas Lawyers from the State Bar of Texas: www.mytexasbar.com
Check your MCLE compliance
Miscellaneous: Some various
consumer sites that I consider the very good for the day-to-day business of
living, attorney or not.
1. Southwest Airlines: www.iflyswa.com
2. Expedia: www.expedia.com
3. Travelocity: www.travelocity.com
4. Enterprise Car Rental: http://www.enterprise.com/car_rental/home.do
5. Dollar Car Rental: http://www.dollar.com/
6. Hertz Car Rental: http://www.hertz.com/
i. UPS: www.ups.com
ii. United States Postal Service: http://www.usps.com/
iii. Federal Express: http://www.fedex.com/us/
i. Dictionary online: http://www.dictionary.com/
Legal Dictionary online:
Language translation site--
Altavista search engine partnership with Babelfish translation engine; capable
of translating documents, articles or phrases almost instantaneously in most
major languages. www.altavista.com/babelfish
d. Privacy Issues:
3. SBC Communications’ website initiative to help educate consumers about Internet safety, privacy and security. www.sbc.com/safety
i. Mapquest: www.mapquest.com
ii. Expedia: www.expedia.com
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