Mark Unger
Attorney at Law
10010 San Pedro, Ste. 660
San Antonio, Texas 78216
T: 210.366.9676

406 Sterzing, Second Floor
Austin, Texas, 78704`
(512) 474-1477

Internet Research

Home Family Law Infancy Issues Internet Research Temporary Orders Hearing

 Internet Research Attorneys: New Tools For
Information Gathering

 Mexican American Bar Association
General Practice Seminar

Las Vegas, Nevada
July 10-12, 2003

Mark I. Unger, Esq.
Law Offices of Jack A. Efron, Inc.
10010 San Pedro, Ste. 660
San Antonio, TX 78216
T: 210.366.9676
F: 210.366.0412

Member, State Bar of Texas, Computer & Technology Council

Chair, San Antonio Bar Association Technology Committee

Member 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

That Princes & Kings and Clowns

Who scamper in sawdust rings

And common people like you and me,

Are builders for eternity

For to each is given a sack of tools,

A shapeless mass & a book of rules

And he must make,

Ere life has flown,

A stumbling block or a stepping stone.”


I.                    Introduction

II.                 Search Engines/All topics

III.               People

a.       Phone/Address Finders

b.      Data Searches on People

IV.              Property Searches

a.       Real Property

b.      Corporation Tax Search

c.       Bexar County Practice

d.      Personal Property and Corporate Filings

      V.                 Texas Government Sites

VI.              Texas Legislature

VII.            Texas 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

g.       Texas Case law

h.       Private Legal Sites for Texas Attorneys

IX.              Miscellaneous

     X.  Appendix:  Introduction to the Information Superhighway,  Jason Coomer

I.                    Introduction

             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 taste.

 II.                 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. 


A.                 Google:

B.                 Dogpile:

C.                 AltaVista:

D.                 Excite:

E.                  Yahoo:

 III.               People:

A.                 Phone/Address Finders:

1.                  State Bar of Texas Attorney Search

(includes disciplinary records):

2.                  Martindale-Hubbell:


3.            Anywho: 

                  Finds businesses or people by name, Yellow Pages, White Pages, Reverse Lookup, Toll-free numbers, and International pages.


4.         Smart Pages:

      SBC/Ameritech’s comprehensive version of nationwide searches for businesses and a whole lot more;  consumer oriented.


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. 


5.      Yahoo People Search:

      This pay site, merely repackages and utilizes but offers three different packages depending on how much information you want on the person.

B.                 Data Searches on People

1.      Birthdays:


2.      Black Book Online:\

      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.

3.      Search Systems:

      Public Records locator by State.

4.      Virtual Gumshoe:

      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.

User friendly, as reprinted below--

Criminal  Help
Alaska  Arizona  Arkansas  California  Connecticut  Florida  Georgia  Idaho  Illinois  Indiana  Kansas  Kentucky  Michigan  Minnesota  Mississippi  Missouri  Nebraska  New Jersey  New York  North Carolina  Ohio  Oklahoma  Oregon  Pennsylvania  Rhode Island  South Carolina  Tennessee  Texas  Utah  Wisconsin  DOB 

Sex Offenders  Help
Alabama  Alaska  Arizona  Colorado  Delaware  District of Columbia  Florida  Georgia  Illinois  Iowa  Kansas  Kentucky  Louisiana  Maryland  Minnesota  Nebraska  New Mexico  New York  North Carolina  South Carolina  Tennessee  Texas  Virginia  West Virginia  Wyoming  DOB  ZIP code 

Driver's License  Help
Florida  Idaho  Iowa  Minnesota  Mississippi  Ohio  Texas  Wisconsin  DOB  DL Number 

DMV - License Plate  Help
Florida  Idaho  Maine  Mississippi  Missouri  Ohio  Oregon  South Dakota  Texas  Utah  Wisconsin 

DMV - Vehicle Id (VIN)  Help
Florida  Idaho  Maine  Mississippi  Missouri  Ohio  Oregon  Texas  Utah  Wisconsin  Wyoming 

Civil Court  Help
Alaska  California  TX Dallas Cnty Civil  TX Dallas Cnty Eviction 

Voter  Help
Texas  TX Dallas Cnty  TX Harris Cnty  TX Tarrant Cnty  DOB 

Professional  Help
TX Alcoholic Bev  TX Med Examiner  TX Misc  TX Real Estate  DOB  License 

FAA  Help
Civil Aircraft  Dealer  Reserved N  Serial No  Air Model  Engine Model  N number  N Res. 

Federal  Help
Firearms  SSA Deaths by Name  SSN 

6.      Accurint:

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.


      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. 

 2.         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:

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:

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:

         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)

                                                Driver License Renewal

                                                Conviction Records

                        Log in to search statewide criminal records database;  similar to                                  PublicData and KnowX’s but probable more up to date.

                                                Sex Offender

                                                Concealed Handgun

                                                Downloadable Forms

                        A full range of forms provided by Tx.DPS.

4.      First Gov – US Government Portal/gateway to US Government web pages:

5.      Comprehensive State Government Links;  Links to virtually all state agencies, as well as statutes:

6.      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:

VI.       Texas Legislature: search for past and pending legislation, as well as comments and legislative history.


VII.      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 legal research

2.      Findlaw:

3.      Cornell Law School:  Incomparable legal portal, very user friendly for all States laws and other legal research.                                                                  

4.      Lexis:

Full service legal research site; various plans available.

5.      LexisOne:

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:

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:

2.                  Howard Nations, Esq.: Links for Texas Lawyers

I.                    Bar Associations:

A.     San Antonio Bar Association:

B.     Travis County Bar Association:

C.     Dallas County Bar Association:

D.     Houston Bar Association:

E.      Texas Access To Justice Commission (TAJC) and Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation (TEAJF) website.

F.      My Texas Bar, free to Texas Lawyers from the State Bar of Texas:

G.     Check your MCLE compliance

IX.       Miscellaneous:  Some various consumer sites that I consider the very good for the day-to-day business of living, attorney or not.

            A.        Travel:

1.                  Southwest Airlines:

2.                  Expedia: 

3.                  Travelocity:

4.                  Enterprise Car Rental:

5.                  Dollar Car Rental:

6.                  Hertz Car Rental:

b.      Mail

                                                                                       i.      UPS:

                                                                                     ii.      United States Postal Service:

                                                                                    iii.      Federal Express:

c.       Dictionaries:

                                                                                       i.      Dictionary online:

                                                                                    ii.      Legal Dictionary online:

                                                                                  iii.      Language translation site-- Altavista search engine partnership with Babelfish translation engine; capable of translating documents, articles or phrases almost instantaneously in most major languages.

d.      Privacy Issues:

1.   Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

3.                  SBC Communications’ website initiative to help educate consumers about Internet safety, privacy and security.

4.                  Maps/Directions:

                                                                                       i.      Mapquest:

                                                                                     ii.      Expedia:

The Website has been visited

Since July 1, 1997

Not Board Certified by the Board of Legal Specialization 

Designed by Jason S. Coomer, Copyright © 2001