The 21st Century Law Practice

Legal Research

  • Electronic Legal Research – there was time when a wall full of books made the lawyer, though case law was created day to day and the updates to case reporters and statutes came to the hands of the lawyer yearly or monthly at best.  Then the electronic world became the way to access new decisions and laws almost instantly.
  •  WestLaw and LexisNexis – these services became the icons of the profession, forcing lawyers to pay “through  the nose” for these expensive services on a monthly basis or risk being left behind in the dust. Make the choice, or try some of the lesser known cheaper services at your own risk.  While none of the services were perfect, if a Lawyer spent a princely sum he / she could participate and still can participate in one or several services which required a learning curve and continued great expense.  The purpose of this writing is not to compare the various services  but just to point out the evolution of Legal Research.
  •  Google Scholar – FREE – some Lawyers use free services like Google Scholar which seems to contain most decisions in most Courts.  While this is effective, can one rely upon it? Perhaps but to the Lawyers own possible peril.
  •  General Internet Usage — do you need to pay?  One can also find just about anything using internet browsers and search engines, but is it good enough.   The jury is still out.



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