It’s hard to believe I’m half-way through my year as a 2014 Writer in Residence for Ms. JD! It certainly goes fast, and it can be hectic at times, but I am grateful for the experience. For my June post, I reviewed Mootus and Casetext, and discussed how crowdsourcing seems to be making its way into legal practice…or at least, legal research.
A couple of posts back, I talked about Jurify, a new website where attorney-members contribute cases, legal forms, and other legal documents that they have found particularly helpful in their own practice. This type of pooled-resource contributions is commonly referred to as crowdsourcing, defined as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” (Merriam-Webster.com, “crowdsourcing,” obtained June 5, 2014) Traditionally, the legal industry is not known for its collaborative environment. Of course, this is a gross generalization, but after all, associates are competing against each other to make partner, and opposing parties want to keep their case strategy close to the vest; this profession, therefore, naturally lends itself to an individualist work ethic. Yet I believe that the legal industry is changing, starting to embrace collaboration as a tool for accuracy and efficiency in legal practice. This transition is evident through the recent emergence of legal resource platforms, like Jurify, that utilize crowdsourcing to build their collections. For this month’s post, I thought we would look at two more such sites: Mootus and Casetext.
You can read the full post here. Thanks for reading!
My February post as a Ms. JD Writer in Residence is up! (This is my rudimentary method of re-blogging it!) The following is an excerpt from my post, which reviewed Ravel Law, a new case law database. Following the excerpt is a link to the whole post on Ms. JD’s site.
In the world of electronic legal research, two names have always dominated the market: Lexis and Westlaw. There are others of course, such as LoisLaw, Fastcase, and Casemaker, and a couple of years ago, Bloomberg Law entered the market. The trouble with these databases is that they’re subscription-based, and even those that tout themselves as low-cost will set you back a hefty sum. Luckily for us, the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) has spawned and inspired a variety of legal research platforms that offer access to statutes and cases without a costly subscription. These platforms range from official codes posted on state and federal government websites to law school born databases, such as Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (an official member of FALM). For this post, I’m going to focus on another, very new, legal research platform born out of a law school and inspired by free access to law: Ravel Law….
Read the rest of this post on Ms. JD’s website.
(This is also cross-posted on my other blog, Legal Research Redux.)
As with so many of my colleagues across the country, I am Seattle bound today to attend the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). As one of those people who actually loves professional development, I always look forward to this conference (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s always held in a major city, often one I’ve never been to!).
This year is especially exciting for our library, as many of us are actively involved with the conference in some way. Our library is receiving an award for Excellence in Marketing – Best Use of Technology for a video Cindy Dabney, our Outreach Services Librarian, created marketing the reference office. In addition, two of us – Mike Maben and Michelle Botek – have posters to show in the exhibit hall. I believe Mike’s is at position #1 and Michelle’s is at position #15.
Finally, Jennifer Morgan, Cindy, and I are co-presenting on Sunday – we’d love to see you there! Our session is B8: State Constitutions – Current, Historical, and How They Change. It is slotted for Sunday at 2. We will be discussing the challenges of researching state constitutions and amendments, and a tool Jennifer created as a research aid in this area. This program has a long history, beginning with a guest lecture Jennifer gave for the Indiana Solicitor General’s course at Maurer Law on State Constitutional Law. He asked her to give this as a presentation to the Indiana Deputy Attorneys General as well, a presentation that was turned into a CLE. At this point, Jennifer and I began compiling research on the constitutional processes of the fifty states and the documentation available in each state to aid this research. Jennifer compiled this research into a research guide on our library website, available to all. Jennifer, Cindy, and I have given this presentation to Indiana librarians a couple of times this year, and we are thrilled to share it with our colleagues from across the country this weekend.
I hope to see many of you at the conference. I would like to thank RIPS-SIS, the Research, Instruction, and Patron Services Special Interest Section of AALL, for awarding me a travel grant to assist me in attending this conference this year. I truly appreciate it.
I will be blogging throughout the conference, so look for more posts to come!