In the first of a three part series, Paul Gatz articulates the importance of acknowledging the “learner’s paradox” that “legal research is the process of identifying and retrieving the law-related information necessary to support legal decision-making.” Expert legal researchers conduct their work within the territory of the known and the unknown, the facts, the suppositions, and the possibilities that skilled and strategic students seek to learn and thereafter apply within their course of studies, and subsequently bring forward to support their respective practice of law. [Link to Part 2 of this series]
In Part 2 of his series [see Part 1 here], Paul Gatz takes a deeper dive into the challenges of effectively teaching the “why” of a document’s relevance to assist students to understand the reasons a given document occupies the role it does within the subject literature. Gatz focuses on the concept of how knowledge in a particular discipline is created, disseminated, and organized (subject knowledge relevance). Gatz states that knowledge content of a discipline is helpful in determining the relevance of a particular document, but an effective relevance determination relies upon a theory of what counts as knowledge, or, in legal practice, what counts as legally valid.
Itai Gurari talks about a new tool from Judicata called Clerk that analyzes and grades briefs, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, looking for areas of improvement and attack. Clerk’s analysis spans seven dimensions that measure how well the brief is argued, how well it is drafted, and the context within which it arises.
Ron Friedmann gives us a rundown on technology for contracts along with the sound reasons why we still need humans to help create, analyze, and manage contracts.
Smart computing is changing the nature of legal work even as the profession struggles to understand its scope. Machines sophisticated enough to communicate intelligibly and naturally with human hosts, technology with the processing power to wrangle big data are enhancing the way attorneys do their jobs and affecting the way they think. Law practices are now set up in paperless offices, cases litigated in hi-tech courtrooms, research done almost exclusively online, demanding higher levels of technical competency and professional responsibility. The vocabulary of technology is filling the legal landscape: algorithms, analytics, artificial intelligence (A.I.), automated decision-making, avatars, big data, cloud computing, code, cognitive computing, computer-aided, computer-generated, creative computing, cyborg, data driven, data mining, data science, data trails, deep learning, electronic discovery (e-discovery), expert systems, machine learning, metadata, mobile technology, mosaic theory, natural language, neural networks, paperless and virtual offices, pattern matching, predictive analytics, robotics, self-replicating technologies, smart data, smart technology, source code, and supercomputers. So, time worn lexicons and practice libraries are infiltrated with the latest computer terminologies and technical manuals. The work of lawyers, judges and government officials increasingly relies on the processing power of microchips. So, the Bartleby of tomorrow is taking shape today. From document assembly to document drafting, the borderlands of decision-making, data analysis, and communication will mark the progress of law and raise new questions for the administration of justice. And the breadth of information competence will need to expand with each new generation of technology. This article by Ken Strutin is a significant, comprehensive and expert guide to recent and notable works on the automation of lawyering, the administration of law and legal thinking.
Legal Career Advisor Kathy Morris offers us succinct, actionable and insightful advise on whether you should focus on becoming indispensable or important at work.
Stacy Nykorchuk’s article documents significant facets of determining organizational knowledge strategies, creating the appropriate architecture for the content, managing content creation by subject matter experts, aligning systems with objectives, understanding user, stakeholder and client feedback, and acknowledging associated risk based on work product.
Nicole Black reports that 26 states now require lawyers to stay abreast of changes in legal technology and advises colleagues on how to implement security procedures that will protect your law firm’s data and help to keep client data confidential and secure.
This guide by Pete Weiss – expert listserv manager, communication device integrator, and newswire publisher/editor – provides researchers with an overview of why you should use RSS, along with step by step examples of how to implement this application which should be part of your knowledge gathering and current awareness toolkit.
Legal marketing and business development expert Eric Dewey defines a new term for a multifaceted expert work product and deliverable that librarians are uniquely positioned to develop, implement and manage in a critical leadership role for customers.