Monday, August 20, 2007

Rebooting the Approach to Teaching Legal Research

Rebooting the Approach to Teaching Legal Research: Embracing the Computer Age [2007-32]Carrie W. Teitcher Law Library Journal, V.99, n.3

I haven't read it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

LawFirmInc. Article on Law Firm Librarians' Changing Roles

Interesting article highlighting the evolving role of the law firm librarian from today. I'm not sure I agree with the Orrick approach of treating "library" as a dirty word, though.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Can We Throw Away the Books Yet?

Brought to our attention by Susan Mart.

(7 Aug) In a meeting the other day, someone asked if I agreed with the general sentiment that research materials were going electronic. He explained that he thought print as a medium was losing ground. And assuming his suppositions were true, he expressed concern that those who continue to conduct research primarily through the books would soon become inefficient, costly and possibly, negligent researchers.

I'm delighted that law firm management is thinking about research resources and methodology. It has always been important. Information is the foundation on which lawyers build a case or advise their clients.But in the past, the act of gathering, assessing and analyzing information hasn't always received the attention it deserves.

Read the rest of the article at the TVC site.
Alternative link:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Does online research affect legal analysis?

This is the working paper by Betsy McKenzie and her colleague that I mentioned a the lunch today. The gist seems to be that the authors see less analogic reasoning in briefs today than previously.

McKenzie, Elizabeth and Vaughn, Susan, "PCs and CALR: Changing the Way Lawyers Think" (February 2007). Available at SSRN:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How to Bring Associates Into the Law Library

How to Bring Associates Into the Law Library
William P. Atkins Legal Times July 20, 2007

I found this on

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Death of Legal Research

Here is the article that I mentioned today discussing why computers aren't great at finding concepts/analogies. It also discusses the legal research process that Susan described in which a lawyer writes a brief and fills in the cases later, based on his/her knowledge of the area.

Good meeting today.

Regional Information Resources Manager
-Northern California-
Morrison & Foerster LLP

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Recent report on Information Obesity Touches on Legal Research

A recent report issued by Harvard and LexisNexis concludes:

"A large majority of lawyers perceive critical gaps between what they are taught in law schools and the skills they need in the workplace, and appropriate technologies are not being used to help close this gap. This was the core conclusion of a new study by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, in partnership with LexisNexis."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Legal Research Starting Points - Web from TVC

TVC has updated their legal research guide as of 6/18/2007. Some of the sites referenced are at the URL below.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pillsbury Summer Associate Research Challenge

Check out this program that the Librarians at the DC office of Pillsbury put on this summer.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog sarcastically titles their post Pillsbury Summer Associates: Rockin’ the Law Library. Sounds like a cool program to me! Unfortunately, many of the Law Blog commentators had some negative things to say about legal research and law librarians.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Funny Post from Joe Hodnicki

Joe Hodnicki from Univ. of Cincinnati Law Library has issued his annual apology to law firm and court librarians, acknowledging that law students working in law firms and courts over the summer are woefully unprepared for real legal research projects. Joe says, "as long as legal research is taught to 1Ls in legal writing courses, instead of in standalone courses, this situation is not going to improve much."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Tethered Generation Article

I thought this article might provide some insight into some of our summer associates.
Brief glimpse:

"The Tethered Generation," a recent article in HR magazine, is a must-read for anyone interested in compelling insights on how this breed of employees (born between 1978 and 1999) is changing and will continue to change the workplace. According to the piece, authored by Kathryn Tyler, members of the Tethered Generation are, among other things:

1. Extremely responsive to parental guidance and influence. The impact on employers: You'll need to figure ways to deal with so-called "helicopter parents" who are accustomed to intervening and orchestrating on behalf of their children. The piece, for instance, recounts how some employers are finding that parents call to discuss particulars of a job offer or to negotiate salaries.

2. Highly adept with technology. The impact on employers: You'll want to offer training on the basics, like research skills and writing, since modern technological "conveniences," including the Internet and spell checkers, have eliminated the need to be hands-on with many tasks.

3. Accustomed to immediate gratification. The impact on employers: Regular and immediate feedback is essential, explains one college career director who notes that "This generation has grown up sitting in front of a monitor playing video games. Players always know how they're doing by the score on the screen; [they] won't want to wait for a semiannual or annual performance review. They will require ongoing feedback."

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Library Research in Law Firm Environment

From Nick Worthington:

The last section reads:

Firm Libraries - Services, Not Shelves
Your firm probably has a library, and may employ one or more professional research librarians. It's most helpful to think of your firm library as a bundle of services, rather than a place where books are stored. (In fact, firm libraries tend to be light on books, due to space considerations.) However, firm libraries often provide excellent research and retrieval services that more than make up for the lack of books onsite. Most large firm libraries have an extremely speedy system for obtaining books of all kinds for you - either from other libraries or by purchase. Often journal articles, or even books, can be obtained from offsite in a matter of hours. If you identify a treatise or other research source that you suspect would be helpful - ask-you may have it in your hands just a few hours later, and it could save you and your clients significant time and money.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bridge the Gap Programs

I did a quick Google search tonight while I was at the reference desk to find web pages that described "Bridge the Gap" programs for summer associates or new first-year associates. I've gathered all of the links that I could find to relatively recent programs on my Delicious page so that we can refer to them over time.

Lexis Summer Associates Community

I had a little time this morning to poke around Lexis's new Summer Associates Community. Lots of the same old training materials. I tried to register so that I could access all the content, but it would not accept my Lexis ID. Is anyone else able to get in?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Computers and the Law

I think we were discussing this subject recently - how Westlaw, Lexis and other online resources are changing the way lawyers research and understand the law. I haven't read it yet, but will soon!

McKenzie, Elizabeth and Vaughn, Susan, "PCs and CALR: Changing the Way Lawyers Think" (February 2007). Available at SSRN:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stacks by Beverly Hanly Wired 03.29.07

This article was posted by Chris Orr to the SLA-SF list. My thought was: is there something in here that we can use to train summers?

From: Chris Orr [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:05 PM
To: San Francisco Bay Region Chapter
Subject: [sla-csfo] Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stacks

This article has a lot of interesting points and it links to the learning tool (amd more):

Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stacks by Beverly Hanly Wired 03.29.07

..."Recognizing that librarians need to know how to participate in the new media mix if libraries are to remain relevant, Blowers challenged her 550 staffers to become more web savvy. Using free web tools, she designed the program and gave staff members three months to do 23 things.

"They created blogs and podcasts, tried out Flickr, set up RSS feeds, learned about wikis, uploaded video to YouTube, played with image generators and Rollyo, and explored Technorati, tagging and folksonomies."

Wired Article
-Chris Orr

Reactions to Group Work Proposal

Over at the Law Innovation Blog, I noted this post on teamwork in law schools -- check out the comments to the post, which mostly view the idea of group exercises in law school classes with antipathy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Boolean Search Training Materials for Lexis/Westlaw

Over at ZiefBrief, our USF Law Library blog, I've uploaded all of our training materials for the mandatory first-year session we do on creating a good terms & connectors search.

Everything can be downloaded from the post Better Boolean Searching on Lexis and Westlaw - Sample Training Documents.

Amy or I can answer any questions you might have about how this training works in practice.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

AALL Spectrum article: The Next Generation of Learners

This article is in the April 2007 issue of AALL Spectrum starting on page 8. It is subtitled 'training issues law librarians face in the 21st century.' It is by Gayle Lynn-Nelson.

Focus on younger learners with acknowledgement for all kinds of learners.

Gives outline of different generations, ways they like to learn and suggestions for teaching them. Includes Gen X and Millennial generations. Relates their preferences back to Boomer preferences and styles.

Lists practical activities, sample activities and talks about designing a lesson plan.

I have only glanced at the article, but it looks useful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Searching Tools

This is from the SLA Solo Division Listserv:

From: Manuela Fortenberry []
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 12:32 PM
To: SLA Solo Division
Subject: [sla-dsol] Searching tools

First, I’d like to thank everyone that responded to my question last week. The reaction was overwhelming to say the least. And the material was superb! I can easily create a training presentation for our researchers from the material that was submitted. Thank you so much!

As promised, here are the results from my request. I categorized them so they would be easier to review, sort and save for anyone else.

Boolean Search tutorials

Research Strategies

A site with everything about searching;

Recommended Books

Greg Notess's Teaching Web Search Skills
Decision Points: Boolean Logic for Computers Users and And Online Searchers
Searching & Researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web
The Skeptical Business Searcher

Manuela Fortenberry
Manager, Information Resources
Cato Institute
1000 Massachusets Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Saturday, April 7, 2007

More reading and a neat collection

A litigator in my network on ( found this link which has an eclectic and good collection of legal research articles:

Litilaw: Published Articles for Litigators

On this site I found this gem: (The Corruption of Legal Research ( by Scott P. Stolley) It was a gem because as I was reading I had all kinds of reactions. Recent conversations with various partners flowed through my head, past stories from young associates, and conversations from our recent meeting. One paragraph caused me to sit up and say (to myself): "No!! He's got some of that all wrong!" and perhaps this will start a dialogue among us as well:

Law schools and law librarians (both at law schools and in lawfirms) also promote the seduction. It saves librarians valuable shelf space if they can shift information to the computer. It’s also easier to teach computerized methods than traditional research methods. Even better, Westlaw and other vendors will send representatives to do the teaching. At my firm, these vendors come one a week to offer instruction and free computer time. p. 8

Maybe, buttressed with other arguments and scenarios, this article could be used as a line of communication to jump-start a legal-research program in your firm with senior associates and partners?

Anyway, here's another article of interest on this page:

Gearing up to do Legal Research
Texas focus, but still very good - though I have a few quibbles.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cross-Border Perspectives

It sounds like our colleagues in Canada are seeing the same issues with new attorneys that we are seeing, and are looking at some of the same ways to address them, if this article from the Canadian Lawyer is anything to go by:

Beyond the Online: there’s more to legal research than sitting at a computer

Law Librarian Survey

I'll bring the 2007 NOCALL, LLAGNY and LLSDC librarian survey on research skills to the meeting. I don't have it as an electronic document.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Newest paper of interest

Holly Riccio and others sent me a link to this paper: New Skills, New Learning: Legal Education and the Promise of Technology by Gene Koo. Available at:

I haven't read it, but it looks good.

First Meeting April 5, 2007 Paul Hastings SF

Hi Everyone, I've created this blog to document our progress, and exist as a vehicle for us to share ideas, links, and other material with each other. I hope it works. I thought of a wiki, but the learning curve might be too steep to allow full participation, so I hope this format makes it easier.

I look forward to meeting everyone!

Meeting Location: Paul Hastings, 23rd Floor, 55 2nd St. Between Mission and Market.
Time: 12 noon