I’ve always been leery of proponents of a biological basis for intelligence [or running].
I have conceded that genetics play some role on an individual basis, but need to be activated by the environment. Measures of intelligence are far too culturally specific, and ignore many other forms of intelligence. And I wholly reject, for largely scientific reasons, attempts to correlate genetic intelligence with racial or ethnic groups.
The same holds true for great lawyers.
Some of us are born to a long line of lawyers, or have parents that are judges or legal academics. We grew up with this stuff all around us, breathing it in along with our A, B, C’s.
The rest of us have to develop these skills along the way.
On Aug. 19, 2008, I participated in a webinar by LexisNexis on A Smarter Way to Search for Litigation Intelligence. The session was led by Daniel E. Gold, a Litigation Services Specialist with LexisNexis. He demonstrated some of the information gathering features they offer with their paid research services.
Since only a small minority of court cases are published, traditional research tactics overlook the vast body of information available. Using special filters to focus on areas of law, legal researchers can save time, money and energy.
But this intelligence gathering goes even further. You can do specific querries to see if the same issue has appeared before a specific judge, or even if opposing counsel has been before this judge.
Background information on the other attorneys can be pulled, such as their specific litigaiton experience and track record, as can their associates at the firm. Information about companies that are acting as clients can be filtered too, including the kind and amount of litigation they have been involved in. Depending on the area of law, this might decide where the case is filed.
Unfortunately, sorting by appellate judge using these tools by LexisNexis are not yet available in Canada. This service would be the opposite trend to de-publishing cases. And privacy concerns may see greater restrictions in the future. Perhaps the appropriate balance would to provide such details through commercial services like LexisNexis to people who have genuine and legitimate interest in knowing the identities of litigants in previous cases.
It’s not enough for the good litigator to be articulate and charismatic. They have to have a good intelligence gathering team behind them, and that’s where the importance of good research tools (and research lawyers) come in.