Googling Your Legal Research

Lawyers often pride themselves as being the gatekeepers to legal information. But with the proliferation of free legal citations and commentary online, some are turning to Google.

Devin Johnston, a law student at UofM and contributor at Law is Cool, has an excellent piece today, GoogleLII: Using Google to Research Case Law.

He outlines some basic techniques like advance searches, and the quality of information found on the net.

Devin does say that Googling is not appropriate for traditional legal practice. But Prof. Moin Yahya of the University of Alberta also noted earlier this year that the failure to Google can potentially create professional negligence.

Free web searches might best be useful during client intakes to get a good sense of whether a practice wants to take on a client, or during preliminary inquiries for quick answers to save a client billing costs. They’re not a comprehensive strategy, and Devin suggest they should be.

But for those with a good legal background within a subject area free web tools can be a great way to quickly augment their knowledge.

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