Four – or so it seems.
CanLII’s summer 2012 survey of Canadian lawyers and Quebec notaries (discussed here) drew over 4,300 responses*, allowing us to extract insights into matters of general interest.
As shown below in a survey screenshot of Question 10, we asked about online sources used to conduct legal research.
In addition to the eight options offered, respondents added many, many more to the list, but in the end less than a third of respondents reported using more than four online sources in the past 12 months.
The results also showed us that the more experience you have as a lawyer/notary, the more likely you are to pick a handful of favourite sources and stick with them rather than use as many as are available. But as the results below demonstrate, even among more juniour lawyers/notaries, very few use six or more sources. Of course, had the survey question presented, for example, provincial court and legislative sites as different sources, the results may well have shown the apex at five or even six sources, but the distribution would likely be quite similar.
* Responses include results from each of Canada’s 14 law societies. Excluding British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and the Barreau du Quebec, response rates for each of the remaining 10 law societies were between 8% and 29% of its full membership. For the four largest law societies, a random sample of 3,000 members received a survey invitation and the balance had the opportunity to contact the survey firm to request a survey link. Response rates for those jurisdictions measured against the sample, but including the volunteer participants, ranged from 11% to 28%.
** for each “years at the bar” cohort, the number of respondents ranged between 578 and 934.