Legal Research and the Web

The lead story in the May 2006 issue of LJN Internet Law & Strategy is titled “Wikipedia Creates Concerns Aplenty About the Web’s Reliability”. Notwithstanding the title, the author (Shari Claire Lewis) discusses the broader issue of lawyers and web-based research.

Apparently, at least one U.S. Bar Association has taken the trouble to opine that lawyers doing web-based research are required to “take care to assure that the information obtained is reliable”. In fairness, this ruling dates from 1998 – which is perhaps why the ruling seems startling today. Could anyone presume that internet-based research is magical and not subject to that most basic of rules – common sense?


  1. It turns out that there’s a copy of the article on line at

  2. Not merely because he cites my Electronic Malpractice: Does Reasonable Competence Require Computer Research?, 17 No. 8 LAw PRAc. MGMT. 23 (1991) have a look at “Gandy dancers on the Web: How the Internet has raised the bar on lawyers’ professional responsibility to research and know the law Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, The, Summer 2000 by Lawrence DuncanMacLachlan, which is online at