Legal Research Technology Skills

Sarah Glassmeyer recently posted on Slaw about The Future of Legal Practice and Technology for Law Professors. Her opening salvo:

One of my pet peeves is when people throw around the word “technology” as a catch all to mean anything that can or will involve a computer. A common pattern is “In X number of years, this task will be replaced by TECHNOLOGY.” The speakers very rarely get into specifics as to when technology they mean. Personally, I like to amuse myself by replacing “technology” in these statements with “magic fairies.” Actually, I think fairies are more likely to exist than some technology that is universally adopted and solves myriad problems.

Sarah’s post goes on to focus on technology skills and technology concepts that she recommends for law professors. I think that there are technology concepts and skills that legal researchers should have. Today’s Tip is about technology skills that I think are necessary for legal researchers. Skills are things that a legal researcher should be able to do or use.

  1. Search a library catalogue database to find an appropriate set of textbooks on a topic
  2. Note up cases for judicial history as well as consideration of decisions by other cases and legal commentary using multiple database sources (fee and free)
  3. Copy and paste with keyboard shortcuts
  4. Sort in word processor tables and spreadsheets and be able to use methods other than eyeballs to identify duplicates in lists
  5. Add hyperlinks to documents
  6. Read a URL and understand where it is going
  7.  Create documents answering a research question that make use of styles
  8. Search statute databases to locate current and historical legislation
  9. Use RSS feeds to keep current
  10. Use advanced search techniques of Google and other search engines (search within a site, by date,  for words in page titles)

Next week’s tip will be about the technology related concepts  a legal researcher should be able to understand.

Which tech skills should be added to this list?

Start the discussion!

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