Law school, meet the geeks

October 15, 2002

Mike, at Method to the Madness talks about judicial decisions as an XML data object, something that I've been thinking about. As we've been learning legal research (today's class covered proper Bluebook citation form... fun, fun fun), I've been impressed with the citation system and West's organizational and research tools (headnotes and digests, etc.) But the internet and XML will be able to kick it up a notch. Good stuff will happen when the courts are publishing all of their opinions in an open format and law libraries can load them into their own internal systems. For example, dynamically created charts following the evolution of a rule.

Network effects should (hopefully) drive down the cost of electronic legal research. The next few years will be an exciting time as the members of the first generation to grow up with computers start practicing law.

For the record, I did start briefing in a Filemaker database, but found that it wasn't as good a tool as I thought. The way I built the database offers little use in showing the relationships between cases or how the case fits in with the overarching themes of the course. I use OmniOutliner for case briefs and class notes (although I use the trusty pen and paper for most classes.) It seems to be the best tool I've found for organizing notes, but it's not perfect. I'm still looking for the holy grail of data organization, but it probably will be in finding the correct balance of the proper tools.

Posted by Andrew Raff at October 15, 2002 08:03 PM
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Excerpt: Andrew Raff is being equally geeky as Mike! Andrew envisions a future where courts publish their opinions in open format (!). I don't want to burst anyone's bubble -- they're great ideas! But I predict there won't be any critical mass happening on that...
Weblog: a mad tea-party
Tracked: October 17, 2002 01:18 AM