Faculty Post: The Law Is Not All Out There for Free on the Internet

by Professor Sarah Hooke Lee

Contrary to a popular canard, the law is NOT all easily found – and for free! – on the Internet. Paradoxically, the explosion of plentiful on-line legal information is making it more important, not less, for law students and lawyers to become skilled legal researchers and continually update their research skills.

The law permeates everything and changes constantly. Legal research remains a bedrock experiential skill for anyone working in the law. The 2013 National Conference of Bar ExaminersNCBE Job Analysis: A Study of the Newly Licensed Lawyer confirmed earlier studies showing that legal research is a crucial experiential skill in practice. 98% of newly licensed lawyers reported performing electronic research, and 91% performed print research. Surveys done last summer at two law schools showed that 66 – 76% of law students reported spending at least half of their time conducting research while on work externships.

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