Chief Justice Roberts Discusses Legal Research

In a speech at Drake University on October 2, CJ Roberts focused on the use of technology in the practice of law, particularly as it relates to legal research. The audio file can be found here RadioIowa. I listened to the speech, and it is very interesting. He starts by taking a look at the role of legal research from ancient Greece right up to the resources that are now available on the Supreme Court web site. Some quotes that I found important:

“Too much information can be as problematic as too little.” 19:48

“Law libraries…are increasingly vacant as students and lawyers gather legal materials from their desks through personal computers.” 25:20

“Finding the law is now not such an important or illusive skill…” 27:11

“This technology is simply a tool and tools can be misused.” 27:43

“Blind reliance on research that focuses merely on words and not on concepts, poses the same hazards that lawyers encountered in the late 19th Century. Lawyers run the risk that word searches will uncover reams of marginally relevant precedent superficially on point distracting lawyers from engaging in critical analysis or structuring of the underlying legal principles.” 27:49

“We judges can access raw data too. What we look for from lawyers is help making sense of it all.” 28:40

“Value in thinking outside the box…but the key word is thinking.” 29:07

The speech is only 30 minutes long, and I would highly recommend that you listen if you get a chance.


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