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Legal Research vs. Internet Searching? That is the question.

See the difference between legal research and searching on the internet, and why you need to do both.

LexisNexis LawSchools

on 23 August 2016

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Transcript of Legal Research vs. Internet Searching? That is the question.

Legal Research vs. Internet Searching?
That is the question.
LexisNexis® Law Schools
A Typical Legal Research Assignment
Can you obtain personal jurisdiction over a business through its website using the theory of minimum contacts?
What does THAT mean?
Better Google it.
Better read Wikipedia.
Nice background on minimum contacts.
Good explanation of personal jurisdiction.
Better use these in my legal research assignment.
Legal Research Alert!
Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b)(2) states:
The court may
judicially notice
a fact
is not subject to reasonable dispute because
it can be accurately and readily determined
sources whose accuracy cannot be
Courts do not recognize
Wikipedia as a source
"whose accuracy cannot
be reasonably questioned."
Missud v. Oakland Coliseum Joint Venture, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29915 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 5, 2013)
"The remaining web pages contain information that is not 'capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.' The
Wikipedia references
, the news article, the blog commentary, and Plaintiff's website
contain information from sources that are unidentified and unverified.
Legal Research vs. Internet Research
Wikipedia is a good source for background
information and basic explanations of concepts,
but you cannot use it to support your legal arguments.

Courts do not recognize Wikipedia as
a source
whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.
OK, so I better use Google Scholar
to get some cases to support my arguments.

Google Scholar finds cases for your research assignment.
Legal Research Alert!
The law is always developing so you need to find recent cases as well as seminal cases for the issue you are researching.
Google Scholar was built to:
"Empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us."
Legal Research vs. Internet Searching
Google Scholar will find some important cases, but it was not built for legal professions.
You may not always find the most authoritative or the most up-to-date cases.
You need to have the most up-to-date cases:
- Anurag Acharya, Head Engineer Google Scholar
The Official Google Blog
November 18, 2009
Your results found a seminal case, but no recent cases.
So what do I do?
Better do some legal research.
Find sources with "verifiable certainty" that courts accept.
Easily find the most up-to-date cases.
Quickly see what a case is about with a summary.
Legal Research vs. Internet Searching
Don't risk your grade or (eventually) your practice on internet sources. Because, according to the courts:
"The accuracy and reliability of information from the Internet is highly questionable."
Trademark Props. v. A&E TV Networks, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87731 (D.S.C., Oct. 28, 2008)
Verifiable Certainty
A test of judicial notice, referring to facts which can be verified to a certainty by reference to competent authoritative sources.
Seminal Case
A seminal case is a highly influential case which has given rise to a long line of cases following the original holding. Generally, the case will have brought about a major change, or introduced a new idea into the law.
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