Thursday, April 28, 2011
Legal skills article of interest: "The 'Next' Generation: Measuring First-Year Student Response to WestlawNext"
This is a student note from the Texas Law Review by (3L?) Lisa D. Kinzer. The full article is not yet available but the abstract has been posted on SSRN:
When Thomson Reuters debuted its WestlawNext legal research platform a year ago, many predicted that law students would prove to be the biggest fans of this 'googlized' version of Westlaw. And in the six months that the Next platform has been available to law students, anecdotal evidence has suggested that students are indeed abandoning the two major traditional platforms (Westlaw and Lexis) in mass numbers. However, no empirical study has confirmed this trend.
In this study, I survey the four hundred first-year law students at the University of Texas School of Law to determine which database each uses most often, and what factors are taken into account in making the choice. Preliminary results indicate that the majority of students are using WestlawNext most of the time. When one considers that very few practitioners even have access to WestlawNext, the implications for the effective preparation of law students for the workplace are considerable.
In this paper, I review the results of my survey and offer proposals as to how law schools can incorporate the seemingly addictive WestlawNext into their research curriculum while still ensuring that students will be effective when working with the limited resources available at the average law office.
We'll keep our eyes peeled for the final draft because this sounds like a good one.
Hat tip to rethinc.k