02/16/2010 // Rene Perras Lawyer Marketing
DALLAS, TX, Legal blogs are buzzing about Google’s announcement of the new legal focused features of its free information resource Google Scholar. Kevin Quinlan, President of attorney marketing firm CEPAC, recently discussed the potential impact of the addition of court opinions and case law to the web search engine.
A Better Way to Do Legal Research?
For the general public, Google Scholar’s offerings of freely accessible legal content may seem ideal. Google announced in November that in addition to scholarly literature pertaining to a wide range of fields, court opinions and case law information would be made available to users of the search engine at no cost. Because the legal community has a long history of heavy reliance on online resources such as LexisNexis for complete legal documents and scholarly text maintained by libraries, publishers, universities, and other entities, many questioned whether free access to this information would potentially have a negative impact on legal information sites that attorneys and legal students typically pay to use.
Google previously stated on its blog regarding the service, “this addition to Google Scholar will empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all.” Quinlan asserts that the service may have all around benefits for everyone, without posing a threat to services like LexisNexis, stating, “Both Lexis and Westlaw offer products that are specially designed for attorneys and law firms, and although they are provided at a cost, they will not become obsolete by this new offering.”
Quinlan further states, “Both are putting a positive spin on the development indicating they have no problem with government created content being available for free, but when preparing for trial, attorneys require much more than the raw content that will be found on Google Scholar searches.”
Of future use, Quinlan notes, “While it may not be a replacement now, it certainly might be a good starting point for research and who knows what additional functionality Google may offer down the road to potentially make it more of a head-to-head competitor. For now it may just offer a cost effective way to keep the expense of preliminary research to evaluate the claims of potential clients to a minimum in this challenging economy.”
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