Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Google Scholar Follow-Up

Lawyers I work with who have heard of Google Scholar find it a valuable tool because it provides quick, easy, and free access to caselaw that they work with every day. Cautions about the inability of Google to truly verify the validity of a case should not, of course, be ignored for those conducting legal research.

I previously posted about the recency of Google caselaw specifically with respect to updates from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court. (To summarize; it knew of citations but didn't have full text of decisions issued as recently as three weeks before, and had full text of decisions from about eight weeks back).

Today I went back and reviewed the status of recent caselaw in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court archive as compared to Google's set of Massachusetts state caselaw on Google Scholar.

Google has the full text of the Kilburn case issued February 24, 2010, but not the pro se appeal of George Nassar issued February 26, 2010. The most recent case on Google is the White v. Commonwealth case from March 1 (now slightly more than two weeks ago) (n.b. future readers of this post, the "Nassar" case is a link into the Westlaw repository of SJC slip opinions, my non-Google source of SJC decisions, may break in the future).

To summarize, their coverage of recent caselaw is somewhat spotty for decisions issued within the last month, but the "delay" has been reduced significantly to, in one case, half a month or 16 days from date of issue. Google Scholar is not now somehow aware of citations in advance of having the full, formal opinion.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Turning Down The Information Firehose--ABA Article in Law Practice

Today my article "Personal Knowledge Management: Turning Down the Information Firehose" was published in the Law Practice magazine of the American Bar Association. Much of my work focuses on how attorneys can do a better job handling information. For instance, I have a program targeting litigation partners that specifically focuses on personal knowledge management. So "PKM" has been an interest of mine and I am happy to have had the chance to refine my thoughts on it through the research, drafting and publishing process.

Research for the article was itself an interesting experiment in personal knowledge management. The most valuable resources were probably KM Lawyer Mary Abraham's post "Managing the Firehose", "PKM Professional" Harold Jarche's posts on Sense-Making with Personal Knowledge Management, Patty Anklam on PKM as the "Third KM," and the collection of resources compiled by a number of people on delicious at

What led me to most of those resources was a simple question to peers on Twitter. Thanks twitterverse!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ILTA KM Survey 2010

The International Legal Technology Association's Knowledge Management Peer Group Committee, of which I am a member, has released its annual survey of knowledge management efforts in law firms. The goal is to have one person respond from as many member firms as possible, whether or not there is a knowledge management program designated as such. You have to enter your email, but the goal of that is to avoid duplicate entries from the same firm.

Here's the announcement:

"The KM Peer Group is conducting its biennial knowledge management survey to probe the trends, hot topics and development of KM in the legal industry. Results of the survey will be published in the KM White Paper scheduled for publication in June. Please take five to ten minutes to complete the survey or forward it to the appropriate KM person in your organization (we only want one response per organization). As an incentive to participate, we will draw three names from our pool of respondents –– two winners will receive $500, and a third will receive his/her choice of $500 or a waived registration fee for ILTA 2010, the annual conference (a $1,025 value).

You can access the questionnaire at:, and the survey will remain open through March 26.

With regards,

Randi Mayes
Executive Director
International Legal Technology Association"