1. Currently located at: www.teachinglaw.freewebsites.com
2. Diana R. Donahoe is an Associate Professor of Legal Research & Writing
at Georgetown University Law Center. She has been a faculty member of Georgetown
since 1993. Her courses include Advanced Legal Writing in Practice, Legal Research
& Writing, and United States Legal Discourse. Before teaching, she was a criminal
defense attorney representing the indigent in the District of Columbia; a Prettyman
Fellow, teaching students trial skills and supervising them in court; and a law
clerk to Judge George H. Revercomb of the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia. The author would like to thank the following people for
their help and support in researching and creating this article: Kim Riker, Kelly
Lacey, Pamela Dayanim, Keith Donahoe, Chris Roberto, Sara Suchman, Marybeth Donahoe,
and Professor Richard Chused.
4. Journal cite and link for online reader or, if journal does not have web page,
link to Lexis site for journal.
(page 9 of 17).
7. Robert C. Berring, The Electronic Law Library: The Electronic Future of
Law Libraries, 24 The L. Libr. 168, 169 (1993).
10. The author herself is right on the cusp of both worlds - law school revolved
around the books for her (there was one Lexis terminal and one Westlaw terminal
in her law school library). However, as she entered practice, Lexis, Westlaw,
and then the Web became prominent. The author prefers reading material in print,
but prefers finding that material on line.
11. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas admitted that he might be a "Luddite"
if not for the "force of time and the shame inflicted by my law clerks."
Justice Souter, who is a "member of the lead pencil club," said of his
technological skills that "I am shameless." Roy M. Mersky and Kumar
Percy, "The Supreme Court Enters the Internet Age: The Court and Technology,"
June 1, 2000, www.llrx.com/features/supremect.html
12. Robert C. Berring, Chaos, Cyberspace and Tradition: Legal Information Transmogrified,
12:1 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 189, 190 (1997). http://www.law.berkeley.edu/journals/btlj/articles/12_1/Berring/html/reader.html
13. Lexis, the first online research service, created by Mead Data Central, started
in 1972. West followed suit in April of 1975 with Westlaw. However, the single
most important movement for these services came in 1990 when both systems offered
free passwords to every law student in the United States. See, Michael
A. Geist, Where Can You Go Today?: The Computerization of Legal Education From
Workbooks to the Web, 11 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 141 (1997), www.lexis.com/research/retr...5=d43078ea32f59e7d4575b51
14. You might use the library's online card catalogue service, but you are probably
organizing your method of access the same way as if you were touching the cards
15. M. Ethan Katsh, Law in a Digital World 166 (1995).
16. Robert C. Berring, Legal Research and Legal Concepts: Where Form Molds
Substance, 75 Cal. L. Rev. 15, 17 (1987).
17. See id.
18. Id. at 18.
19. See id. at 17.
20. The first reporter was Ephraim Kirby's 1789 Connecticut Reports. www.archives.state.al.us/al_sldrs/k_list.html
See Berring, supra note 16 at 19 (as early as 1803, some jurisdictions
began to authorize official versions of the reports of decisions in reaction to
the need for systematic coverage).
21. Berring, supra note 16 at 17.
22. In 1848, law reports filled 800 volumes. Berring, supra note 16 at
19, citing F. Hicks, Materials and Methods of Legal Research with Bibliographic
Manual 94-102 (1923).
23. See Robert C. Berring, Collapse of the Structure of the Legal Research
Universe: The Imperative of Digital Information, 69 Wash. L. Rev. 9, 19 (1994).
Research on the organizational system used within the brain continues today. John
R. Searle's "The Rediscovery of the Mind" (1992) summarizes current
24. See Berring, supra note 16 at 19-20.
25. See Berring, supra note 16 at 20.
26. Symposium, A Symposium of Law Publishers, 23 Am. L. Rev. 396 (1889).
27. Robert C. Berring, Collapse of the Structure of the Legal Research Universe:
The Imperative of Digital Information, 69 Wash. L. Rev. 9, 20 (1994).
29. See id. at 21.
30. Id. at 20.
31. Robert C. Berring, Full-Text Databases and Legal Research: Backing Into
the Future, 1:27 High Tech. L.J. 27, 31 (1986). For a further description
of West's American Digest System and category and topic lists, see F. Hicks, Materials
and Methods of Legal Research with Bibliographic Manual 233-43 (1923).
32. Berring, supra note 27 at 22, n. 31.
33. See Columbia www.law.columbia.edu/admissions/cur1.html,
But see www.law.georgetown.edu/cgi-bin/courseware/sec3/announcements.cgi.
34. Berring, supra note 27 at 22; see also Robert Stevens, Law School:
Legal Education in America from the 1850's to the 1980's (G. Edward White ed.,
35. Berring, supra note 27 at 22.
36. West began with "The Syllabi" in 1876, which contained the Minnesota
Supreme Court cases and annotations from surrounding states. This reporter was
so successful that he next introduced the Northwestern Reporter in 1879, which
contained full-text of all decisions from the Dakota territory, Iowa, Michigan,
Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Within the next few years, he produced his
reporters nationwide, dividing the country into seven regions and producing the
Regional Reporters. The Federal Reporter and Supreme Court Reporter began in 1886.
Robert C. Berring, Full-Text Databases and Legal Research: Backing Into the
Future, 1:27 High Tech. L.J. 27, 30 (1986).
37. Berring, supra note 16 at 25.
38. Berring, supra note 27 at 23.
39. Berring, supra note 16 at 15.
40. Berring, supra note 36 at 32.
41. Berring, supra note 36 at 32.
42. Berring, supra note 36.
43. Berring, supra note 36 at 32 (referring to Star Wars www.starwars.com/episode-vi).
44. Robert C. Berring, Thoughts on the Future: A Steroid-Enhanced Editorial,
15(3/4) Legal Reference Services Q. 1, 2 (1996).
45. Berring, supra note 36 at 32.
46. Berring, supra note 36 at 33.
47. Berring, supra note 36 at 36, citing Zunde & Dexter, Indexing
Consistency and Quality, 20 Am. Doc. 259 (1969) (stating that "even one
editor will classify the same materials differently at different times").
48. Berring, supra note 36 at 36.
49. Bob Berring's Commando Legal Research, Tape 2 (Legal Star Communications 1989).
50. Berring, supra note 44 at 12-13; Robert C. Berring, Practicing Law
in 2013, Ariz. Att'y 52, 52 (Aug./Sept. 1993) (more updated numbers).
51. Berring, supra note 44 at 12-13.
52. Robert C. Berring, On Not Throwing Out the Baby: Planning the Future of
Legal Information, 83 Cal. L. Rev. 615, 616 (1995), citing Greg Steinmetz
& Raju Narisetti, Reed Elsevier Wins Bidding for Lexis/Nexis: Publishing
Concern to Pay a Total of $1.5 Billion for Mead Online Unit, Wall St. J.,
Oct. 5, 1994, at A3.
53. See www.courtlink.com/main/index.html
for examples of websites that allow access to state, federal, and local court
54. Berring, supra note 44 at 2.
55. Berring, supra note 44.
56. Robert C. Berring, Practicing Law in 2013, Ariz. Att'y 52, 52 (Aug./Sept.
57. Robert C. Berring, editorial, 7(2/3/4) Legal Reference Services Q. 1-2 (1987).
59. Robert C. Berring, On Not Throwing Out the Baby: Planning the Future of
Legal Information, 83 Cal. L. Rev. 615, 624 (1995) (referring to looseleaf
60. John Seely Brown, Growing Up Digital: How the Web Changes Work, Education,
and the Ways People Learn, Change 11, 14 (Mar./Apr. 2000), www.aahe.org/change/
63. For example, on Lexis, the New York Law Journal is in seven libraries - banking,
genfed, leg new, N.Y., Nws, states. That it is in seven places is an illusion.
Katsh, supra note 15 at 72. www.lexis.com/research/sourceselection/locate?searchlevel=top&search=new+york+law+journal&searchMethod=long&_form=locate&_redirectList=_form%2CsearchMethod&_session=2d831b64-5351-11d4-a45d-8a0c5832aa77.555480835.3140349722.84744.+.0.0&_state=terms%25a4New+York+Law+Journal%0D%OA%25a3client%25a4+%25a3_menu%25a4WEDL%25a3&_bundles=%25a3forever%25a6_kwsz%25a525%25a6cc%25a51%25a6cls%25a51%25a6clo%25a51%25a6ochn%25a50%25a6lawed%25a50%25a6%25a4&wchp=dGLSIV-ISIWV&_md5=cfd6b374bf0a646239b0eba639a535a
64. Katsh, supra note 15 at 120.
65. Brown, supra note 60.
66. Ethan Katsh, The Electronic Media and the Transformation of Law 221 (1989).
67. David R. Johnson, Building and Using Hypertext Systems, 17 Law Prac.
Mgmt. 28, 29 (1991).
68. Katsh, supra note 15 at 198.
69. If you are reading this article in print, you probably did not realize that
when you read about the physical aspects described in Part II, Thinking By the
Books, you can link to the non-physical aspects described in Part III, Three-Dimensional
Linking and Thinking, to juxtapose the two. There are various links throughout
the online version of this article where you can move about to immediately compare
different ways of thinking.
70. Johnson, supra note 67 at 31.
71. Katsh, supra note 15 at 198.
72. Theodor Nelson, who coined the term, defined "hypertext" as "non-sequential
writing - text that branches and allows choices to the reader." Katsh, supra
note 15 at 199.
73. Katsh, supra note 15 at 202.
74. www.westlaw.com/ Westlaw
is a fee-based service that can be accessed with a personal password.
75. www.lexis.com/ Lexis is
a fee-based service that can be access with a personal password.
76. www.google.com/ is the
favorite search engine of my research assistant, Kim Riker. Like most search engines,
google.com can be accessed for free.
77. Katsh, supra note 66 at 221.
78. Barbara Bintliff, From Creativity to Computerese: Thinking Like a Lawyer
in the Computer Age, 88:3 L. Libr. J. 338, 345 (1996).
80. Id. This phenomenon takes the Legal Research & Writing professor
off guard when asking about cases found for a particular project. Although the
student might have found appropriate case law, the student first focuses on the
facts of that case as opposed to the rule of law.
83. Id. at 346.
86. Westlaw's natural language was made available in 1992 and Lexis' "free
lance" was available in 1994. See Katsh, supra note 15 at 84.
87. Bintliff, supra note 78 at 347.
88. Berring, supra note 36 at 42.
89. Berring, supra note 36 at 42.
90. Berring, supra note 36 at 42.
91. Looseleafs compile the law based on subject matter (i.e. criminal law) as
opposed to the type of law (i.e. statutes, cases, regulations).
92. Berring, supra note 36 at 54.
93. Katsh, supra note 15 at 207.
94. Katsh, supra note 15 at 87.
95. See http://members.aol.com/okawp/
as an example of a bogus website (click on the copyright line at the bottom of
96. Berring, supra note 36 at 54.
97. Katsh, supra note 15 at 98.
98. Katsh, supra note 15 at 23.
99. Berring, supra note 44 at 2.
100. Berring, supra note 44 at 13.
101. See Berring, supra note 44 at 3.
102. Katsh, supra note 15 at 173.
103. Berring, supra note 44 at 3.
104. Katsh, supra note 15 at 173.
105. Shelley Ross Saxer, One Professor's Approach to Increasing Technology
Use in Legal Education, 6 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 21 (Winter 1999-2000), http://www.richmond.edu/jolt/v6i4/article4.html
("Most law schools, however, are far behind the educational systems that
send us our students in terms of integrating technology into the learning process),
citing Tracey Baetzed & Carl W. Herstein, Virtual Memory: Looking Back
at the Changing Relationship Among Lawyers, Law Firms and Technology, 77 Mich.
B. J. 422, 426 (1998); Paul F. Teich, How Effective is Computer-Assisted Instruction?
An Evaluation for Legal Educators, 41 J. Legal Educ. 489, 489 (1991).
106. But see www.law.georgetown.edu/cgi-bin/courseware/sec3/announcements.cgi
107. Brown, supra note 60 at 14.
108. www.westlaw.com/ (you
will need to enter your password).
109. www.lexis.com/ (you will
need to enter your password).
110. www.loislaw.com/ (you
will need to pay for this service if your library does not already subscribe).
122. A "bookmark" is a way of saving your favorite sites on the Web.
Your server should have an icon for bookmark, or favorite, or something similar
that allows you to save sites.
123. For sites that are not related to teaching, try www.bluemountain.com
to send electronic greeting cards or www.planetrx.com
to order prescriptions online.
124. Your law library should have an authorization code and a billing address;
you can check off the subjects and particular journals for which you wish to receive
table of contents information. Be sure to click the Order SmartCILP button ONLY
when you have completed ALL of the information.
125. Your law library should have billing information for this service.
Lois LawWatch comes with the Loislaw subscription package at no extra cost.
127. See Geoffrey Nunberg, The Places of Books in the Age of Electronic
Reproduction, 42 Representations 13, 17 (1993).
Abstracts of working papers and articles are available in the following areas
of law: administrative law, antitrust and regulation, bankruptcy, reorganization,
and creditors rights; constitutional law, jurisprudence and legal philosophy;
corporate law abstracts; governance and finance law; criminal law and procedure;
cyberspace law; discrimination, law and justice; employment and labor law; environment
law and policy; general law; intellectual property; international and trade law;
law and economics; law and humanities/legal culture; litigation, procedure, and
dispute resolution, regulation of financial institutions; tax law and policy;
tort and product liability.
129. Arthur Levine, Higher Education in the Digital Age, 1998 Tchrs. C.
Ann. Rep., (1998), http://www.activites.cornell.edu/sa_online/article1_p.html
131. See www.law.georgetown.edu/cgi-bin/courseware/sec3/announcements.cgi/
for an example of non-traditional law school curriculum.
132. Though the case-law method is used by a majority of law schools, critics
of this teaching method assert that it does not prepare law students to effectively
deal with real-life legal problems. See, e.g., Myron Moskovitz, Beyond
the Case Method: It's Time to Teach With Problems, 42 J. of Legal Educ.
133. See Allan Collins, John Seely Brown, & Ann Holum, Cognitive
Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible, The 21 st
Century Learning Initiative, 5 (Winter 1991) http://www.21learn.org/arch/articles/brown_seely.html
134. See http://www.law.stanford.edu/casestudies/
This site can be downloaded for examination. With prior permission from Stanford
Law School, professors can also obtain copies of Case Materials they want to use
in the classroom for free.
135. The case-study method is actually a more traditional method of interning
with a mentor in order to learn the practice of law. For an historical perspective,
136. Hephzibah Roskelly, The Risky Business of Group Work, in The
Writing Tchr's Sourcebook, 127 (Edward P.J. Corbett, Nancy Myers, & Gary Tate
eds., Oxford University Press, 2000, 4th ed.; see also Kenneth Bruffee,
Collaborative Learning and the Conversation of Mankind, 46 C. Eng. 635
137. Shelley Ross Saxer, One Professor's Approach to Increasing Technology
Use in Legal Education, Vol. VI, Issue 4 The Richmond J.L. & Tech. (Winter
138. Gail E. Hawisher and Bynthia L. Selfe, The Rhetoric of Technology and
the Electronic Writing Class, in The Writing Tchr's Sourcebook 129,
131 (Edward P.J. Corbett, Nancy Myers, & Gary Tate eds., 4th ed. Oxford University
139. There has been some criticism that online office hours may substitute for
face-to-face office hours and make the professor-student relationship more distant.
See, e.g., id. at 131. However, chat groups on line should supplement,
not substitute, for office hours to provide for a medium for the student who would
not otherwise visit the professor in person.
140. This method is used at Georgetown Law Center by Profs. Richard Chused and
141. Brown, supra note 60 at 17.
142. Saxer, supra note 139; see also Lincoln B. Quintana, Making
Our Way into the Coming Age of Electronic Casebooks, 8 Y.B.L. Computers &
Tech. 131 (1994).
143. Saxer, supra note 139.
144. Saxer, supra note 139.
145. See www.lexislawpublishing.com/school/ebooks/ebooks.html/
or contact Lexis for instructions on downloading and viewing an electronic casebook;
see also, http://lawschool.lexis.com/lupus
146. For two studies on students' use of electronic material, see, Peter
W. Martin, Report on the Chicago-Kent computer Section 1995-96 (May 1996)
(unpublished manuscript on file with the author); Richard A. Matasaar & Rosemary
Shiels, Electronic Law Students: Repercussions on Legal Education, 29 Val.
U.L. Rev. 909 (1995).
147. For a brief explanation of the Internet, see, Geist, supra
148. For an example, see www.law.georgetown.edu/cgi-bin/courseware/lrw2000-2/
Enter username "lrw" and password "lrw." There is a large
selection of courseware available for professors. Most schools have their own
courseware that professors can use to create a website. In addition, www.westlaw.com
has courseware that links to Westlaw itself.
149. Saxer, supra note 139.
150. Imagine the market for an interactive Emanuals outline or Barbri online so
that the student can prepare for the bar in the comfort of his room.
151. Berring, supra note 27 at 31 (quoting Charles Ten Brink of University
of Chicago Law Library).
155. See Kris Robbins, Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing
at Georgetown University Law Center.
156. For example, if a Judge asks her clerk to read cases from a particular "headnote"
or "key number," the clerk will need to understand the terms, which
derive from the West system.
157. Many law students today are bewildered with the key number system and give
up trying to make any sense out of it.
158. Ethan Katsh, Law in a Digital World: Computer Networks and Cyberspace,
38 Vill. L. Rev. 403, 475 (1993).
159. See id.
160. at 475.
161. Steven J. Bell, Weaning Them From the Web: Teaching Online to the MBA
Internet Generation, 21 Database 67, 70 (June/July 1998).
162. For example, many people are not aware that www.yahoo.com
searches only categories of websites while www.altavista.com
searches within websites.
163. Bell, supra note 163 at 70.
164. Bell, supra note 163 at 70.
165. See www.register.com
for an easy, 6-step guide on how to register a domain name.
166. See Katsh, supra note 160 at 482.
167. See, e.g., Cornell: www.law.cornell.edu;
168. See, e.g., GPO: www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/
; Thomas: http://thomas.loc.gov
(Click on the copyright line at the bottom of the page to view source information.)
170. Berring, supra note 27 at 9.
171. Katsh, supra note 66 at 101.
173. Berring, supra note 27 at 9.