On Tuesday, November 17th, Julie Jones made a post about how Google has added a Legal Opinions and Journals (LOJ) search feature to Google Scholar. Most students and practitioners will want to use this new free research tool. But, how does it work?
In the practice of law our clients want us to provide the right answers to solve their legal problems. Doing legal research is an important part of "lawyering." Thus, it is vital to understand what you are doing. If you don't know how a search engine works how do you know whether you are getting the right results?
Since Google introduced LOJ law librarians have been taking a close look at how it works and what it might mean to the future of legal research. We have been inundated with that analysis. Here are four out of the dozens of blog posts that should help you understand how Google LOJ works, what it is, and why it's on the web. Keep in mind that what we are seeing now is truly a Beta version. If past performance means anything we can look to Google LOJ to get significantly better.
The Google Blog post about what they are doing and why is here.
Brian Leiter, the Director of the Library at the University of Nebraska College of Law and the founder of the blog The Life of Books, wonders where Google got its cases. Could it be that Google took its cases from Westlaw? Maybe.
In CSI Google, Victoria Szymczak, Library Director at Brooklyn Law School, runs a series of searches on New York law. In a simple search she finds at least two completely irrelevant (and misleading) results.
In More on Google Legal Research, Mark Giangrande, Reference Librarian at DePaul University Law Library does another search, this time on Illinois marital law. So, why doesn't Google LOJ include statutes?
The consensus so far? Google LOJ is not the best legal search engine out there...yet. But if you are trying to save money you might give it a spin so long as you keep its deficiencies in mind.