It’s a variation on our class theme of “secondary first!” But a Wall Street Journal Law Blog posting, “Advice from the Corner Office: Use Google; Avoid Grammar Gaffes,” offers some key tips from law firm partner Drew Barry and includes this good research advice:
Get Yourself Smart on a Subject, Fast: When they get assignments, he says, self starters “contextualize” the issue by “Googling stuff for fifteen minutes.” Lexis and Westlaw, he says, are fine for focusing on a point of law. But the peripheral vision provided by a Web search is also invaluable. It can yield relevant law journal articles, blog posts, plaintiffs’ lawyers sites, law-firm newsletters and the like.
In a way, he says, see-what-I’ll-find Internet research is akin to the old hard-cover legal research methods which, he says, are more than powerful electronic search engines “give a feel for the evolution of the common law.”
A popular legal research book here at Stanford is Just Research by Laurel Currie Oates and Anne Enquist; it includes many tips on ways to find good legal overviews using Google.