11/17/09

Finally... Competition Returns To The Legal Research World!

Many of you have probably seen the Tweets going around this morning about how Google Scholar has entered into the legal research arena. I have to say that I'm initially thrilled with the idea that after 15 to 20 years of legal vendor consolidation, that we may actually be on the cusp of reintroducing some serious competition.
With major players like Google, Bloomberg and even the ABA jumping into the online legal research arena, the big boys (Westlaw and Lexis - or collectively known as "Wexis") should be, as one of my esteemed colleagues puts it - "soiling their pants right now." Of course, I've mentioned in the past that pushing out case law is one thing, but adding value and authority to those works is why we keep Wexis around. There do seem to be some attempts at challenging the Wexis authority, especially from Bloomberg (via adding their own headnote system), and through the ABA Federal Opinion Summaries.
It seems that Erik Gerding over at The Conglomerate has been anticipating the competition by asking the questions:
  1. When will Google take on Bloomberg?
  2. When will either take on Lexis and Westlaw?
Perhaps Erik can look back in his crystal ball and let us know how this will all pan out.
There is a lot of buzz and excitement going around in the legal research field this morning about the Google Scholar announcement. Internet for Lawyers put out this review of the new Google Scholar resource. Carl Malamud even jumped in with a comment about how well Google Scholar is citing the Federal case law.
Although we are just at the beginning stages of all of these resources, it is nice to see a little competition coming back to the online legal research world! I, for one, welcome it!

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