Are Online Legal Research Skills Required for Professional Competency?
March 21, 2014
“Gandy Dancers on the Web: How the Internet Has Raised the Bar on Lawyers’ Professional Responsibility to Research and Know the Law” by Lawrence Duncan MacLachlan proposes that “the lawyer in the twenty-first century who does not effectively use the internet for legal research may fall short of the minimal standards of professional competence and the potentially liable for malpractice.” The author argues that the extent of publically accessible online legal information “challenges the traditional assumption that lawyers are more competent researchers than the general public and will substantially elevate the minimal level of a lawyer’s professional responsibility to research and know the law”. Gandy Dancers, railroad workers building tracks into new territory, teetered at the edge of the abyss – are lawyers lacking research skills in such a precarious position?
The complete article can be found at Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 13, p.607 and is available in our Members’ Section on Heinonline.