In law school I wrote an article asserting that the open source movement would ultimately wage war on judicial case law. First, we must note that like legislation, case law is public information. Second, like legislative laws, citizens are responsible for behaving according to judicial law. Therefore, logically these laws must be made available for all to easily access and read.
Yesterday morning Google (GOOG) announced, “Starting today, we’re enabling people everywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts using Google Scholar.” Although a lawyer will always be needed to have an advantage in the legal system, this is another dent in the armor of the legal profession’s legal monopoly to practice law.
In terms of days and years, Google Scholar will probably start as a tool for the intellectual class and professionals looking to eliminate their Lexus-Nexus fees. In terms of centuries and millennia, this is another taste of how powerful the Information Age will be a long way down the road …
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