Friday, September 4, 2009

LOISLaw Gains Ground

It should come as no surprise that LOISLaw, a Wolters-Kluwer online legal search engine, is gaining favor among financially stressed law firms. Check out this ATL article that ran in February. One major firm, Locke, Lord, Bissel & Liddle (sounds like a small, philosophical yet religious vacuum cleaner) issued a memo to its attorneys requiring the use of LOIS before using Westlaw or Lexis in non-billable situations.

You might also take a look at this post by Julie Jones on the official blog of the UConn Law Library. Not only does she link to the ATL article but to a recent article on that addresses how firms are saving money by gathering metrics on DB use.

Better still, take a look at this survey compiled in 2008 by Paul Lomio and Erika Wayne from the Stanford Law School library. You will find that a substantial number of responding law firms (about 30%) wanted LOISLaw taught as part of a legal research curriculum.

And now for the caveat - LOIS is really a database for primary law research. There are some secondary source materials available on LOIS but not enough for most thorough researchers. Should this deter a researcher from starting with LOIS? No. Here's a quote from the LLB&L memo:
It [LOIS] is not viewed as a substitute for Lexis or Westlaw, but as a tool to be used to familiarize yourself with precedent related to new cases or issues or simply to find cases, statutes or regulations.
Looks like good advice from a managing attorney with two goals: saving money and providing good client research service.

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