In the article “10 Ways to Commit Malpractice With Your Computer,” # 4 is: Not using computer-assisted legal research. Competence is the first rule in the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct and competence is the best risk management for avoiding malpractice claims. As the Internet has blossomed as a tool for research and conducting investigations, a lawyer not competent at CALR is increasingly at risk for being found negligent when failing to find relevant authority and information on the Internet. Examples are:
- In Norgaard v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., 121 F.3d 1075 (7th Cir. 1997) a lawyer missed a US Supreme Court decision available on the Internet essential to his appeal. The Court ruled “Ignorance of the Supreme Court’s docket, although ‘neglect,’ is not ‘excusable’ – it is nothing but negligence, which does not justify untimely action.”
- Another lawyer reported to the judge that he could not locate his client. The judge did an Internet search for the missing client and located him in about 10 minutes – certainly one of life’s embarrassing moments for that lawyer.
- In an effort to help the cause we offer the following information on these two Internet Websites that are important to lawyers:
- PubMed: This website is a free gateway to the National Library of Medicine. It offers more than 21 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations often include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher websites. This is an outstanding resource for researching medical issues.
- FDsys: The Federal Digit System Website replaced the GPO Access Website last December. FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications for all three branches of the Federal government. It is an easier and much improved research tool for researching Federal publications.
The quickest way to these Websites is to Google PubMed or FDsys. (Last viewed 9/6/2011.)