The Risk Manager, Winter 2005
It is old news that, thanks to the Internet, lawyers no longer must wait appreciable periods of time before learning of recent case decisions, developing law, and legal news. It is all available virtually instantly with a few clicks of a computer mouse. Of course, to have access you must have a computer, an Internet connection, and know how to do electronic research. These capabilities and skills are no longer “nice to have” features of law practice. Rather, they have become fundamental to maintenance of lawyer competence and diligence. For those of you still resistant to this change in how law is delivered today consider that failure to use CALR could lead to a malpractice claim. We expressed this concern in a previous newsletter as follows:
When will failure to do legal research using the resources computers offer become legal negligence? With increasing real time legal information available on the Internet that day draws near. A good example is a products liability case that the trial judge dismissed because it was preempted by federal law. No appeal was timely made. Just 85 days later the Supreme Court limited the preemption defense. When the plaintiff’s lawyer attempted to reopen the litigation the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled: “Ignorance of the Supreme Court’s docket, although ‘neglect,’ is not ‘excusable’ – it is nothing but negligence, which does not justify untimely action.” (Norgaard v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., 121 F.3d 1075 (7th Cir. 1997). To keep up with fast breaking legal news and avoid getting caught short like the lawyer in Norgaard it is critical that lawyers routinely use CALR as a matter of competent client representation and careful risk management.
Thanks to the numerous web sites that offer free legal information along with sophisticated commercial legal research sites there is no shortage of access to CALR for Kentucky lawyers. A drawback of some of the commercial sites, however, is that they can be expensive for sole practitioners and smaller firms. Recently, a more economical CALR service began operating in Kentucky – LawReader. LawReader emphasizes Kentucky law and includes a broad range of legal resources and features. If you are not currently subscribing to a CALR site, LawReader may be a good fit for your practice. You can find out more about LawReader , by calling (502) 732-4617, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.