The recent explosion of LexisNexis and Westlaw products available to law students is both a beautiful boon/irritating bane to legal research instructors. On the one hand, more useful stuff is…more stuff…that is useful. On the other hand, it even useful stuff is basically just more stuff to do. The ever expanding research tool bounty is difficult to keep up with oneself, much less to find time to introduce law students to the steady stream of progress.
After the exciting announcement that Courtlink is available to law students, I was reminded of a prior resolution to increase my efforts to expose my research students to these newly available research tools. As the current crop of students rightly has little patience for my screen clicking demonstrations, I include questions on their exercises that require them to explore the products on their own.
My next few blog posts will focus on my efforts to expose my research students to new products. As you can see, I have a lot to choose from!
Lexis Advance Verdict & Settlement Analyzer is listed first (after Research) in the list of Lexis Advance products, so I decided to start at the beginning for my blog post series. Also, I am hoping that verdicts/settlements are both mentally accessible to law students, since they read about them in their casebooks, but also a bit mysterious, since they only read appellate opinions in their casebooks.
I decided to to go with my old research exercise topic standby, dog bites.
Question: Your client has facial scars from a recent pitbull attack and she wishes to sue the dog’s owner. You decide to use Lexis Advance Verdict & Settlement Analyzer to see how much victims with similar injuries have received in the last 10 years. You decide to retrieve all dog bite verdict/settlement documents, and then Search Within Results to limit your search to those that specifically mention scars on the face and pitbulls.
- List a useful initial search you typed in the Search Everything search box.
- List a useful Search Within Results search you used to limit your documents to those than mention pitbulls.
- List a useful Search Within Results search you used to limit your documents to those than mention scars on the face.
- How much is the average award for the last 10 years?
- How much is the median award for the last 10 years?
Answer: For the answer, I generally show a screenshot that students can compare their answers to.
Of course, one can’t hope to teach students all things about all products, much less expect them to remember anything specific as memories dull with time. The hope is that, as students explore different products throughout the semester, they will remember that there ARE different products to explore.