Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Shepards, Leopards

Richard Ducey, thank you for raising the issue of whether Shepards is continuing to note West headnotes. Now, we have the CRIV e-mail sent out on all these listserves, announcing in very careful and strange language that of course, they will always continue to include West headnotes, despite how terribly expensive it is becoming:

Recently, LexisNexis has received a number of questions
regarding the analysis of West headnotes by Shepard's.
We deeply appreciate the trust that you place in Shepard's,
and want to allay any concerns. LexisNexis will continue
to provide headnote analysis for West's reporters.
Furthermore, no existing headnote analysis has been
removed from any Shepard's product.

You should know that the production of that analysis is
becoming increasingly complex and difficult. In almost
every respect, analysis of West headnotes by Shepard's
is conducted just as it was when we began producing
that analysis - over a century ago.

We would also like to let you know that we have recently
integrated the LexisNexis headnotes into Shepard's Citations
Service. Legal researchers can now restrict their Shepard's
results by LexisNexis headnote - or Shepardize a LexisNexis
headnote directly from a case - making it easier to find
additional cases that discuss significant points of law.
LexisNexis headnotes are updated frequently, are applied
to a broad number of published and unpublished cases,
and use the court's own language to ensure that they are
consistent with the decision of the case. Shepard's editors
add LexisNexis headnotes to all cases with substantive
discussion, apply Shepard's editorial analysis, and enhance
those Shepard's reports with powerful caselaw and statutory
links - typically in less than 72 hours.

To reiterate, we will continue to provide Shepard's analysis
of West headnotes. At the same time, LexisNexis continues
to develop the next generation of citation research and validation
tools. As always, please do not hesitate to contact your Account
Representative or Librarian Relations Consultant should you
have any questions or comments.

Well, you can do a search yourself for State v. Golding, 567A.2d 823, 213 Conn 233, (Conn, 1989): Excluding prior and subsequent history, there were 1228 citing decisions on Shepard's. Selecting all West headnotes reduced the number to 765 citing decisions. Adding in a 2005 date restriction produced no cites! I think this seems pretty worrying, as though, for instance, Shepards stopped covering the West headnotes in 2005. I am glad that people are looking a little farther into the matter than just taking the statement above at face value.

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