In the late 1980s, when online legal research classes were first becoming a law school staple, a lot of professors and attorneys worried that students would neglect traditional legal research skills. Is this a real danger?
The reality is that the war is over, and the computer has won! That’s probably putting it a little too strongly, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think this generation of students is going to access the materials exclusively in hard copy. Most students in their late teens or early twenties are not working in a print environment. It is important for them to know what will work online, and what won’t.
Does TWEN help with that learning process?
TWEN provides a point of access to resources that a lot of students might otherwise ignore. It’s important that students know when to go to an encyclopedia, legal dictionary, law review, or other secondary source. Too often, students and attorneys waste time on wrong turns and dead ends in research, by heading straight to the case law, statutes, or other primary authority. Students come away from my course saying, “I never realized there was so much stuff out there!”