Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 2)

(If you missed part 1 of the series, check it out here.) What is the Semantic Web? The Semantic Web is a way of making data smart. The idea is, rather than building smart applications that can analyze “dumb” data, you make the data smart in the first place. The problem with dumb data is that the ability of applications to make sense of human language is limited. Currently, the information in most web pages Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 1)

“Predicting the future is a hazardous business.” So cautions Richard Susskind in his recent exercise in legal futurology, The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, citing a number of amusingly inaccurate predictions made over the years about the future of IT. In a series of posts, I venture into that hazardous business by taking a look at the Semantic Web, an exciting current development in IT, and considering how it might impact Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – January 15, 2010

Here’s the latest on the STLR radar: Twitter is a source of evidence for a murder charge, reports the New York Daily News.  But could those tweets be copyrighted?’s Law Technology News weighs in. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides a good, link-heavy analysis of the unanswered questions surrounding Google’s decision to stop censoring their Chinese services. For some reason, Psystar keeps fighting Apple, posts Gizmodo. Custom and Border Protection’s laptop searches may have gone Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – January 8, 2010

Here’s the latest on the STLR radar: Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco decided to allow showing the trial challenging California’s Proposition 8 on YouTube, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog questions whether that’s a good thing. Patent Librarian notes that Wikipedia citations in patent applications are up 59%, but Patently-O puts that increase in perspective. A report commissioned by the French government recommends taxing Google on Continue Reading →

RECAP Attempts to “Turn PACER Around”

The American legal profession is not generally known for adopting new technology, setting up open access to laws and legal procedures, or offering things for free.  Internet culture is the opposite: fervently experimental, open, and free/shared whenever possible.  Private intersections of the two have fallen on a continuum, from closed and expensive like Lexis/Westlaw, to open and free like the new Google Scholar (see our analysis of Google Scholar here).  One of the latest innovations Continue Reading →

Google Scholar – Free Case Law For Everyone!

Given Google’s dominance in web searches, it seemed it would only be a matter of time before the company entered the legal arena.  This Tuesday, Google added the ability to freely search legal opinions and journal articles through Google Scholar.  According to Google Scholar’s documentation, the website provides state appellate and supreme court decisions since 1950, U.S. federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy court decisions since 1923, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1791.  The Continue Reading →