According to a Knight Foundation-Gallup survey, Americans believe that 62% of the news they consume on TV, in newspapers, and on the radio is biased. Bias and inaccuracy differed based on the respondents’ political persuasions, particularly with regard to Fox News, Breitbart News, CNN, and MSNBC. For complete survey results, see this Business Insider article. — Joe
According to this Above the Law post, attorneys searching Casetext’s CARA completed their research 24.5 times faster compared to Lexis Advance. Annualized time savings using CARA adds up to between 132 and 210 hours a year. The survey also found that attorneys rated CARA’s results 20.8 percent more relevant than Lexis Advance. Interesting but I would prefer to see a similar study comparing Casetext’s CLARA and Westlaw Edge. — Joe
A new Pew Research Center survey examines whether members of the public can recognize news as factual – something that’s capable of being proved or disproved by objective evidence – or as an opinion that reflects the beliefs and values of whoever expressed it. Survey results include the politically aware, digitally savvy and those more trusting of the news media fare better; Republicans and Democrats both influenced by political appeal of statements.
H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket post. — Joe
On Above the Law, Casetext CEO Jake Heller reports on research conducted by the company which uncovered that judges have a surprisingly consistent opinion of the work they see from litigators: they believe attorneys miss important cases often, and when they do, it has real consequences in the course of a litigation. Details here. — Joe
According to a recent Pew survey on American democratic values, 55% of Americans now say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on what the Constitution “means in current times,” while 41% say rulings should be based on what it “meant as originally written.” In her FactTank post, Kristen Bialik reports
Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) now say rulings should be based on the Constitution’s meaning in current times, higher than at any previous point on record and up 9 percentage points from 2016 (69%). Just three-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners now say the same, an 11-point increase from 2016 but little changed from GOP views in the years prior.
About three-quarters of conservative Republicans (77%) continue to say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on the Constitution’s original meaning rather than its meaning in current times (21%). But moderate and liberal Republicans are more divided: 50% favor an interpretation based on the Constitution’s original meaning, compared with 46% who say the court should base its rulings on a current interpretation.
Ideological differences are less pronounced among Democrats. Liberal Democrats (88%) overwhelmingly say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on the Constitution’s meaning in current times, as do a majority (70%) of conservative and moderate Democrats.
For more, go here. — Joe
From the introduction to The Public, the Political System and American Democracy (2018):
[T]here is broad support for making sweeping changes to the political system: 61% say “significant changes” are needed in the fundamental “design and structure” of American government to make it work for current times.
The public sends mixed signals about how the American political system should be changed, and no proposals attract bipartisan support. Yet in views of how many of the specific aspects of the political system are working, both Republicans and Democrats express dissatisfaction.
In general, however, there is a striking mismatch between the public’s goals for American democracy and its views of whether they are being fulfilled. On 23 specific measures assessing democracy, the political system and elections in the United States – each widely regarded by the public as very important – there are only eight on which majorities say the country is doing even somewhat well.
The new survey of the public’s views of democracy and the political system by Pew Research Center was conducted online Jan. 29-Feb. 13 among 4,656 adults. It was supplemented by a survey conducted March 7-14 among 1,466 adults on landlines and cellphones.
H/T to beSpacific. — Joe
CJ Ryan and Brian L. Frye’s “revealed-preferences” ranking is subjective because its purpose is to ask where prospective law students choose to matriculate. In other words, objective rankings tell students what they should want, but the authors’ subjective ranking asks what students actually want. In The 2018 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools, the authors present a law school ranking based exclusively on the combined scores of the students in a school’s 2017 incoming class. The authors also compare this ranking to their previous ranking, as well as other objective ranking systems, and provide regional rankings of law schools. — Joe
Above the Law wants to know because it is conducting its March Madness poll about the best legal fiction. You have until Monday, March 19 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern to cast your votes here. — Joe
On a daily basis, Morning Consult polls registered voters across the country what they think about President Trump. Every month the company releases those numbers to provide a detailed understanding of how Trump is viewed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., benchmarked against previous results. To date, this project is based on more than 800,000 surveys. See the full methodology here, and explore the full polling results here.
H/T to beSpacific. — Joe
Since 2007, the biennial Salary Survey has reported on AALL membership by market sectors: Law Firm/Corporate, Government and Law School. The table, above, details non-AALL membership as a percent of the professional workforce as reported in the last six biennial salary surveys. The percent of non-AALL members in the law firm/corporate legal sector workforce increased 19% in 2017 compared to 2015 and has increased 56% since 2007. Note that the percent of the professional workforce in the law firm/corporate law sector who are not AALL members has steadily increased during the past ten years. No similar increase is manifest in the government and academic sectors.
Time to mount an AALL membership outreach campaign targeting non-traditional legal information professionals in law firms and corporate legal departments? — Joe
According to AALL’s 2017 Biennial Salary Survey & Organizational Characteristics, total information budgets increased substantially for government and law firm/corporate law libraries but not academic law libraries when compared to the 2015 survey results. Government libraries’ information budget increased 31% and law firm/corporate law libraries’ information budgets increased 26%. Academic law libraries’ information budgets were flat.
Electronic information budgets as a percent of total information budgets essentially was unchanged for government law libraries in 2017 at 35%. Not so for other market segments. Electronic information budgets as a percent of total information budget rose 16% for law schools, from 38% in 2015 to 44% of total information budgets in 2017. Law firm/corporate law libraries’ electronic information budgets rose 9%, from 69% to a record 75% of total information budgets in 2017. No time in the history of AALL’s biennial surveys has a market segment reached this 75% milestone. Is the end of this substitution trend in sight? I have my doubts. — Joe
Pew’s political typology sorts Americans into cohesive, like-minded groups based on their values and beliefs, as well as their partisan affiliation. See the report, Political Typology Reveals Deep Fissures on the Right and Left, this story, and The Partisan Divide on Political Values Grows Even Wider. Are you a Core Conservation, Market Skeptic, Opportunity Democrat? If interested, take Pew’s political typology quiz. — Joe
According to Thomson Reuters’ new report, Ready or Not: Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Legal Departments, “corporate counsel believe they are tech savvy but acknowledge that their comfort level and confidence with technology have limitations, specifically around artificial intelligence (AI).” From the press release:
The report notes that more than half (56%) of in-house attorneys either perceive that AI technology is not used or are not yet familiar with the use of AI technology in their legal department. And for others, there is skepticism about its reliability and cost-effectiveness. Despite the unknown, some in-house attorneys surveyed envision AI as being beneficial in increasing efficiency (17%), reducing costs (13%), minimizing risk (7%) and supporting document review (6%).
The top concern among respondents in using AI was cost (19%), as the mantra of doing more with less and budget constraints were key factors to adoption. Reliability (15%) was another concern, especially in areas of ethical considerations and confidentiality. A third concern is a constant with any new technology or process: change management (9%).
H/T to Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites post. — Joe
From the introduction to Taking a closer look at the changing role of today’s law librarian:
The legal profession has undergone nearly a decade of fundamental change, and perhaps no single role has seen greater impact than the law firm librarian. Budget pressures, shrinking law library footprints, a decreasing reliance on print, a greater push for online resources, and the advent of new job responsibilities are just a few of the factors that have combined to push law librarians into new territory.
As one reflection of this change, the American Association of Law Librarians has explored a “rebranding initiative,” as an attempt to “redefine and reinvigorate the value of law librarians and legal information professionals.” A decade ago, such an initiative would likely never have taken place. According to a recent survey of law librarian’s completed by Thomson Reuters, however, the evolution of the law librarians’ role may provide cause for such a discussion.
According to the survey’s 123 respondents from a combination of large and medium law firms, more than half of respondents said their role had undergone substantial change within the past three years, with 15 percent reporting “extreme change.” How much has changed? Forty-eight percent of respondents reported spending more than three-quarters of their time on activities that were not part of their job descriptions three years ago. That’s a staggering degree of change.
H/T to On Firmer Ground. — Joe
Search and Politics: The Uses and Impacts of Search in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United States reports the results of an online poll of Internet users about how they use search, social media, and other important media to get information about political candidates, issues, and politics generally. From the abstract:
Global debate over the impact of algorithms and search on shaping political opinions has increased following dramatic election results in Europe and the US. Powerful images of the Internet enabling access to a global treasure trove of information have shifted to worries over whether those who use search engines and social media are being fed inaccurate, false, or politically targeted information that distorts public opinion. There are serious questions over whether biases embedded in the algorithms that drive search engines and social media have major political consequences, such as creating filter bubbles or echo chambers. For example, do search engines and social media provide people with information that aligns with their beliefs and opinions or do they challenge them to consider countervailing perspectives? Most generally, the predominant concern is do these media have a major impact on public opinion and political viewpoints, and if so, for the better or worse.
“The shift to digital delivery of serials content has had a profound effect on the information ecosystem” but not on pricing models report Stephen Bosch and Kittie Henderson in their LJ article, New World, Same Model: Periodical Pricing Survey 2017. “Most publishers have explored new ways of pricing their content—such as population served, FTE (full-time equivalent), tiered pricing based upon Carnegie classification, or other defining criteria—or the database model, which treats all content within an e-journal package as a database, eliminating the need for title by title reconciliation. However, in the end, the pricing conversation always seems to circle back to the revenue generated by the annual subscription model.” Here’s what the authors forecast:
The 2018 serials marketplace will continue to see steady price increases, with no indicators that this will change. Drivers in the marketplace, such as budget compression, currency fluctuation, OA, government mandates, shifts in the global political climate, new assessment and evaluation tools, and alternating patterns of the distribution of information offered by research platforms and social networks have not changed the fundamentals of the business models, and serials price inflation remains constant. Publisher and vendor consolidation will continue, and libraries will actively manage their portfolios to get the biggest return for their dollars. Annual price inflation has hovered in the 6% range since 2012. As in previous years, the 6% average price increase seen in 2017 is expected to be much the same for 2018. The mature market seems to have found the 5%–6% equilibrium a rate of increase that neither libraries nor publishers like but with which both can work.
I’ve written before on the supposed death of libraries and print due to the creation of the Internet. The thinking goes that if someone can do something on their own that is a service normally provided by a librarian or library, that person would opt for self-service. The fallacy in that thinking is that everyone has the same skill sets, needs, and access to the same materials. Does everyone live on the Internet these days? Does everyone have a tablet and/or smartphone? Maybe, maybe not.
At the same time, not all of these devices, even with cloud support, are appropriate for all tasks. I hate typing on a smartphone screen because the on-screen keyboards are so small. I keep making corrections more than half my time even with word suggestion. I would opt for a desktop or a large screen laptop with a real keyboard if I had to do some serious Westlaw or Lexis research. But that’s me, one of the six billion people in the world without a Facebook account, or an account on Twitter or LinkedIn.
So how do people view libraries against 20 plus years of the Internet and increasingly more and more sophisticated technology? The Pew Research Center released the results of a survey yesterday that addressed this topic. It’s called Libraries at the Crossroads. The subtitle is telling: The public is interested in new services and thinks libraries are important to communities. The survey results indicate that while some uses of the library are down by small amounts compared to the last survey, libraries are an important public resource to a lot of people.
Individuals used a public library to access the Internet, look for jobs, look for information to upgrade their skills, and as a source to learn about new technologies. There is also a social component where the library is used as a meeting and teaching center. “Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.”
American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman released the following statement regarding the survey’s findings:
“Public libraries are transforming beyond their traditional roles and providing more opportunities for community engagement and new services that connect closely with patrons’ needs,” said Feldman. “Today’s study shows that public libraries are far from being just ‘nice to have,’ but serve as a lifeline for their users, as the survey shows more than 65 percent of those surveyed felt that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community.
“Libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for and with people. Today’s survey found that three-quarters of the public say libraries have been effective at helping people learn how to use new technologies. This is buttressed by the ALA’s Digital Inclusion Survey, which finds that virtually all libraries provide free public access to computers and the Internet, wi-fi, technology training and robust digital content that supports education, employment, e-government access and more.
“Although the report affirms the value of public libraries, the ALA recognizes the need for greater public awareness of the transformation of library services, as the report shows library visits over the past three years have slightly decreased. In response, libraries of all types are preparing for the launch of a national public awareness campaign entitled ‘Libraries Transform.’
“Libraries from across the county will participate in the campaign and will work to change the perception that ‘libraries are just quiet places to do research, find a book, and read’ to ‘libraries are centers of their communities: places to learn, create and share, with the help of library staff and the resources they provide.
“This is an exciting time for libraries, as institutions transform to meet the digital and print needs of their users, and to continue to fulfill their role in leveling the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies.”
For those who can work without libraries, feel free. Just don’t denigrate the services libraries provide as anachronistic. A lot of people like libraries and the help librarians provide. That’s not going away no matter how many devices one owns.
I posted about three weeks ago about the discussion going on at my library concerning the maintenance of the National Reporter System as well as other bibliographic items. This was in connection with ABA Standards for law school library collection allowing for “reliable access” to primary law through electronic resources. This got me wondering. I know that current and ongoing material would be on Lexis and Westlaw and other resources. The immediate question is how far back does everything go? I would assume through representations that the databases cover all case law from the beginning.
I wound up checking each information statement for case law in WestlawNext and compared it to everything that is a citable item in Table 1 of the Bluebook. Westlaw does, in fact, represent that it carries case law for every item listed as a citable reporter in the Bluebook. I’m in the process of checking Lexis at the moment. While I can take issue with the way Lexis organizes its case law files, the survey so far indicates that it goes all the way back as well. Lexis does have some interesting additions in that it seems there are databases for circuit court reports for a select number of states. I’m still working on that survey.
I’m considering an expansion of the survey to other databases such as Hein Online as well as free resources such as Google’s case law and books and other reliable databases for comparative purposes. Hein’s historical databases for case law and statutes continue to expand, especially for state published items. I’m also interested in the formats (text only, PDF, etc.) and the range of coverage for each file type. This information would likely be useful for cite checkers and reference librarians. I have the initial WestlawNext chart for coverage by reporter and date. Feel free to contact me for a copy. I’ll post my progress as I get through this. I may ultimately turn this into an article that compares type of material to availability, format, and whether it’s reliably free or in a subscription database. We’ll see if I have the stamina as this goes forward.
“In the spirit of collecting the wisdom of colleagues, I thought it would be interesting to do a poll on what we started or stopped in 2013 and on what we plan to start or stop in 2014. What products did we stop using? what new ones will we adopt in 2014?” — Jean O’Grady, On Firmer Ground
Jean has launched a brief Start/Stop 2013/2014 survey to collect your answers. She will report the findings after the survey closes on January 15th. — Joe