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Two years ago we were asking whether or not Boolean was the dead language of legal research. That’s not really a long time, but in this fast paced, ever changing field, two years may as well be twenty. With advances in natural language searches and AI, Boolean searches are now an archaic relic of times past.
So back to that question: Is Boolean dead?
Or is this still the right question to be asking?
Today, the right question is:
What are the new, essential tools of legal research?
The short answer is data and artificial intelligence. Rather than asking about the search terms and research methods, you should be focused on the research tools themselves.
A mathematician wouldn’t ask if there’s an improved method to use an abacus.
She’d focus on the tools. She’d ask: What’s the best calculator?
Going forward, legal research tools will depend on artificial intelligence. As AI research progresses, its ability to piece together and analyze broad data sets will become more sophisticated and provide greater advantages for data-driven lawyers. But why is this data so important?
Imagine knowing how a judge typically rules on a case like yours.
Or think of the advantage in knowing the track record of your opposition.
Rather than relying on word of mouth or personal experience, data analytics will give you those valuable insights. This field is booming, and taking advantage of these advances now will give you a leg up on the competition in just about every aspect of your practice. Integrating products like Lex Machina and the recent LexisNexis acquisition, Ravel Law, can make a difference in not just research, but in making sense of the vast quantities of data available.
So the real questions here are:
How can these tools improve your practice?
And can you afford to be left behind?