A New Era: Integrating Today's 'Next Gen' Research Tools Ravel and Casetext in the Law School Classroom
44 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2015 Last revised: 13 Apr 2016
Date Written: January 15, 2015
The legal research landscape is changing…again. In recent years, law school professors introduced Google, WestlawNext, and LexisAdvance into their classrooms. Now, a new generation of legal research tools that include the innovative Ravel and Casetext will have law school professors grappling with the questions: Should law professors teach these next gen research tools as part of the skills curriculum? If so, how? In this article, the authors respond with a resounding “Yes” and propose a set of teaching ideas for doing so without sacrificing precious class time. They conclude that Ravel and Casetext pose an intriguing and exciting possibility for achieving the pedagogical goals of legal skills classrooms. In Spring 2014, the authors implemented a teaching and assessment classroom pilot module in the legal writing classroom using Ravel and Casetext, and this article builds from the lessons of that pilot. The authors contend that integrating these legal research innovations in the law school classroom advances significant pedagogical goals: teaching law students information literacy (e.g., research strategy, context, and source evaluation); teaching metacognitive skills; preparing students for law practice; and exploring professionalism and ethics issues. This article provides an overview of the pedagogical goals of teaching legal research skills, describes the newest “next gen” tools Ravel and Casetext, and discusses how teaching these tools furthers the pedagogical goals. Finally, the article describes in detail the pilot module used in one of the authors’ first-year legal writing classroom and suggests many possibilities for the integration of the newest “next gen” research tools in the legal skills classroom.
Keywords: legal writing, legal research, law school pedagogy, legal technology, legal education, legal research pedagogy, Casetext, Ravel, LexisAdvance, WestlawNext, Google Scholar, “next gen” research, next gen research, legal skills pedagogy, electronic research, research databases
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation