Appellate Jurisprudence in the Internet Age

44 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2016

See all articles by Michael Whiteman

Michael Whiteman

Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Date Written: February 19, 2016


This paper builds on the work begun by Prof. John Merryman in his article The Authority of Authority [6 Stan. L. Rev. 613 (1954)].

A close examination of the citation practices of the United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries reveals that appellate jurisprudence in the Internet age closely resembles that of the pre-Internet age. These findings, coupled with the continued criticism of legal researchers in the Internet age, call for a retrenchment in training future lawyers in the essential skills of “thinking like a lawyer.” The traditional techniques that have been taught by legal research and writing professors, and their doctrinal counterparts, must remain an essential part of our legal education system. Appellate jurisprudence in the Internet age is the same as it has always been. Whether one uses the Internet or a treatise to find legal information, the analytical skills necessary to determine relevant precedent remains the most important skill for a lawyer in the Internet age.

Keywords: Appellate, Jurisprudence, Internet, Legal Research, Judges, Courts, Attorneys

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Whiteman, Michael, Appellate Jurisprudence in the Internet Age (February 19, 2016). Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, Vol. 14, 2016, Available at SSRN: or

Michael Whiteman (Contact Author)

Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law ( email )

Nunn Hall
Highland Heights, KY 41099
United States

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