The inimitable A.L.R. series of law books published by West (now Thomson Reuters) turns 100 this year. Its narratives, published regularly, that analyze, classify, explain and digest American case law on very narrow legal issues has been an icon of law publishing for many years already. So many great people in law publishing have played a part in its success, quality, and prominence. Many still are.
And, of course, Corpus Juris/Corpus Juris Secundum turns 108 in 2019. American Jurisprudence, 2d is 83. All of them great Rochester, Twin Cities, and one-time Brooklyn/Westbury, N.Y. publications.
Sarah Sutherland over at Slaw.ca:
“Start-ups are pivoting away from legal analysis to subject areas that have more accessible datasets and less complicated source material, and those that haven’t frequently struggle to answer simple questions. There are many applications for automated analysis of legal documents, but as far as I can tell so far they tend toward extracting particular information such as judges’ names…”
“Legal documents are some of the most complex writing in English, and it is unlikely that the nuance of what they mean will be an easy target.”
Powering this software “generator” appears to require more human effort and input than People’s headline lets on though it is nonetheless amusing. The text result reads something like remedial freshman poetry (perhaps the inexact nature of the program’s vocabulary inadvertently mimics the abstractions and allusions of amateurish verse).
I do wonder what the corporate publishing world is making of this. If the executives indeed believe that words are cheaper and less meaningful than pennies, the answer may be painfully obvious.
Bloomberg announced a new, online bankruptcy law treatise featuring frequent updates and revisions and shepherded by an editorial board, expert bankruptcy judges and attorneys, and in-house Bloomberg staff. It appears to be more interactive than other such sources and has at least the beginnings of a litigation drafting service. See Jean O’Grady’s comments (“Toss the Pocket Parts..”, December 4) for a full discussion from a librarian’s perspective. What remains to be seen: overlapping questions as to the quality of this gigantic tome and whether an “expert” work crowdsourced to this extent is particularly helpful or internally consistent.