Robert McKay Celebrates the Bread and Butterworths of Legal Publishing

Famed British legal publisher (and now imprint at Lexis) Butterworths celebrates 200 years in 2018.

Writes McKay: “Very much dependent in early days on the expansion of the British Empire and its legal system, Butterworths, no doubt replete with the English and Christian values of the day, followed it from the British Isles to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India employing a mix of structures, acquisitions and partnerships of various degrees of success and some failure.”

Supreme Court Justices Using CJS or ALR?

John Shafer alluded (some time ago) on USF’s Law Library blog to Justice Kennedy stating, during an oral argument, that he would “look in Corpus Juris Secundum or ALR or something” to investigate a licensing issue.

Jason Wilson has written that the major publishers, having created and written some of the great common law and practice treatises, essentially abandoned (or were divested of?) their role as advisers to the bench and bar.

Are these publications still being written with the judiciary in mind or is Wilson correct?





Should Publishers Create More Jurisdiction, or (dare I say) Court-Specific, Practice Guides?

One fundamental frustration in using almost any treatise, practice guide, court rules handbook, or other legal source, is that they often contain little if any localized information. All politics is local supposedly. If that is true, it must be even more so that all legal practice is local (even when it isn’t truly local). Despite this, an attorney in unfamiliar practice territory, either in terms of location or practice area, finds little practical guidance on what to expect in certain jurisdictions, counties, and courts both in terms of procedural and substantive law as well as any unwritten rules of local practice which won’t be accessible anywhere-even among a court website’s PDFs.

Is this a case where some degree of Wiki-style (but editor-directed) crowdsourcing would need to be employed to create these treatise/practice guides? Should publishers be exploring them (to the extent that many of them probably aren’t currently) as a source of possible revenue growth in a declining market? How difficult would it be to find attorneys willing to write for them and comment on the practices of particular courts (and by implication, judges)?