Friday, January 23, 2009 and Wex

I came across, a site that collects student outlines and information about law firms in the U.S. and Canada. Like all wikis, it's still under development -- and, in fact, you could contribute.

Coverage is uneven and appears stronger for Canada than the U.S.

The course outline collection is just getting started. For instance, it has ten outlines from George Mason and just one each from Texas and Rutgers.

Right now the outlines are arranged by school. I think it might be more useful to see a subject arrangement. If you're looking for civil procedure and your school is represented, you might not care much where your outline comes from. Searching isn't necessarily the answer: when I searched for "civil procedure" I was taken to just one page, even though I had seen other pages with "civil procedure" in their titles.

Law-wiki is a work in progress. As it develops, it could become very useful. And if it has even one outline that works for you, it could be useful now.

A legal wiki with a different approach is Wex, from Cornell's Legal Information Institute. "Wex is an ambitious effort to construct a collaboratively-created, public-access law dictionary and encyclopedia." This isn't the place to look for an outline of all of civil procedure, but it is a darn good place to get an overview of jurisdiction, with links to the Constitution, title 28, state materials, and recent cases.

A list of Wex's topics is here.

Unlike, a href="">Wikipedia, which anyone can edit, Wex screens contributors.
We are interested in contributors with

* demonstrated expertise in particular areas of law
* a desire to educate law novices
* the ability to communicate effectively with an extremely diverse audience.

Our criteria are fluid, but in general we prefer formal legal education and give preference to legal academics and distinguished practitioners. The idea is to build the most authoritative source we can with a minimum of re-editing and tussling over content. A primary concern is that the material be useful to novices in particular areas of law -- a group that takes in practitioners learning about a new area, law students, and the general public. A desire and an ability to teach diverse groups is essential.
Hmm, looking for expertise and the ability to communicate. Interesting approach...

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