45 Chi. L. Libr. Bull. 1 (June 1971)

handle is hein.journals/callbu45 and id is 1 raw text is: 


CHICAGO  LAW  LIBRARY  BULLETIN


                        CHICAGO ASSOCIATION OF LAW LIBRARIES

 No. 45                                                                 June,  1971

                                                                 March, 1971

 MEMORANDUM TO:  LAW, LIBRARIES AND AUTOMATION CONFERENCE

            Re:  One Law Firm's Experience with OBAR

 Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, a Cleveland, Ohio, law firm of 125 attorneys, was the
 original subscriber to the full-text retrieval system now in use by the legal
 profession in Ohio.  This computerized legal research system (System) was developed
 through the cooperative efforts of the Ohio State Bar Association Automated Research
 (OBAR), a non-profit corporation organized by and affiliated with the Ohio State
 Bar Association, and Mead Data Central, Inc. (Mead).

 After a four-month training program in our firm, 75 attorneys and four non-lawyer
 personnel have received training in the OBAR System.  The training program was
 coordinated through the firm's lawyer personnel committee, and appointments were
 set up and the time log was maintained by the firm's three coordinators (one
 assistant librarian and two secretaries).  The actual training was conducted by
 a Mead representative through one-hour sessions with individual attorneys, and
 all attorneys were encouraged to bring actual problems to the training session.
 The live research aspect of these initial sessions cut down the cost of train-
 ing and created a greater individual incentive to learn how to use the System.

 Through a survey of the 18 associates in our firm who use the System on a regular
 basis, we have been able to set forth some general observations.  Most attorneys
 in our office using the OBAR System are engaging in moderately complex to complex
 research, and are either utilizing the System to initiate research or to verify
 manual research.  At present, the majority of the searches consist of fact
 oriented issues (primarily litigation matters), but there is an increasing trend
 towards conceptual problem searches as many attorneys are becoming more proficient
 in the art of search framing.  In general, our attorneys feel that the OBAR
 research time as compared to conventional research methods is faster by a factor
 of 5 to 1, and all agree that they obtain better quality research from the System
 than through manual research.  All concerned state that the primary advantage of
 the System is that the attorney does not have to rely upon an editor's ability
 to collect all of the cases under given headings, and that they feel certain that
 they are searching every case under a given phrase or key word.  It is important
 to note that the OBAR research tool has increased both the quality and the quantity
 of research done in our firm, and the use of all library sources has increased
 accordingly.

 All formal training of our attorneys by Mead personnel has now been completed.
 The firm's usage is running approximately 35 hours a month.  Our assistant
 librarian and a paralegal assistant can now provide the initial training to new
 attorneys, and also are providing technical assistance to all attorneys who have
 received training but who do not use the System frequently enough to keep current.
 We also are initiating a program in which four of our OBAR associates will present
 advanced search classes to our attorneys.

 Please feel free to direct to my attention any specific operating inquiries you
may have.  I wish to set forth again the  invitation of Mr. James F. Preston, Jr.,

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