Law School Case Books: Facing Extinction?

Very interesting column today in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about law school case books.

Law schools around the country will be meeting with third party vendors at a September 27 workshop to discuss the feasibility of moving toward electronic readers and other paperless devices that will eliminate the need for costly and cumbersome books.

This probably comes to no surprise to modern law students, who typically learn quickly that most of the case information can be found on LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Google. During my three years at the University of Chicago Law School, I didn’t buy more than five books. There’s just no need as long as you have a laptop, web access, and your law school passwords for the key legal research websites.

That said, it is still refreshing to see law schools out in front of a modern trend, as opposed to being six steps behind. Gone are the days of nattily dressed scholars pouring over thick tomes in vast, dusty reading rooms. Today’s law student is reading cases on his iPhone while socializing in the student lounge. It’s not better or worse, just different. And it seems like law schools are starting to realize that, which is a good thing.

Not only that, but for particular law school applications, it may be appropriate for candidates to highlight interests in the ever-changing legal landscape. This is one more example that leading law schools are (finally?) open to change.