Subject to ongoing revision:
last revised 6/21/2007


Unit No. 1 – eLaw: An overview

  • Course procedures
  • Expectations
  • Introduction to the subject
    • How past changes in the technology of law that have affected how law works and is thought about
    • Some examples, domestic and foreign, of the types of change now underway
    • eLaw in relation to eGovernment (and cyberlaw)
    • The public values at stake
      • Transparency - in relation to other values
      • Access (for whom?)
      • Cost
      • Timeliness
      • Fairness and equity
      • Public control of public functions

Unit No. 2 – Judicial opinion dissemination and case law access

  • The evolving legal information marketplace
  • The range of behaviors and public/private relationships
  • Some key issues for courts and public law reporters
    • Vendor and medium neutral citation
    • Copyright and other forms of control over redistribution
    • Selecting the important decisions (published/unpublished, precedential/non-precedential)
    • Quality assurance (from copy editing and cite checking to privacy policy compliance)
    • Post-release revision
    • Official status and public archiving
    • Meeting the judiciary's own legal information needs

Unit No. 3 – Dissemination of codified law (statutes, administrative regulations, and municipal ordinances)

  • The legal information marketplace (cont'd)
  • How codes differ from decisions
  • The range of behaviors and public/private relationships
  • How the information needs of those responsible for enacting legislation and making regulations influence the dissemination options
  • Some key issues for legislatures and agencies
    • Copyright and other forms of control over redistribution
    • Designation of a particular version or versions as "official"
    • Treatment of time
  • Distinctive issues surrounding municipal codes

Unit No. 4 – The input side of legal institutions

  • A different set of incentives and purposes
  • Some early examples of e-filing
  • Required reports and payments
  • Application for public benefits, licenses, permits and the like
  • Initiation of judicial or administrative proceedings (e-filing)
  • Public access to electronic records
  • Issues of incompatibility
  • Proprietary versus open systems

Unit No. 5 – The communication of legal materials, policies, and standard practices within public law-making and law-applying bodies

  • Agencies as integrators
    • SSA
    • U.S. Department of Labor
    • State consumer protection agencies
  • Communicating policy and conforming practice in large agency settings
  • Quality assurance
  • Systems for improving judicial performance in real-time

Unit No. 6 – The conduct of legal proceedings

  • Civil and criminal trials
    • Multi-media hearing or trial presentations
    • Virtual proceedings
  • Administrative adjudications
    • Teleconference hearings
    • Electronic capture of proceedings
  • Administrative deliberation and public comment on proposed rules (eRulemaking)

Unit No. 7 – Impact of eLaw on the work of lawyers and structure of law firms

  • Virtual law firms
  • Knowledge management and exchange
  • New forms and sources of competition
  • Client empowerment

Unit No. 8 – Putting eLaw in a comparative perspective

  • Federalism as a variable - US, Canada, and Norway
  • eLaw and the EU
  • Developing countries and eLaw

Unit No. 9 – Speculations about the future

  • ADR and ODR, in competition with the courts
  • Erosion of geographically limited public authority
  • Digital media and the public conception of law
  • Digital media and the role of the legal profession