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Online School Law Resources Gaining Traction

San Antonio—Where do you get your information about school law?

That’s a question two scholars here at the Education Law Association meeting asked in a survey of school lawyers, professors who teach school law, and others.

The survey by Justin M. Bathon, an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Kentucky, and Kevin P. Brady, an assistant professor in the same field at North Carolina State University, was based on a small sample. Still, there were interesting findings.

Legal textbooks were the most cited category of resource for school law information, following by Internet-based searches, case law review, and other sources. Eight out of 10 respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the availability of online resources changed how they did their legal research.

Practicing attorneys were more likely to turn to case law reviews as their first resource, while professors were more likely to turn to textbooks first.

Bathon, who runs The Edjurist blog on school law (where the survey results can be found), and Brady noted that there has been an explosion of free Web-based resources on the law generally, and on education law. But many of them don't yet measure up to established, fee-based services such as Lexis and Westlaw, they said. Such services, which can costs hundreds of dollars a month, are sometimes available to education students through their universities, but K-12 practitioners and even many lawyers can't afford them once they are out of such higher education programs, the scholars said.

As for one of the newest forms of online resources, only 24 percent of respondents reported using blogs as a source of education law, the survey found.

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