You are not just using a new product, you are entering the "world of Ravel"... and you need to check all your preconceptions about legal research at the door.
Ravel Law makes me feel old. It has some similarities to Fastcase but also some major differences. Both products are the brainchild of young lawyers hellbent on reinventing legal research. Both developed their own innovative search engines and visual approaches to displaying search results.
I have often wondered how young lawyers will understand legal research without benefit of taxonomical hierarchies, digests and headnotes. Only time with tell, but I have to give the Ravel innovators the benefit of the doubt and celebrate something that may "speak the language" of "born digital" generation of lawyers.
|The Ravel Research Universe|
Daniel Lewis co-founder of Ravel Law grew up in a family of lawyers. When he attended Stanford Law School he became convinced that the legal profession needed a new approach to legal research. He and co-founder Nik Reed, a fellow Stanford law school alum developed Ravel in collaboration with students from the Design School at Stanford.
- Each circle represents a case
- The size of the circle represents its importance
- The Line is the citation
- The thickness of the line represents the depth of treatment.
|Case with citation history display|
The star reading system assigns stars to each page of a case using a 1 to 5 star scale, depending on how many times that page has been cited to by other cases. A one-star page has been cited to at least 5 times, and a 5 star page has been cited to at least 2,000 times. The cases that get listed as citing to a particular page can then be ranked in two ways: 1) by date, 2) by rank (which means how many times that case has itself been cited).
Interaction vs Reading. Ravel unravels every preconception you have about legal research. The thing that will most likely appeal to young lawyers is that Ravel begs you to interact with with it rather than read. The law still requires deep reading, analysing, distinguishing finer points of arguments. Will it seduce lawyers away from reading into focusing on narrower and narrower slices of text? The optimal legal skill set of the future will require both the ability to engage in visual data manipulation and reading full cases.
It is exciting and also humbling for me to witness the birth of a new generation of legal research platforms. Ravel offers legal research reimagined ... untethered from the inherent constraints as well as the familiar conventions of research systems born of print.... Ravel Law opens up a brave new world of legal research for exploration...