Home > Uncategorized > Book review – The Cybersleuth’s Guide To The Internet, 12th edition

Book review – The Cybersleuth’s Guide To The Internet, 12th edition

Recently I had the privilege of spending the day learning about Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch’s latest book, the 12th edition of The Cybersleuth’s Guide To The Internet.  The very fact that this book is now in its 12th edition tells you how incredibly popular it has been over the years.  I consider the authors to be the gold standard among experts who write and teach on Internet research for lawyers.  Their other publications include Find Info Like A Pro Volume 1:Mining the Internet’s Publicly Available Resources For Investigative Research, Find Info Like A Pro Volume 2:Mining the Internet’s Public Records For Investigative Research, Google For Lawyers and The Lawyer’s Guide To Fact Finding On The Internet, all of which are published by the Law Practice Management section of the ABA. An electronic edition of this book will soon be available.

Levitt and Rosch’s Internet For Lawyers website, showcases information about their in-person and online CLE.  It also contains quite a few articles about the “latest developments in conducting efficient legal, business and investigative research on the Internet, as well as effective use of technology in your practice.”  Their blog, available from the website, includes the latest Internet research tips.  I recommend everything they write to every law student and lawyer who seeks to become a highly effective and efficient Internet researcher.

As an Advanced Legal Research professor I use all the Levitt and Rosch books in my course.  However, if you want the best of all worlds I recommend you start with this new 12th edition of The Cybersleuth’s Guide To The Internet.  It includes a lot of the best sources and information from their other more detailed books.  The Cybersleuth’s Guide focuses on free and low cost resources such as the search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo, Justia and USA.gov.  There is an entire chapter on Google which is a great place to learn about Google’s advanced search features.  For example, they cover using Google to locate current news as well as using Google archives to locate historical information.  One of the best parts of this chapter is information they provide on hidden features in Google such as the glossary and using synonyms. 

Lawyers often need to use publicly available information and public records in serving their clients.  In depth coverage of how to do this research is covered in their books  Find Info Like A Pro Volume 1:Mining the Internet’s Publicly Available Resources For Investigative Research and Find Info Like A Pro Volume 2:Mining the Internet’s Public Records For Investigative Research.  But The Cybersleuth’s Guide provides extensive coverage on finding people living or dead using resources like search engines, blogs, social media and even databases from public libraries to find information about people.  If you have to use a pay investigative research database to find information like current and past addresses, cellular phone numbers, partial social security numbers and so much more use Chapter Ten on Pay investigative databases.  You’ll learn what these are, when you should use them and where they get their information.  One of the newest and most cost efficient pay investigative databases is TLO.  There is no monthly or annual fee and searches are as inexpensive as 50 cents with full reports available for $5.00. 

The book also covers using the Internet for substantive legal research including:

  • Legal portals like Justia and FindLaw
  • Government portals like USA.gov and FDsys
  • Academic and legal association portals like Cornell’s LII
  • Free online case law resources like Justia and court websites
  • Free alternatives to Shepard’s and KeyCite like Google Scholar’s cite checking service
  • Free statutory research using the House Office of the Law Revision Counsel’s U.S.C. database, Cornell’s LII and FDsys’s U.S.C. database.
  • Federal Executive Branch research like using FDsys to search the Federal Register, the e-CFR and finding Presidential materials
  • Resources for state, local, U.S. Territorial and Tribal Government research
  • Finding dockets and how they can be used for investigative research
  • Finding legal websites that are topic, jurisdictional or format specific
    • Such as areas of law like insurance, intellectual property, medical malpractice
    • Forms
    • Journals and magazines both general and legal

The index includes more than 1200 entries of sites indexed by name, type of site (e.g. Search Engine: Google) and type of information sites contain (e.g. Bankruptcy Dockets: PACER). 

Jim Robson, President of JurisPro.com wrote in the Los Angeles Lawyer magazine that “Given how easy the authors make it to use the Internet to find pertinent information on companies, people, experts, judges, government resources, substantive legal content, and more, it may be malpractice not to the use skills contained in this book”. 

I highly recommend this book and if you get a chance to attend a CLE program taught by Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch, go for it!

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