Convergence and fragmentation: legal research, legal informatics and legal education

Paul Maharg

Abstract


Fragmentation and convergence are two discoursal lenses that have been used to view changes that have taken place in the domains of legal services, the legal profession, regulation and legal education.  While they may appear orthogonal, the relationships between them are intimate, sophisticated, constantly shifting and require much more analysis.

In this paper I shall argue that law schools need to engage with both processes for they are powerful actants upon the way we perceive our schools and our roles within them.  They are also powerful forces upon what and how we teach, and the nature of the knowledge that is the focus of our heuristics.  To exemplify this argument and to begin to examine its strength as a tool for analysis I shall focus on one area of legal education, namely the three fields of legal information literacies, legal informatics and legal writing.  I shall argue that the sum of the convergence of all three would significantly improve the educational effects of the parts in our curricula.  I shall explore how studies in New Media on media convergence give us models for such convergence, and can reveal the educational effects that the process may bring about.  


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