Law, Decision-making, and Microcomputers: Cross-national Perspectives

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Stuart S. Nagel
Quorum Books, 1991 - Law - 348 pages
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The rise of microcomputers and the power that they've brought have revolutionized nearly every professional discipline, not the least of which is the field of law. This work presents a survey of microcomputers and decision-aiding software in law practices and the legal process, offering a variety of perspectives from contributors around the world. The book defines decision-making software as having the ability to aid in the processing of a set of law-related alternatives, relative criteria, or rules for determining which alternative should or will be chosen and the relationship between each alternative and criterion. These basic ideas are applied to the work of various members of the legal community, including practicing lawyers, legal policy-makers, and legal scholars.

Following a detailed introduction that provides an overview of the nature, trends, and costs/benefits of decision-making software, the book focuses on the different members of the legal community and the normative and predictive questions that microcomputers and software can help to answer. Part One deals with the practicing lawyer, who must decide whether to go to trial or settle out of court, and predicts the outcome of going to trial or the effects of alternative contract clauses. The legal policymaker, who must decide among alternative statutes and predict the effect of legal policy, is addressed in Part Two. Topics of discussion here include the role of computers in federal tax compliance and using computers to assist in sentencing. Part Three examines the legal scholar and law training, covering subjects such as the American legal computer education and using microcomputers in case-method teaching. Finally, Part Four provides analyses that cut across all three parts of the legal profession, with special concentration on legal prescription and prediction that apply to a wide variety of legal fields, countries, and purposes of the law. This volume will be of particular interest to practicing lawyers in government and private practice, law professors and students, and legal researchers and librarians. Public, academic, and law libraries will also find it to be a valuable addition to their collections.

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About the author (1991)

Stuart S. Nagel was professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was secretary-treasurer and publications coordinator of the Policy Studies Organization and coordinator of the Dirksen-Stevenson Institute and the MKM Research Center. He held a Ph.D. in political science and a J.D. in law, both from Northwestern University. His major awards include fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Social Science Council, East-West Center, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. His previous positions include being an attorney to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Legal Services Corporation. He has been a professor at the University of Arizona and Penn State University.

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