The Computer can manipulate information and retrieve it in ways which traditional sources of legal research cannot. Using a traditional legal research book, the attorney is tied to the indexing and abstracting which the legal editor has used. Searching for a case on Ford Pinto crashes, where does the attorney start? Are these cases indexed under "Automobiles," "Products Liability," or "Torts?" The attorney has to second guess the indexer.
Using the computer, the attorney is not tied to any indexing system. Rather than containing just digest paragraphs or abstracts, the computer database holds the full text of case decisions. By entering the word "Pinto," the user can find all documents which have an occurrence of that word. Some of these documents, though, may contain references to pinto ponies or to Joe Pinto's divorce case.
James Hambleton & David Matone,
Computers and the Law,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.tamu.edu/facscholar/11