Aren’t We Exhausted Always Rooting for the Anti-Hero? Publishers, Prisons, and the Practicing Bar ArticleForthcoming
Date of Publication:
Ashley Krenelka Chase, Aren’t We Exhausted Always Rooting for the Anti-Hero? Publishers, Prisons, and the Practicing Bar, 56 Tex. Tech L. Rev. __ (2024)Clicking on the button will copy the full recommended citation.
Legal research companies are no more novel than the other platforms we use to navigate our daily lives, and they operate similarly to other information access giants like Amazon and Ticketmaster. Academics are quick to decry the cost of course materials and attorneys are quick to complain about their monthly research bills, but year after year, academics assign course materials through Lexis and Westlaw, and attorneys rely on those products to perform the research necessary to quickly move cases through the system. Similarly, there is ample information available about the problems associated with prison services monopolies and attorneys have been quick to denounce those predatory practices and the harm they place on incarcerated people. Some attorneys have gone so far as to attack some technologies that may benefit litigants as unauthorized practice of law, while also suggesting a change in entry requirements for practicing law for the benefit of indigent criminal litigants, so a law-school-to-public-defender pipeline can be created for the benefit of those individuals. But where is the outcry surrounding legal information access, access which could immediately and significantly impact the ability of incarcerated litigants to understand their cases, themselves?
This article will discuss the history of access to legal information in American prisons, and the history of legal information ownership and the myriad ways in which these ownership schemes negatively impact all Americans, but acutely impact incarcerated litigants. It describes the advocacy work of attorneys surrounding the use of technology by non-lawyers, ability to practice law and, yes, Taylor Swift tickets. The Article concludes with suggestions for how this kind of advocacy can be mobilized to fight back against predatory publishers for the benefit of all those currently in the justice system, but especially those fighting for their freedom behind bars.