I've been looking into LaTeX for legal documents. I already use LaTeX for personal things, such as generating study outlines:
My 1L CivPro outline.
The best part about LaTeX is that it makes the structure of the documents trivially easy. I can forget about formatting, and concentrate on the content.
Of course, this is hardly WYSIWYG:
The green-and-black terminal window is what I see when I create a document in LaTeX--the finished product is shown up top.
Of course, TeX is generally a science, mathematics, & engineering thing; humanities types don't use it very much, and lawyers don't use it at all.
One problem is that we're already too wedded to our working methods. We rely on word processors to generate our documents--even though we could benefit from the more predictable behavior of a typesetting language like TeX.
Our citation style doesn't help, either. The Bluebook is needlessly complex, and its conventions are so idiosyncratic as to make it nearly impossible to use existing bibliographic styles and software to manage citations in a complex document.
That means that we're left fly-specking documents for stray commas or spaces. Not only is it annoying, I figure it's a waste of time.
Unfortunately, all the work implementing legal citation styles for TeX seems to be overseas. Jurabib was developed for German legal style--close, but not quite. biblatex doesn't quite do law. The most promising implementation, Camel, seems to have ceased development, and its lead developerhas dropped off the face of the Earth.
What I wish I had was the ability to bang out legal documents in TeX, and then specify my citations on the fly, in a way that's familiar to me as lawyer--something like LyX, with Camel support.
I suppose I shall have to make it myself, if I'm to have it--but I wish I had time to learn how to do that.
The immutable system engenders rot
- LaTeX for Lawyers--some thoughts