All professions are dependent to some degree on their corpus of literature. For several reasons this dependency is especially acute for the legal profession. First, a large part of legal literature is “authoritative” in a sense different from the literature of, say, medicine or history. Legal authority is binding, backed by the coercive apparatus of the state. One is compelled to be familiar with legal authority, for, in the ancient phrase, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Second, the very principles of Western legal systems require that governmental bodies operate according to law. Courts must resolve their cases in accordance with the law. This jurisprudential theorem imposes upon lawyers and judges the duty of identifying and examining all relevant legal authority. Failure to exercise due care in carrying out this duty may render the attorney liable to a suit for malpractice.