Serendipity in legal information seeking behavior: Chance encounters of family-law advocates with court rulings

Yosef Solomon, Jenny Bronstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of serendipity in legal information seeking behavior of family law advocates, whom act in a challenging information environment that lacks published court rulings. Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative research using a web-based structured questionnaire, among Israeli family law advocates. Single stage systematic sampling, with random starting point and no recurring pattern of each sixth family law advocate on the Israel Bar Advocates List, was applied. Data from 135 Israeli family law advocates were used for analysis. Findings – Electronic information sources were found as most serendipitous; family law advocates were identified as super encounterers; four types of professional background concerns and seven legal professional contributions of the unexpected encounters with court rulings, were identified. Furthermore, findings support several frameworks presented on earlier information encounter literature. Research limitations/implications – Data absence on demographic and professional variables distributions of Israeli family law advocates was a limiting factor, compensated by the systematic sampling method used, thus can be regarded to reflect the views of the entire study population. Surveys’ reliance on self-reporting recalls of serendipitous events is also a limiting factor, though predicted and acceptable in this matter since chance encounters occur unexpectedly and are complex to capture. Practical implications – Chance encounters may expose lawyers to meaningful information it is unlikely they were able to find because its limited publication, and assist them keep up with current law for better serves their clients. Originality/value – The study augments the current empirically based knowledge on serendipity and provides insights into legal information chance encounters among a little-studied group of knowledge workers: family law advocates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-134
Number of pages23
JournalAslib Journal of Information Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2016


  • Information discovery
  • Information encountering
  • Information seeking
  • Legal
  • Serendipity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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