Social scientists have discovered that “who you know” has much to do with “what you know.” According to research cited in MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 50, Winter 2009 at 36, “engineers and scientists looking for information were roughly five times more likely to turn to friends or colleagues than to electronic and paper-based repositories.” Unfortunately, that research was published in 1977 so it may be that huge advances in search software and capabilities have narrowed the edge of people. On the other hand, with information overload from the Web and databases, the power of an experienced brain may now be even more at a premium.
I doubt it, however, because nothing in silicon beats a human brain for sorting through facts and providing on-point information quickly. Lawyers may be even more likely than engineers and scientists to favor personal conversation than online queries.