Around the World in 80 Minutes
A Tour of some interesting WWW sites for Lawyers
1. The Rules
As you work through this tour, you will be offered a number of selected links to interesting places. A brief description of each site is given before the link is offered. Read the description before taking the link!
After each excursion, use the "Back" button to retrace your steps to this page.
2. The UK
We'll start our tour with the Daily Telegraph. This is not a legal site as such but it is a good example of how the WWW can be made really useful and interesting.
The site is free but you have to register. This is a device adopted by quite a few journals and newspapers currently testing the water for how they could make their sites pay in the longer term. They want to know who their "readers" are and as much information about these readers as possible.
So, when you take the link (a few lines below) fill in your details and obey instructions. You will be given a user name and a password, both of which you will have to remember for future occasions. For any such user names and passwords which are not a risk to yourself or your finances, I suggest that you write them down in a designated section in your diary.
When you get into the site, you will be shown a front page with a short version of today's lead stories. If you select one of these, you will be presented with the full text of the story. Notice that there will be a number of possible other links in the story, each of which would take you into a related news item. These links could be for items from past issues - a benefit of the WWW edition which cannot be matched by the printed version. At the left, you will probably also see a number of external links which can also be of interest. There are also buttons available for world news, home news, features etc.
Here is the link...The Daily Telegraph.
Now we will look at the Law Society's pages. The pages so far cover various technology subjects and also contain the register of Lawyers for your Business. Have a little look around.... The Law Society's Pages.
The Internet arm of Legalease, the legal publishers, provide a listing of the "UK Legal 500" as well as major European Law Firms. They also provide legal commentaries on current topics of Commercial Law. The on-line communications serivce, LINK, is also part of Legalease and will be coming on-line here soon. Here is the link.... The Centre for Commercial Law.
Information for Lawyers Ltd is a publishing and software company run by Nick Holmes. The site offers a comprehensive set of legal links, grouped together in a logical way. A selection process has already been quietly effected, so that "useless" sites (however good they sound) are not generally there at all. Here is the link.... Information for Lawyers Ltd.
The Society for Computers and Law is starting to set up a major resource of information about technology topics, as well as about the society itself. Expect major developments here over the next few months.... The Society for Computers and Law.
A major reference list and data base of Government publications and sites, has been set up by the University of Southampton. You cannot get the full text of government publications here (which are covered by copyright) but you can at least find out what is available and how to get it..... The New UK Official Publications Online (NUKOP).
Next come two journals - the University of Newcastle's "Web Journal of Current Legal Issues" and the Universities of Warwick and Strathclyde's Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). Both contain much of interest. Here they are....
University of Newcastle's Web Journal of Current Legal Issues and...
Universities of Warwick and Strathclyde's Journal of Information, Law and Technology.
New Law Online is a new service offering very rapid reports (same day) of Court judgments with digests and research facilities. This is not a free service and you need to register and subscribe although I hope that the company will offer a free "sample" session before too long (access it and see if there is one yet)....New Law Online.
Time is pressing..... choose just one UK excursion from the following possibilities before moving on to the USA section below!
- A list of Firms of Solicitors - which I maintain on my own site and which should always have the latest information.
- A list of Barristers and Chambers - which I maintain on my own site and which, again, should always be up to date.
- The Penal Lexicon - comprehensive information on prisons and prison policy.
- Business Monitor - reports on business, financial, economic and legal topics. You have to register for this service but it is free.
- Charity Commissioners - The beginnings of a useful site, although it is not yet possible to search for a type of charity.
- Extensive information on Legal Aid - who can apply, income limits and how to get it (presumably aimed at the general public - but an interesting use of the internet for the dissemination of information).
For the very latest sites of interest, you could also have a look at my New Legal Sites.
3. Tour of the USA
The USA is a long way ahead of us in the provision of legal materials on the Internet. They did, after all, create the Internet in the first place. We'll look at one Government site, one University site, a commercial directory of lawyers, the site for The Internet Lawyer, one commercial "collection" and one site which gives awards to the best pages created by USA Law Firms.
But first, we will look at the American Bar Association site. Here you will find information about the ABA itself, including its own divisions, forums, groups and events. There are references to other government, academic and commercial resources and a generally innovative and interesting approach. Here it is..... American Bar Association.
Let's go next to the U.S. House of Representatives Home Page.This provides access to Federal and State Law in a searchable (although still experimental) form with various disclaimers in place. At least there are no copyright problems here. There is also information about bills and resolutions currently being considered in Congress, contact details for Members and Committees and links to other Government sites and sources. Here is the site... U.S. House of Representatives Home Page
For a University site we will look at the Indiana School of Law which contains a comprehensive listing of legal sites and sources in the USA. There is also a list of material organised by legal topic (Constitutional Law, Copyright and so on) and also by type or source (Treaty, Legislation...). It also contains a list of Law Schools & Libraries and a list of Law Firms on the WWW, although mainly USA based of course. Here it is..... Indiana School of Law under the name of the "Virtual Law Library".
West's Legal Directory is the principal internet directory of Law Firms and Lawyers of the USA and Canada. Basic information is there of all (most?) firms and lawyers, without charge to them, and more comprehensive information is included for firms who pay a fee. The data base can be searched by name, by state and by areas of practice and it seems to work very efficiently.... West's Legal Directory.
The Internet Lawyer is a monthly newsletter focusing on the practical use of the Internet by the legal industry in the USA. In addition to the printed newsletter (which has to be paid for) these pages provide a set of articles on legal topics, a "Dr Internet" advice column and a set of links to other legal resources. The Internet Lawyer has also been chosen by Microsoft to carry out the survey of legal use of the Internet..... The Internet Lawyer.
The next site of special interest is called Counsel Connect, apparently the largest online communication network for lawyers, with more than 35,000 subscribers. It appears to be the USA equivalent of our own dear LINK service! The service offers online discussion groups and seminars in more than 200 areas of law, personalized daily news reports and libraries of legal briefs and memos. It is a very attractive and impressive site. A register of lawyers is maintained with a searching facility. Within the site the "Searchlight" section gives current news items. Here is.... Counsel Connect Web.
A company called Web Counsel have implemented a series of awards to the best sites of legal firms - large, medium and small - with direct links to the firms' sites in question. This site is called the Webbernaut Awards Page.
Now we leave the USA and continue our tour westwards.....
4. Asia and The Pacific
An information source based in Hong Kong is called Law-On-Line and covers Asian data bases and newspapers, including Japanese and Chinese sources.... Law-On-Line.
All the legal bodies in Australia have co-operated in an ambitious national project called "Foundation Law". The full text of Federal and State law is presented as well as bills, digests, law reports and weekly Hansard. Various Australian Legal directories (led by those of New South Wales) are also available. Here it is... Australian Legal Resources.
Now back to Europe...
5. Continental Europe
An International Law Page has been created by a law student at Groningen University, Holland, called Roel Hans Bethlehem. This page includes links to International organisations, particularly European ones, and links to International Law Journals and also Universities involved in International Law.... International Law Page.
The European Union's history, aims and institutions are all covered on a site called EUROPA and there are links to EU publications, statistics and on-line services.
Information on the European Commission includes work programmes, speeches of key figures and access to Commission documents.
The full text of the Bangemann Report covers the European Commission's response to the threats and opportunities of the "Global Information Society".
A project of the European Commission, called Information Market Europe (or I'm Europe for short) covers European electronic information services and markets, and includes information specifically for Libraries.
The University of Edinburgh, Faculty of Law, maintains the Europa Library Home Page which includes links to a number of developing European sites.
Tired? But certainly not, I hope bored....your tour is over.
More sites and sights can be found on Legal Resources Pages.
Date of publication: 30 September 1996
Citation: Venables D (1996), 'Around the World in 80 Minutes', Web Review, 1996 (3) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/elj/jilt/sw/3venable/>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/1996_3/venables/>