Robert Ambrogi's LawSites
fillTracking new and intriguing Web sites for the legal profession.

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Robert Ambrogi,
a lawyer
in Rockport, MA, is vice president for editorial services at Jaffe Associates and director of WritersForLawyers.

He is author of the book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web

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Friday, August 27, 2004
Today's five-star site: Mayall's IP Links
From the IP chapter:

There are two very good reasons to visit Mayall’s IP Links, from U.K. patent attorney John Mayall. The first is for its collection of IP links. It may well be the best, most thorough collection of IP links, all thoroughly annotated. It includes links to the patent databases of virtually every country in the world, to patent databases for specific technologies, to patent offices of many countries, and to non-patent prior art databases. Much the same is true for trademarks: links to trademark databases and trademark offices throughout the world. Most international IP laws covering patents, trademarks and copyrights are included, as are IP treaties and conventions. The site also includes links to databases for determining the status of a patent or trademark. There are even links to sites that can help track current IP-related lawsuits in the United Kingdom. As if these many libraries of links were not enough, a final category is for links classified as “None of the Above.”

The second reason to visit is to download and learn to use PatSee Patent Downloader. This is software—developed, as it happens, by Mayall's brother—that manages the process of downloading patents from the Internet, automating many tasks, speeding download times, and delivering high quality images. PatSee actually hunts various Web sites for the patent you want, and then, when it finds it, downloads it page by page in .pdf format. PatSee is “shareware,” meaning you can try it free, and then pay for it only if you like it.

(Excerpted from the second edition of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web.)

Thursday, August 26, 2004
Today's five-star site: KMWiki
From the chapter on knowledge management comes this:

It should come as no surprise that professionals in the field of knowledge management have a compulsive urge to share knowledge. That may explain why one of the best gateways to KM resources on the Web is the KMWiki. What, you might ask, is a wiki? It is a type of server software that allows visitors to a Web page to freely add and edit content. "Open editing," as it is sometimes called, allows people with common interests to share information and ideas easily in a single Web location. The KMWiki, while little more than a collection of links to KM resources elsewhere on the Web, stands out because, unlike other collections of links, it is the product of not one person, but of the various KM professionals who contribute to it. It is a modest-looking page that accurately calls itself a "super index."

(Excerpted from the second edition of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Today's five-star site: LawPeriscope
When I first visited LawPeriscope, a site that profiles the nation's 300 largest firms using the firms' own Web sites, I was not impressed. Heck, I thought, anyone could pull together a bunch of links to someone else's site. Then one day I found myself at one of those large firm sites, trying to navigate my way to a particular piece of information, without success. I remembered LawPeriscope, and a few clicks later, I found what I was looking for. I have used it routinely ever since.

The key is LawPeriscope's profiles – outlines of each firm that take the information on the firm's own site and organize it under a simple and uniform structure. For each firm, LawPeriscope lists offices, practice areas, attorneys, representative clients, seminars and events, publications and resources, and other features, linking directly to the full information wherever it resides on the firm's own site. The result is a well organized resource, easy to use and worth a try.

(Excerpted from the second edition of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Today's five-star site: Hieros Gamos
One of the longest-standing and most comprehensive legal portals, Hieros Gamos boasts more than 2 million links. International in scope, it is organized under a detailed index of topics and sources. The front page opens with six "centers": Law Business, Law Events & Library, Law Practice, Law Student, Legal Employment and Law Consumer. Each center contains categories of related resources, allowing you to drill down through increasingly specific subpages.

Besides the centers, HG also has general categories for U.S. law, international law, legal associations, bar associations and lifestyle. It provides quick links to directories of lawyers and law firms, experts and consultants, and court reporters. Topics suffer, if at all, from too much information, with long lists of links to international sites, country sites, state sites, commentary, cases and statutes, publications, CLE courses, and more. It even, somewhat superfluously, includes bibliographic references to non-Internet resources and publications. Hieros Gamos has long been a top destination for anyone seeking legal information on the Web.

(Excerpted from the second edition of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web.)

New feature: Five-star site of the day
I started blogging because of my book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web. After the first edition came out in 2001, I knew I'd be preparing a second edition sooner or later. I started this blog to remind myself -- and my readers -- of changed, updated and newly launched legal sites. Now, with the second edition of the book hot off the press, it seems appropriate to highlight some of the best sites from the book.

In the book, for every site I review, I evaluate it in each of five categories and then award a star for excellence in any one. The best sites, the five-star sites, excel in each of these ways:
  • Overall usefulness to legal professionals.
  • Content.
  • Design and presentation.
  • Accessibility and ease of use.
  • Innovation.
Every weekday, I will highlight one of the five-star sites from my book. I will do this in no particular order -- picking sites for whatever reason strikes me. The one unifying theme will be that they are all sites I consider to be among the best for legal professionals.