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legal.online, Column No. 46, December 1998
Copyright 1998 Robert J. Ambrogi
Cache Clean-up: Recent Web Sites Reviewed
By Robert J. Ambrogi
Time to clean out the browser cache -- the assortment of recent Web sites that accumulate in my bookmarks file.
These run the gamut from research to marketing, legal to non-legal, top-notch to poor.
Current Legal Resources, http://www.currentlegal.com, is a federal research service born of impeccable pedigree. Its lawyer/editors all formerly worked for West Publishing in its Westbury, N.Y., office -- home of the U.S. Code Annotated. After West closed the Westbury facility, they decided to continue what they knew best. CLR offers a searchable U.S. Code, complete with editorial annotations. At this writing, CLR was scheduled to add the Code of Federal Regulations, which it promised to update daily. By December, it planned to have added court rules.
The one downside is price -- $550 a year for the USC, $750 a year for the CFR, or $950 a year for both. Given that both are available free on the Web, this is expensive, even considering CLR's editorial enhancements and promise of currency. As an alternative, CLR offers "CurrentDoc," by which you can order the most-recent version of any USC or CFR section for $7 per document.
Law and Politics Internet Guide, http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/5011, is a selective index of legal resources on the Web, listing only those sites that it finds to be "the most informative and current." Links are organized into general categories, such as "Legal Gateways," "Associations," and the like. Most links are annotated with descriptions of the site, although not from a critical perspective. The entire site is searchable.
ABA Administrative Procedure Database, http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/admin, is likely the most comprehensive administrative law site on the Internet. A project of Florida State University College of Law and the American Bar Association's Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, it provides links to thousands of federal and state administrative law resources. Specialized links -- such as to each state's administrative procedure act -- are organized in tables for easy reference. The site publishes selected primary materials not available elsewhere online, such as the 1941 Attorney General's Report on the Administrative Procedure Act and the 1947 Attorney General's Manual on the APA. Also at the site are the unofficial archives of the Administrative Conference of the United States.
What's happening in Congress right now? In Congress Now, http://majoritywhip.house.gov/current/now.htm, from House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, provides up-to-the-minute reports of proceedings on the floor, including live images from C-SPAN. References to particular bills include links to the full text.
From Yale Law School comes Project Diana, http://diana.law.yale.edu, an international archive of human rights law, featuring full-text litigation documents and links to reference sites throughout the Internet. Project Diana includes legal briefs, organization charters, treaty texts and bibliographies relating to a variety of human rights issues and ongoing cases. The entire collection can be searched by keyword or browsed by subject. There is an extensive collection of links to human-rights materials elsewhere online. The project is named for former Yale human rights scholar Diana Vincent-Daviss.
2B or not 2B? That is the question being bandied about by commercial and high-technology lawyers nationwide as drafters continue to hammer out a Uniform Commercial Code provision on software licensing. If you have found yourself unable to keep up with developments concerning Article 2B, The 2BGuide, http://www.2bguide.com, is a top-notch and thorough guide to the drafting process and the surrounding debate. Carol A. Kunze, a California lawyer who is participating in the meetings of the Article 2B Drafting Committee, maintains it.
lawyermarketing.com, http://www.lawyermarketing.com, is a useful collection of references to information and resources related to legal marketing. These include books, articles, video- and audiotapes, Web sites, organizations and software. It also provides directories of marketing consultants and lecturers nationwide and a calendar of CLE programs on marketing. The site includes links to online resources, as well as references to materials available only offline.
Native American law is often overlooked on the Web's many indexes of legal resources. That makes Native American and Aboriginal Law, http://www.nesl.edu/research/native.htm, from New England School of Law, a useful and needed collection. This simple, one-page index organizes links to primary materials, bibliographies, collections of resources, organizations, Indian nations and other aboriginal sites.
For consumers with questions about personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation and employment law, help is here. Prairielaw.com, http://prairielaw.com, a slick, year-old "virtual community" created by Wisconsin lawyer Kevin O'Keefe, seeks to unite consumers with "the lawyers who fight for them." It does this largely through four e-mail discussion groups and four bulletin boards, one for each of its specialty areas. Both consumers and lawyers participate. Consumers can use the site's directory to search for a lawyer in their vicinity. Lawyers pay $600 a year to be listed. Prairielaw also publishes an online "journal" of consumer-oriented articles and has a General Store selling tapes, clothing and other merchandise. While useful for consumers, the site offers little for lawyers beyond potential referrals.
Who says nothing on the 'Net is free anymore. LawCa.com, http://www.lawca.com, provides a library of legal forms, no strings attached. Many come from the California Judicial Council and are of limited use elsewhere. However, there are a complete collection of U.S. bankruptcy forms that can be used in most jurisdictions, as well as an assortment of common, general legal forms. The bankruptcy and California forms can be downloaded free only in .pdf format, which requires the free Adobe Acrobat reader. LawCa.com also sells these forms in Microsoft Word format for prices ranging from $5 for one to $199 for the complete set. The general forms are all free and in text format only.
U.S. Legal Forms, http://www.uslegalforms.com, claims to offer more than 3,000 business and litigation forms as well as a selection of state and topical forms. Most cost $10, while large documents are sold by the page. Forms are delivered by e-mail within 24 hours. Most forms were written for use in Mississippi, the site states, but can be used elsewhere "with minor modifications." A major drawback is the lack of a preview feature; you must buy the forms sight unseen.
Experts and Consultants
Last year, this column praised lawyer Dennis M. Kennedy's Estate Planning Links Web Site. Since then, Kennedy has left law practice to form a legal technology and Internet consulting firm. His new site, DennisKennedy.com, http://www.denniskennedy.com, likewise earns kudos, offering a range of practical information about technology, research, marketing and the Internet. It includes a monthly newsletter, Legal Technology Strategies; a broad collection of links to Internet resources concerning legal technology; a second set of links to Web resources dealing with law practice; and, of course, Kennedy's estate-planning links.
Forensic economics for personal-injury lawyers is the focus of Frankenfeld Associates Interactive, http://www.frankenfeld.com. It features two online calculators tools that allow lawyers to generate injury-loss reports and analyze settlement offers. It also offers a database of economic expert witnesses -- more than 600, it claims. A newsletter, "Frankenfeld Report," features news stories and guest columns. The calculators require a subscription of from $60 for one-time use to $960 for a year's unlimited access. Frankenfeld is presently offering a free, 24-hour trial of its calculators.
Except regarding temperature, "cool" is an overused adjective. But, darn it, Company Sleuth, http://www.companysleuth.com, is cool. Select up to 10 publicly traded companies, be they clients, prospects or competitors. It then scours the Internet for any news about those companies and sends you daily e-mail updates. What news does it provide? Patents, trademarks, domain registrations, SEC filings, insider trades, earnings estimates, job postings, discussion group postings, press releases, stock quotes, business news, analyst ratings and short sales. Where does it get its news? All on the Internet, from such sources as the U.S. Patent Office, the SEC's EDGAR, Yahoo and Motley Fool message boards, Usenet, and a variety of other public and commercial sites. In addition to the daily e-mails, users get a personal Web page containing their companies' information. What's all this cost? Zilch -- it is all free.
The last installment of this column, "In Search of Ethics on the Internet," erroneously stated that the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, http://www.txethics.org, contains the full text of the ABA Model Rules. It has only a chart cross-referencing those rules with the Texas rules.
The same column stated that The Utah Legal Ethics Homepage, http://home.utah-inter.net/ethics, includes the ABA's Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions. In fact, it contains Utah's revised version of those standards.
Robert J. Ambrogi (firstname.lastname@example.org), a lawyer in Rockport, Mass., is editor of the Internet newsletter legal.online, http://www.legalonline.com. Past installments of this column are archived at: http://www.legaline.com.