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lawyers.online, August 1995
Column No. 6
Treasure For Lawyers On The World Wide Web
By Robert J. Ambrogi
The Internet's lack of organization is at once a source of frustration and pleasure.
The Net harbors a world of resources, but those resources can be hard to find, scattered across a confusion of overlapping parts, each with its own quirks.
It is the search through this confusion, however, that can make the Net fun. Every time you log on, you set out on a new adventure. As you explore, you just might stumble across treasure.
If so, then the brightest jewels on the Internet are to be found on the World Wide Web. Its ease of use and eye-pleasing graphics have made it the favorite of lawyers and other businesses looking to explore or set up shop on the Internet.
The Web is an array of stepping stones spread in every direction. Each stone stands alone, but each also has jumping off spots to other related or interesting sites. Click on a link and you may find yourself clear across the pond.
Lists of Legal Links
Some of the best Web sites for lawyers are those that have attempted to do the searching for you, compiling lists of links to legal resources available on the Web. Among the best of these:
While some Web pages attempt to be broad catalogs of resources, others are more specialized in the information they offer. Among the most useful of these for lawyers are Web pages that focus on legislative and statutory information.
Here are legislative sites worth the visit:
Looking for a law firm? More and more of them can be found on the Web.
The first law firm to establish a Web page, in 1994, was Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti, http://venable.com. This page set the standard for others to follow.
If so, then one of the most recent law firm home pages may help redefine that standard. The Web site of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, http://www.brobeck.com, is a study in using the unique medium of the Internet to its full advantage. While many law-firm sites are little more than marketing brochures, this page allows clients to interact with the firm. Clients can contact an attorney, request legal research of the firm librarian, or, if they are lost, stop by the receptionist's desk.
A firm that has made the most of the Web is Arent, Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn. It now has three distinct home pages: the Advertising Law Internet Site, http://www.webcom.com/~lewrose/home.html; Telemedicine and the Law, http://www.arentfox.com/telemedicine.html; and the Arent Fox home page, http://www.arentfox.com.
Others worth a visit:
Several companies that offer products and services to lawyers have established "home pages" on the Web.
For lawyers, the most useful such page may be West Publishing's, if for no other reason than that it offers free access to West's Legal Directory, a searchable database of lawyers across the country. West's page is: http://www.westpub.com. You can go straight to the Legal Directory at: http://www.westpub.com/WLDInfo/WLD.htm.
A site to watch is that of Shepard's/McGraw-Hill, http://www.shepards.com. It promises beginning in August to offer a free, searchable database of the full text of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal appellate courts and a number of state courts.
Other law-related companies on the Web:
Searching On Your Own
As useful as other's lists of links can be, you will eventually want to wander off on your own to see what gems you can find on the Web. A good starting point is one of the search engines which attempt to organize and index the information on the Web.
Of these, probably the most popular is Yahoo, available at http://www.yahoo.com. Yahoo offers a comprehensive listing of sites on the Web organized by subject. It also offers a daily list of new sites on the Web, which may number into the hundreds; links to the most popular sites, and a "Cool Site of the Day."
The "What's New" page of NCSA Mosaic is also a good jumping off point. Three times a week, it offers a list of new Web sites, arranged alphabetically by name and accompanied by a brief description. http://www.ncsa.uiui.edu/SDG/Software/Mosaic/Docs/whats-new.html.
If you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry, you might try the Lycos Home Page, http://lycos.cs.cmu.edu. Lycos allows you to use key words to search a database containing millions of Net addresses.
The best pages for lawyers are not always law related.
E-minder is a Web site that promises to remind you of important dates. When you visit the site, you are prompted to enter information regarding the date and nature of the reminder. When the date arrives, e-minder sends you a message by e-mail. http://www.netmind.com/e-minder/e-minder.html.
The FedEx home page allows you to track your packages online, at anytime of the day, from anywhere in the world, simply by entering a tracking number. The page also permits you to download the new FedEx Ship software, which allows you to send a package simply by typing the recipient information; the software connects to a FedEx computer, which prepares the shipping label, contacts a courier, and tracks the package. http://www.fedex.com.
The Internet Newsroom http://www.dgsys.com/~editors/index.html, is aimed at members of the working press, but offers many links that lawyers will find useful as well. Caution: They are trying to sell you a subscription; skip the hype and go right for the links.
Need a break from all that legal work? Here are some diversions.
Even though it's too late to reconsider, you'll still get a chuckle reading "29 Reasons Not To Go To Law School," from Nolo Press, http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/gnn/bus/nolo/29rart.html.
How about a tropical vacation? Visit the Belize Online Tourist Guide, http://www.belize.com, or the U.S. Virgin Islands Tourist, Vacation and Business Guide, http://www.usvi.net.
Maybe you'd prefer peacefully to peruse old photos. Try Life Magazine's photo archives, http://www.pathfinder.com/@@BtGmMQAAAAAAANj6/Life/lifehome.html.
A game? There are more than 1,100 to download at the Games Domain, http://wcl-rs.bham.ac.uk/GamesDomain.
If all else fails, welcome to Scotch.Com, http://scotch.com.
Robert J. Ambrogi is a lawyer and editor of "legal.online," a monthly newsletter dedicated to guiding lawyers along the information superhighway. He can be reached by phone at (978) 546-7898 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.