A review of the Internet’s best legal periodicals.
By Erik J. Heels
First published 12/2/1996; Martindale.com “Legal Links”; publisher: Martindale-Hubbell
Good Web sites contain three essential elements: content (articles, features, helpful hints that make people come back for more), presentation (integrating graphics and page-layout techniques into your design), and experience (weaving it all together in a useful and pleasing manner). The most obvious of these – content – is also the most elusive. A review of the Web-ified legal periodicals shows that the most popular legal periodical site, Law Journal EXTRA! (LJX), is also the one with the most content online. This month, my new favorite search engine is the now-released Ultra version of InfoSeek, which shows that 2138 other Web sites link to the LJX site. So after I’ve chosen my favorites, I rank them according to InfoSeek. One part art, one part science. Enjoy, and see you on the Net!
1. Law Journal EXTRA!. Originally a proprietary online service, Law Journal EXTRA! (LJX) was the first online service to switch to an Internet-based delivery system. The Microsoft Network and Prodigy have also recently made similar switches. And America Online, CompuServe, and Counsel Connect are planning to make the same change. LJX is also a leader in online content, seamlessly integrating content from its parent The New York Law Publishing Company: The National Law Journal, The New York Law Journal, and Law Technology Product News. “Extra, extra, read all about it,” shouted the newsboy, standing on the corner, selling the latest news hot off the press. On LJX, the “X” stands for “EXTRA!” and they’ve got plenty to shout about. Updated daily, of course. (http://www.ljx.com/indexhigh.html)
2. Cal Law. Cal Law is a publication of The Recorder, an American Lawyer Media periodical. Much of the interesting content is available to subscribers only, but there is still some interesting information in the “Free Services” area. Briefing papers written by major California firms, classified ads, and the “IPO Watch” section are all available free of charge. Also updated daily. (http://www.callaw.com/)
3. ABA’s Law Practice Management Magazine. Although it may not be obvious from the section’s name, many lawyers interested in all things Internet hang out in the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section – and read Law Practice Management magazine. One of the first legal publications with a Web presence, the popularity of this site is a tribute to Burgess Allison’s “Technology Update” column, which accounts for the bulk of the content of this site. More content is being added all the time, which is a good thing, including
4. The Internet Lawyer. Would you buy a car without test-driving it? Probably not. With that in mind, the publishers of “The Internet Lawyer” newsletter recently added the bulk of their newsletter to their companion Web site. The site’s increasing popularity is a sign of the times. Lawyers need good sites to help them weed through the Internet, and this is one of those sites. (http://www.internetlawyer.com/)
5. Lawyers Weekly Publications. Lawyers Weekly Publications (whose periodicals include Lawyers Weekly USA and regional publication such as Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly) entered the world of Web-based publishing later than most on this list, but it was definitely worth the wait. Court opinions, legislative information, featured articles from their print publications. It’s all here. And the site’s organization makes it very easy to navigate. (http://www.LWeekly.com/)
6. PaLaw Online. This site is run by Legal Communications, publishers of The Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania Law Weekly, and legal.online. The newsletter legal.online, the first legal Internet newsletter, gets a bit lost in the structure of this site, which is too bad, since legal.online is an excellent newsletter. The content is here, but the presentation across publications is inconsistent. (http://www.legalcom.com/)
7. ABA’s Business Law Today Magazine. Another very popular magazine with not much on its Web site. In fact, at this writing, there appears to be only one substantive article on this site. The good news is that the Web site appeared early, and therefore more people have had time to find it and link to it. (http://www.abanet.org/buslaw/buslawtoday.html)
8. ABA Journal. The nation’s most popular legal periodical. Contains a few sample articles and some rather large graphics. The ABA Journal is sent to ABA members as a member benefit. It would be nice for prospective members to be able to see at least one entire issue (not necessarily every issue) online to see what the magazine is like. (http://www.abanet.org/journal/)
9. ABA Law Practice Management Section’s Network 2d Newsletter. Actually from the Computer and Technology Division Interest Group of the ABA LPMS, but that title was getting kind of long. Lots of good stuff here. A higher level URL (one without the “#net” in it) would make this site easier to find. (Try using InfoSeek to find out how many sites link to that URL, and you’ll see what I mean.) Also has its own listserv list NETWORK2D-L@austin.onu.edu (subscribe via firstname.lastname@example.org), which is the oldest and one of the largest listserv lists for lawyers. (http://www.abanet.org/lpm/newsletters/home.html#net)
10. Law Bulletin Publishing Company. The Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s main publication is The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. A recent arrival to the Net, the site’s first content is classified advertising and verdicts from selected cases. (http://www.lawbulletin.com/)