* Internet Legal Research Trends

Trends in legal research over the last year.

By Erik J. Heels

First published 8/3/1998; LegalResearcher.com; publisher: New York Law Publishing Company

It’s been one year since we launched LegalResarcher.com. And what a year it’s been for legal research on the Web!

To identify the trends in legal research over the last year, I looked at each site that we have reviewed and counted how many sites link to each of the reviewed sites. You can do this at AltaVista by entering advance queries in the following form: “link:www.legalresearcher.com AND NOT host:legalresearcher.com.” Click here to see the results.

From the data, we can make a couple of conclusions. The first is that the big keep on getting bigger and are pulling away from the crowd. There are only 10 sites with 10,000 or more other sites linking to them. These are the legal researcher’s super sites. And coming in at number 10 is the highest-ranked commercial legal site FindLaw.

There are also for-pay sites on the list such as Saegis and JuriSearch. We expect that sites will continue to offer some content for free (or free for a limited period of time) in order to draw people to the site. And then to derive their main income from subscriptions. Banner advertising is alive and well. But sites offering products for sale (i.e. commerce sites) are still few and far between in the legal market.

And pay attention to the under-linked up-and-coming sites on the list such as lawyers.com, which is sure to “climb the charts” in the coming weeks and months.

Almost lost in the shuffle of the last year are the major for-pay sites Lexis and WestLaw, both of which are available via the Web now. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that we take it from granted that these services have made our old dial-up software obsolete.

At any rate, as we enter year 2 of LegalResearcher.com, we continue to try to boldly take you where no site has taken you before. Stopping off at some familiar spots along the way but hopefully dropping on some hidden gems that you might not have discovered otherwise. We’ve put all of the links here on one page to make it easier for you to review your own bookmarks file – or to simply bookmark this one! And if you’d like to read more about any of these sites, you can do so at the site review page


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