Take a look at these sites around the net that are of interest to lawyers:
As each day passes, more and more "home-pages" appear on the Internet. There are already tens of thousands of such sites of interest and I have written about some of them in my regular columns in Trial Magazine. Here's some sites that you will hopefully find of interest.
Of course, the first site you should know about is ATLANET.
There you will find a growing body of information and important resources for ATLA members. Examples: If you want to have all of the facts about the McDonalds case so that you can talk to your local press or friends on Saturday night dates, then read all about it.
On ATLA Net you will also find a reference to the exciting, new research resources recently announced by WestGroup, called KeyCite. Just click on the KeyCite icon on ATLA's home page.
Visit WestGroup's site for more complete information on all West's products and services.
ADVANCED USE OF THE INTERNET
TLEX is a service that allows companies to get the maximum value from their outside counsel expenditures by permitting the sharing of legal work-product and other resources. Although initially focused on in-house counsel, think about additional resources for ATLA, litigation groups, and also for your own firm to provide clients and referring counsel as you read the following, taken from the T lex home page
"Creation and maintenance of comprehensive work product databases which consolidate the work done by your in house legal staff and your outside counsel. These databases can include briefs, memos, forms, pleadings, transcripts, templates, outlines -- any kind of written work product.
Easy access to the databases by you and the outside counsel you designate by way of a secure and private site on the World Wide Web.
The ability to do full text searches of the documents in the databases; The ability to search the databases by "field" (such as applicable state law, date, author, etc.), including keywords relating to legal issues and concepts.
The ability to download relevant documents directly into your firms' (or your own) word processors; Discussion areas for the exchange of ideas and information among you and your outside firms. Potential topics are unlimited and can include things such as legal and factual issues that arise in your representation, litigation strategy, referrals for experts, insights into common witnesses or opposing counsel -- anything at all; Group calendaring.
The ability to distribute documents both for informational purposes and in a form suitable for attaching to court filings. Recent or unreported decisions, experts' reports, medical or scientific literature, trial exhibits, key internal or discovery documents, transcripts, policies and procedures and more can be made readily available to your staff and your outside counsel.
Technical, medical and scientific libraries can be shared and searched;
Witness databases for fact and expert witnesses with links to transcripts, reports and related documents.
The ability to restrict access to portions of the site to specific firms or individuals so that you can create a forum for case or transaction specific material that you may not want to make generally available.
CLASS ACTION NOTICES
High-tech cases handled by high-tech lawyers should use high-tech methods of giving notice in class actions. To take a look at how it can be done, visit: http://www.notice.com/. Not only does this site serve as a vehicle for giving such notices, but they are also posting information on a variety of topics, such as product recalls. You can see such information at their site at: http://www.notice.com/recalls.html.
You can also access information directly from the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Go to the following site for more information. http://www.cpsc.gov/
THE IRS ON-LINE
The Internal Revenue Service is online too and you will be surprised at the "happy", friendly and enticing home-page that the IRS has provided us. A very helpful resource is access to IRS forms that you can download in various formats. From an information standpoint, you can learn all about the new Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 at their site at: http://www.irs.gov/hot/tax-law.html
A very interesting site is PhotoNet. This resource describes their services as follows: "PhotoNet, a more convenient, more powerful way to order, store, view, and enhance your photo memories through the convenience of your local photo retailer and the power of the Internet.
To use the services, just drop off your film at your participating PhotoNet Retailer in your area; Check the PhotoNet box on the film envelope; When you pick up your pictures, you will receive a film id (or access code) and instructions to view your photos online; Once online your PhotoNet Online PhotoCenter, enter your name and film id. Click the View Film button to see your photos;
Your photos will remain online for 30 days. During this time, you can do any of the following: Share your photos by sending the film ID or simply email the images to them for free. Download any or all images to your computer. Use your image in web pages, print low resolution photos, or edit using your favorite image editing software. Downloading images is free. Order reprints and enlargements of your photos. Have them mailed to you or anyone else you want or send to your favorite store for pick up. All billing information is collected through a secure transaction with a Netscape server. Order personalized gift items from your photos, such as mugs, tee-shirts, mouse pads, and other items.
"Do you see any interesting possibilities here for trial attorneys?
SEARCHING FOR CASE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Finding the "right" case management software for your firm continues to be a daunting task; however, most of the most popular and well known vendors of such software are online. Their Internet sites provide very valuable information about their products, services, pricing, support and in many cases, even demo versions of the products that you can download. Through such easy access to such additional information, choosing the right program for you and your firm should become much easier and far less expensive then hiring a consultant to read the same information for you.
Here are some, but clearly, not all of such vendors, the names of their products in most cases being a part of their Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
THINKING OF HAVING A WWW SITE?
If you are thinking about having your own home page on the Internet, then you need to know about the ethical requirement of your state and all other states. Some states now require registration and some requiring filings of one kind or another. For information on this topic you can go to the following site for both overall information and complete, state-by-state information: LegalEthics.Com
AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION
Most trial lawyers don't care much for arbitration, but arbitration is very often a very efficient, cost-effective and swift method of resolving disputes. (I should know as I have been an active arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association for many years). To learn more about the AAA and their excellent services and regional offices, go to: http://www.adr.org/
If you do a search on "Ralph Nader" on the Internet, you'll come up with lots and lots of references to speeches, book reviews and other information about Ralph. If you want to find out more about Ralph's efforts and ongoing activities, then take a look at: http://www.essential.org/EI.html
TRIAL LAWYERS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE
Lawyers do what they do because they like to help people. Sometimes, it takes an organization to assist in providing some of the services we are very good at providing. You can access Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TLPJ) from the ATLA Net home page or go there directly at: http://www.tlpj.org/ As noted on their Internet site: "TLPJ is a national public interest law firm that marshals the skills and resources of trial lawyers to create a more just society. TLPJ uses creative litigation to protect people and the environment, hold accountable those who abuse power, challenge and remedy wrongdoing, guard access to the courts, combat threats to our judicial system, and inspire lawyers to serve the public interest.
MY FAVORITE SEARCH ENGINE
How come I'm so smart and find all these super World Wide Web (WWW) sites on the Internet? There are many very good search engines for the finding of huge amounts of information very quickly, but for a long time my favorite is AltaVista, provided by Digital Equipment Corp.
Hopefully, you're already on the Internet and you now know of some new sites that will be of value to you. If you are not yet on the Internet, then I hope these references have gotten your attention and will inspire you to do that we all have to do, and that's get online.
See you in the wires or in the conferences on ATLA Net.