Monday, May 26, 2008

Lawyers Open Their File Cabinets for a Web Resource - New York Times

Lawyers Open Their File Cabinets for a Web Resource - New York Times, April 27, 2008:, a new site, is stocking a free, virtual law library by persuading lawyers to do something highly unusual: to post examples of their legal work online for use by one and all, no strings attached. Many of the documents are articles and newsletters that can be understood by ordinary mortals who want more background on a legal issue, or who would like to find lawyers with expertise in a particular area.
The site is free, but you have to register to view documents.

The top contributor is the Electronic Freedom Foundation, with over 700 documents: pleadings, memoranda, motions, and appellate briefs. The next highest contributor is Morrison Foerster, a large San Francisco law firm. Seattle firm Lane Powell is one of the top 10 contributors. The top 10 contributors also include a couple of solo practitioners, including Aviva Cuyler, who founded the site. That's one thing that's interesting about the site -- a nonprofit, a huge law firm, and a solo practitioner all can have the same exposure.

I played around with searches and found a wide variety of documents and topics -- a newsletter article about collaborative divorce, a PowerPoint presentation about wikis in law firms, briefs in the Supreme Court case Quanta v. LG, some model forms. But it's clear that the collection of documents is still being developed. For instance, when I checked the box for Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning and searched for the word "will," I got only a document labeled "criminal intake form" that was a sample letter telling a client about retitling assets into trusts -- bviously, not all there is to say about wills!

This will be an interesting project to watch.

Thanks: Pamela Gregory.

No comments: