Sites for Sore Eyes

Vol. 2, No. 2

William Wilson is an attorney with Anderson, Agostino & Keller, P.C. in South Bend, IN. He is a frequent speaker on the use of technology in the practice of law, and he writes a blog, The Third Apple, at http://thirdapple.com

 

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Once upon a time, I worked in technical support at a computer retailer. I recall an incident when a customer called up to complain his new computer wasn’t working. Having learned the hard way that you can waste time by overlooking the obvious, I asked him if it was plugged in. After he blessed me out for asking such an insulting question, we went through a number of trouble shooting steps. Nothing worked, so I asked him to bring it in. A little while later, he called back and apologized.

The computer hadn’t been plugged in.

In case you missed it, the moral of the story is that you should never ignore the obvious. (It’s that exact moral that makes me explain it here.)

The World Wide Web is stuffed full of websites that are useful to attorneys. Many of them may already be familiar, but in this month’s column I want to make sure we don’t ignore the most obvious ones.

Google Scholar is Google’s research search engine. You have the option of searching legal journals as well as published cases—all for free. I find myself turning to Google Scholar first more often than I thought I would. It’s fast, and it’s incredibly easy to type in a citation and pull up an opinion. Cases cited by the opinion are hyperlinked, so it’s easy to review those cases as well.

Of course, Google Scholar does not have citation checking or editorial enhancements that appear in the popular WestLaw and Lexis systems. Nevertheless, it is a very useful resource that shouldn’t be overlooked.

iPhone J.D. is the go-to site for news and information related to using an Apple iPhone or iPad in your practice. Jeff Richardson, a New Orleans attorney, updates the site several times a week to highlight news, product reviews, and more. If you own an Apple portable digital device, you must visit this site often or otherwise subscribe to it.

DroidLaw is a site dedicated to news and information for lawyers using the Android OS on their mobile devices. Like its iOS counterpart, Droid Lawyer is updated regularly.

Zabasearch is one I almost hesitate to include—not because it’s a bad site, but because it’s so good it’s almost frightening. If you need to find a person, you can use Zabasearch to input the name and state, and the website goes to work. Zabasearch will present you with a list of likely matches, showing addresses, possibly phone numbers, as well as age information. In a day and age when people value their privacy, Zabasearch can make people a little uncomfortable.

ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 is one you probably already know about. If not, you should. Like with much of the law, ethics rules governing attorneys are often lagging behind technology. This resource can help you avoid the pitfalls of online advertising and social media.

Law Technology News deals with e-discovery, case management, and a plethora of other technology that affects lawyers and lawyering. In some ways it is aimed at the big firms, but there is plenty here for solos and small firm lawyers to be aware of as well.

In the next installment of this column, we will delve a little deeper into the Web’s resources.

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