According to some, there are more than 13 billion web pages on the Internet. If you could review one per second, you’d need more than 400 years to see them all—assuming not a single new one is added during that time. Clearly, completely scouring the World Wide Web is not something we have the time to do. Fortunately, I can offer a few of the more useful web pages for your consideration. (Unfortunately, it does not even make a dent in the 400+ years you’re going to need to check out the rest.)
This site has been around since before the days of Google. This site lists all 50 states, and for each state offers a link to the various state agencies, officials, or departments. Although a Google search may largely replace the usefulness of this site, there are times when this site may be helpful, such as when you need to look for the motor vehicles bureau in several states. This site can also be useful when you aren’t sure how best to phrase a Google search or you simply want to buck the trend and stick it to The (Google) Man.
This Week in Law is a weekly broadcast featuring a discussion of the latest events in tech law. Hosted by California attorney Denise Howell and Chicago attorney Evan Brown, the show is always interesting and informative. Each week features one or more special guests. You can watch or listen to the show live (it broadcasts at 2:00 p.m. Eastern/11:00 a.m. Pacific) or download past episodes to listen at a time convenient for you.
If you want to see what events will be the subject of the current This Week in Law show, or you want to peruse the news that prompted past discussions, this is the site for you. If you have any interest in tech law, this is a terrific resource to help you keep a finger on the pulse of the issues, from copyright to patents and more. A number of the news items found here are submitted by TWiL listeners, so you have the benefit of crowd-sourcing.
What is this doing on the list, you may ask? Everyone has heard of the free online encyclopedia. I include it here for a couple of reasons. First, judges are citing to it in some written opinions, and lawyers are turning to it as a resource to help educate jurists about unfamiliar topics. Second, and perhaps more importantly, Wikipedia’s articles almost always have detailed end notes that contain superb resources (such as scientific or academic journals). If you read the Wikipedia article to get yourself up to speed and then cite to the research materials supporting a particular point, you’ll look like a lawyer with a serious research staff.
Trial lawyers are always trying to think of new things to ask during jury selection. At times, court questionnaires from other cases can offer some inspiration, and this site collects more than a few. If you ever wondered what kind of questionnaires were given to potential jurors in organized crime trials or the Michael Jackson prosecution, this site will tell you. The most insightful question: “Have you put any bumper stickers on your car, and what do they say?”
A project of the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, the Oyez Project is a multimedia archive of US Supreme Court cases. As some know, for decades all oral arguments at the Court have been tape recorded. Now, it’s possible to listen to some of the most famous cases in US history being argued to the highest court. Want to hear the arguments presented in the Affordable Care Act case? Miller v. California? They are here.
Cornell University’s law school has compiled an excellent resource of state and federal statutes, case law, and more. It has been around for a while, and has a dedicated following.
Most people know Google is a good search engine, and many have heard of Google’s email product, Gmail. But many don’t know about the various other products Google offers that lawyers can use. For example, Google Drive offers an alternative to Dropbox. Google Reader is a great way to keep up with the various websites that you frequently read—new articles appear in your Reader. You can set up Google Alerts to email you any time a particular item appears in a blog post or news article. (You do have a Google Alert set up for yourself, don’t you? It’s the best way to know if someone is bashing your reputation online.) Google’s Blogger is a simple and free blogging platform. Why should you care about a blogging platform? Check out the next site to see why.
Kevin O’Keefe writes almost daily about why lawyers should blog (and how best to do it). In a nutshell, blogging lets you build a reputation online as an (or maybe the) authority in your practice area.
Ernest Svenson offers this site as an online companion to his book of the same name. Setting up your blog is not too difficult (and Ernie walks you through it), but writing for your blog can be tricky. You need to dump the legalese and write for your nonlegal audience. What people (meaning potential clients) want from law blogs is not what you might think. Ernest has been at this a while, so he knows what pitfalls to avoid. (His experience is further proof that pioneers take the arrows, and settlers take the land. Fortunately he has managed to seize a good piece of land in the blogosphere.)