35+ Vital Sites
Seven experts offer up their
most valuable Web resources.
Nov/Dec ’02 Issue
Legal experts in key specialty areas of
law were asked to provide their top Web site picks that are of
assistance in each practice area. Each site offers unique insight in the
areas of family law, litigation, personal injury, estate planning, real
estate, business and corporate practice and intellectual property. So
get ready to bookmark these valuable sites.
By John Brewer
Family law Web sites range from sites
that feature venue-specific information to nationwide resources useful
to all legal professionals.
1. Oklahoma State Courts
Every state should have free resources that are available for its legal
professionals. The Oklahoma State Courts Network has the complete
published Oklahoma case law database and statutes online. Both are
annotated and conform to a public domain citation system. Real-time
court dockets are available for a number of counties, and online images
will be available in the future.
Public Legal Research System
Unpublished appellate cases are available from the Oklahoma Public Legal
Research System at this site. Oklahoma lawyers and legal researchers are
blessed with this and the Oklahoma State Courts Network Web sites.
Loudenback on the Web
Doug Loudenback is a wise, wily Oklahoma family law practitioner and a
good guy with a cowboy heritage. His Web site is loaded with accurate
guidance that is specific to Oklahoma matters. His macros for Corel
WordPerfect in the field of family law are revered by practitioners in
4. Divorce Net
In my humble opinion, this is the best nationwide family-law specific
Web site. The information on this Web site boasts a high level of
accuracy and is a resource that permits attorneys and other legal
professionals to easily drill into resources for local venues. Whenever
there is an out-of-state matter, it’s prudent to visit this site first.
5. American Academy of
This is a great site to find well-written articles that address both
fundamental and esoteric family law issues. The authors are competent
family-law practitioners. I recently found an excellent article here
relating to cyberspace issues and domestic matters.
This is arguably the best overall free legal Web site. Free case law and
an abundance of other materials reside on this site. The database of
Internet Web links for practice areas is superb. The Family and Domestic
Law portal is two thumbs up in my opinion.
By Jeffrey Allen
In addition to the normal legal sites
for statutory and case law, the following sites have information that
real estate legal assistants might find useful in the course of their
For a fee, this site will provide you with a property profile that
includes information about sales of comparable properties, local schools
and businesses, demographics and area maps, Property History Report and
California Department of Real Estate
In California, the Department of Real Estate maintains an extremely
useful Web site. On this site, you can verify whether individuals or
companies have active real estate licenses, obtain the license numbers
and find out certain disciplinary information. The department makes
copies of its regulations available on the site as well. Other states
likely have similar sites.
This site provides links to many valuable resources, including the
National Association of Realtors and state real estate associations. The
site and the available links provide a variety of contacts and
information about real estate, real estate practice, financing, market
conditions and potential sources for expert witnesses.
4. The Building Owners
and Managers Association (BOMA)
BOMA and its related organizations provide research, education and
advocacy on real estate topics and related legislation. The site
provides a good source of information on the industry’s perspective on
real estate issues. The organization is perhaps best known for its
measurement standards for property. Those standards are often employed
in commercial leases and are available at the site.
5. The American Land Title
This site has information about title insurance, title policy
guidelines, basic policy terms and available endorsements. Additionally,
some states or regions have their own land title associations. These
states might have separate sites. The California Land Title Association
(CLTA) site www.clta.org
for example, contains information about CLTA title policy terms,
available endorsements, title practices and forms, as well as
information about pending legislation and other related matters.
The American Institute of
This comprehensive Web site provides copies of AIA contract documents,
information about ethical considerations for architects, and potential
assistance in locating expert witnesses. For firms dealing with any type
of construction defect litigation, this is definitely a must-see Web
By Denise P. Ward
Revenue Service (IRS)
Any list of resources regarding estate and tax planning would be
incomplete without reference to the origin of the species — the IRS
site. The site provides a tax professionals page and search engine for
forms and publications. It also provides downloadable forms and
instructions in Portable Document Format (PDF), as well as fill-in
forms. Publication 78 is available as a searchable database to determine
the status of exempt and charitable organizations.
Estate Planning Links
This is a comprehensive group of links to estate planning resources,
advanced estate planning, practice and technology, estate planning
calculations and calculators, forms, insurance articles, periodicals,
elder law and many other Web sites. This comprehensive Web resource is
an excellent starting point for your research.
3. ABA Real
Property, Probate and Trust Law
This site, available only to American Bar Association members, is the
home page of the “Real Property, Probate and Trust” section. It provides
access to the Section’s Probate & Property magazine and the substantive
Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal, with search engines dating
back to 1995. It also provides links to listservs and other estate
4. New York State Bar
With access restricted only to New York State Bar Association members,
the “Trust and Estates Law” section is rather comprehensive for a local
bar association site. Lois LawWatch provides summaries of pertinent
recent decisions affecting section members. Section members can access
and search the archived newsletters and join listservs. This Web site
provides a thorough list of links to substantive sites specializing in
this area. It also provides links to savings bond tools and valuators
sites that are extremely valuable.
5. Cowles Legal
This site is available to subscribers of the Cowles Legal Systems. This
site provides articles intended to train legal professionals in this
specialized area of the law. The tax planning section, for example,
contains articles on options for funding marital deductions and
nonmarital shares, which assets are subject to federal estate tax,
drafting considerations, pecuniary valuation formulas and disclaimers.
Intended to integrate with the Cowles Practice Management concepts, this
site is an integral part of the Cowles System.
and Accounting Sites Directory
This site links to many articles and IRS publications, including
estate-planning magazine articles for the layman, legal professional and
Bureau of Public Debt Online
You can obtain the Savings Bond Wizard at this site, which helps manage
savings bonds in an estate or estate planning practice. You also can
obtain current and future valuations for various types of U.S. Savings
By Bruce A. Olson
This is where I start any Internet search. It’s the most comprehensive
search engine, and the search results invariably give me good links to
further resources that are helpful.
2. Craig D. Ball
Craig Ball is a trial lawyer from Texas who is known throughout the
country for his cyber sleuthing presentations. He maintains a
comprehensive set of links on his Web site to many helpful resources.
When you need to get the dirt on someone, start here. Kudos to Ball on
this great service to the legal profession.
3. Law Library Resource
This Web site describes itself as “a unique, free Web journal dedicated
to providing legal … professionals with the most up-to-date
information on a wide range of Internet research and technology-related
issues. …” This Web site is an outstanding resource for finding more
advanced, legal-specific information on the Net.
4. Association of Trial
Lawyers of America (ATLA)
This site offers great resources to its members. The links to ATLA
Exchange, its online searchable database of materials and the discussion
forums are particularly helpful.
When I am not really sure what Web site I should go to for an answer to
a particular legal question, I begin my search with FindLaw and surf
through the entire Web site until I find the links that take me to the
answers I need to find. It’s the Yahoo! of the legal world, and I
approach it the same way I do Yahoo!.
By Jonathan Franklin
I am a big proponent of cheap or free, and VersusLaw offers a service
that comes within that classification. VersusLaw offers no frills legal
research for every jurisdiction. The library of material is fairly
comprehensive. VersusLaw helps me as a national coordinating counsel to
keep abreast of developments outside my primary jurisdiction at a
U.S. Consumer Product
and National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration
A large portion of my work involves product liability related matters.
These sites keep me up-to-date on product recalls and related liability
Law.com offers a well-balanced serving of information, news and
resources for the legal profession. This site helps me stay up-to-date
on legal-related matters, and sometimes helps me to think outside the
4. American Medical
The AMA site provides relevant information on medical matters. I use
this site to locate a doctor’s address and find out whether the doctor
in question is a member, which can be important in evaluating a
particular physician. I also rely on it for generalized research on
By Thomas A. Aldrich
1. U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC)
This site is essential for any firm that represents public companies. A
recent reorganization of the site makes it much easier to navigate than
it used to be, and SEC filings of public companies in the EDGAR system
now can be accessed on the same day for free.
This relatively new site is a clearinghouse for a wide variety of
business and legal information for all branches of the federal
government. It provides links to just about every federal agency a
paralegal or attorney might need.
3. The Library of
This Library of Congress site is most likely the best source for
information on the status of bills pending in Congress and other
Congressional information. This is a great source for immediate access
to copies of pending or enacted legislation.
4. My Yahoo!
There are a lot of portal sites on the Web that let you personalize your
start page, but I think My Yahoo! is the most comprehensive such site in
terms of available content, and it’s one of the easiest to use. In one
place, I can track press releases, stock prices, wire service stories
and SEC filings for all of my public company clients. I also can collect
stories on specific industries I might be following, as well as national
and international business news.
New York Times Dealbook
This daily HTML-based e-mail newsletter links to an extremely broad
variety of news resources (far beyond just that of The New York Times)
with articles pertaining to issues such as mergers and acquisitions,
finance, business law and other timely information for the conscientious
business law practitioner. This site is also a great way to keep
up-to-date on late breaking business news and legal trends from the
comfort of your law office desktop or laptop computer. Visit this site
and check “DealBook” to subscribe. It will unlock a world of valuable
information for you.
Bowne Financial Print
This Web site provides online access to the SEC’s statutes and
regulations from Bowne Financial Print. It’s also a great Internet tool
for most true road warriors in need of access to reliable legal
information to answer business-related questions on the fly.
Donnelley Financial & Sons
Sponsored by RR Donnelley, the well-known printer, this Web site
collects a great variety of information useful to corporate and
securities lawyers, and other legal professionals, organized by subject
matter. Many major law firms (including mine) post their memos about new
securities law developments, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, on
this Web site for the benefit of other legal professionals.
By Paul D. Pollard
In the 21st century, intellectual
property will play an even more important role in the lives of average
people around the world. Works of the mind such as inventions, designs,
trademarks, books, music and films, are now used and enjoyed on every
continent. With the remarkable rise in Internet use, especially for
commerce and information exchange, the intellectual property system is
crucial for the organized development of a digital society. In turn, the
Internet poses many opportunities and complex challenges for the
intellectual property community. The following are my top choices of
information and knowledge exchange Web sites in the field of
1. U.S. Patent &
Trademark Office (USPTO)
For more than 200 years, the basic role of the USPTO has remained the
same: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing
(for limited times to inventors) the exclusive right to their respective
discoveries (Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution). Under this
system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products
have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered and employment
opportunities created for literally millions of Americans. The USPTO Web
site is chock-full of data on every single U.S. patent and trademark
established since the American Revolution. The information is accurate
and, best of all, free. The USPTO recently completed an upgrade to its
Web site, making it much more user-friendly.
2. U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Federal Circuit
This official government Web site is for the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Federal Circuit, which has specific jurisdiction over the U.S. Court
of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate jurisdiction of the U.S.
Court of Claims. As the court responsible for all patent appeals, its
recent precedent opinions are available on the Web site. There are also
links to older opinions, the history of the court and other information
on patents. Any attorney or legal assistant facing a potential appeal
case involving patents will find the information provided on this
court’s Web site invaluable. Although the Web site is somewhat difficult
to navigate, the data available there is worth the effort.
3. World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO)
This is the official Web site for the WIPO, which is a United Nations
agency based in Geneva. WIPO is made up of more than 175 nations,
including the United States, and administers more than 20 international
treaties covering patents. The most successful and widely used of these
treaties is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which implements the
concept of a single international patent application and has legal
impact in the countries that are bound by the treaty and designated by
the applicant. WIPO’s free PCT database is available on this Web site
and is the primary reason I recommend it. The database currently
contains data relating to applications published since January 1, 1997.
WIPO’s Web site is difficult to maneuver but continues to be an
exceptional data source for PCT’s and foreign patents.
Generally, I avoid fee-for-service Web sites, but Delphion is an
exception. With Delphion, you can search all the world’s top patent
collections, including those of the United States, Europe, Japan, WIPO
and the International Patent Application Document Database in a single
search. Delphion also gives you access to important nonpatent prior art
collections, including IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletins (TDBs), the
abstracts of ISI scientific journal articles and the IP.com Disclosures
and Alternates databases. Delphion’s Gallery of Obscure Patents has
always been a favorite of mine. Although the gallery is free, Delphion’s
premium search services require a subscription to the site. The fees
charged by Delphion are reasonable, given the vast amount of data
available to the user. Delphion is also one of the most user-friendly
Web sites I frequent.
5. NEC Research
Institute ResearchIndex (formerly known as “CiteSeer”)
This is an often-overlooked Web site that is full of scientific
literature and intellectual property articles. ResearchIndex identifies
itself as a “digital library” because of its philosophy that information
on the Internet should be available to the public at large for free. As
the Internet has revolutionized the way people access information, it
has opened up new possibilities for concepts such as digital libraries
and information dissemination and retrieval. I have found that
ResearchIndex is an excellent, free source of prior art related to
John Brewer is a solo
practitioner in Oklahoma City. His practice includes business, tax and
technology issues as well as challenging family law matters. He is a
former chairman of the Law Office Management and Technology section of
the Oklahoma Bar Association. His e-mail address is
Jeffrey Allen handles real
estate, business transactions and litigation matters and regularly
speaks at continuing legal education programs. An active member of the
ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section, he serves as the
technology issues editor and writes for GP Solo and Small Firm Lawyer
Denise P. Ward, of Grean &
Ward is an attorney based in Port Chester, N.Y.
Bruce A. Olson is a trial
lawyer and shareholder in the Wisconsin-based law firm of Davis &
Jonathan Franklin is an
attorney based in Miami. He can be reached at
Thomas A. Aldrich is a
partner and the leader of Thompson Hine’s Corporate Transactions &
Securities practice group. He focuses his practice on domestic and
international mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, securities law
compliance and reporting, corporate governance, public offerings and
Paul D. Pollard is the
director of litigation support for Fish & Richardson in San Diego.