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LawyerLinks Advantage v1.2.0

By Jennifer M. Little

May/June 2006 Table of Contents


Can a litigation paralegal find happiness with a research service built for corporate legal advisers? You bet. LawyerLinks Advantage by Lawyer Links opened its virtual doors in July 2005 with a subscription research service marketed to corporate counsel, advisers and staff as well as accounting firms and library services. Initially developed at a law firm to support a mergers and acquisitions group, LawyerLinks Advantage aims to be the alternative to Boolean search engines (think “a and b, not c” queries). And for its limited corporate and financial research niche, it succeeds admirably.

According to Eric Korb, managing partner at Lawyer Links, the service provides a “topic index” approach to research, thus eliminating the false-positive hits of typical keyword searching. “Eliminate” might be an overstatement, but it does provide a very comprehensive snapshot of information about each of the topics it presents.

What LawyerLinks Advantage does best is efficiently lead the user to source materials, which could allow an associate or paralegal to become conversant in a financial or accounting topic in short order. The program conveniently opens new browser windows when you click on a live link to get more information or view source materials. This small but important feature saves you the frustration of inadvertently closing the main program window, which can easily happen when searching through multiple levels of information. I especially like the “Client/Matter ID” feature, which allows you to change the identification at any time during your search without having to log in again.

While I have not yet abandoned my keyword search mentality for the topic approach, the index listing allows you to narrow in on exactly what you need. For hard-core Boolean addicts, LawyerLinks Advantage has a keyword search function in beta testing. And you really can — as the Web site says — use it while on the phone with a client. It’s that fast and well designed. Visually, the product is clean, streamlined and easy to navigate.

Being a relatively new product, it has some small glitches. I encountered a few Web links that no longer were online. I also wish the feature “Show All” (which expands every heading to show its subheadings) would stay selected until I tell it to “Hide All,” even if I change topics. These are minor concerns. My major concern is the pricing structure: There is no middle ground between the yearly subscription for a single user ($2,495) and the per-minute charge ($3.50, or $210 per hour).

There is such a depth of information on LawyerLinks Advantage that you would need several hours to perform substantive research on a topic, and the occasional user probably will not want to spend $600 to $800 to do it on LawyerLinks Advantage. How about selling blocks of discounted hours of access time? Psychologically, it’s easier to use what you have already invested in versus watching the minutes (and dollars) go by.

If you remember doing research in actual books and tracking down source materials, LawyerLinks Advantage is pure gold. It’s refreshing to click on an index term and find exactly what you need for an overview of the topic. For corporate counsel or corporate para­legals, instant access to financial statutes, regulations and related case law might be worth the price of admission alone.



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