LAWYERS AND THE INTERNET: BACK IN TIME

A 1996 Tour of some interesting WWW sites for Lawyers

In 1996 Delia Venables wrote an internet tour for lawyers (‘Around the World in 80 Minutes‘, Web Review, 1996 (3) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology; click here). She referred to the website of the Daily Telegraph as a good example of how the WWW could be made really useful and interesting. She mentioned that the USA was already a long way ahead of Europe in the provision of legal materials on the Internet. She also mentioned the International Law Page created by a law student at Groningen University, Holland, called Roel Hans Bethlehem (which is no longer active).

Earlier in 1996 the article ‘Looking for anything legal’ was published (Times Higher Education, 15 July 1996; click here):

Delia Venables trawls the Internet to uncover the most useful resources for Web-phobic lawyers. Lawyers in the United Kingdom have been rather slow to get involved with the Internet. This may be partly because there have been, for some time, a number of well established online services for lawyers which are properly structured, reliable, well behaved and quotable – all good characteristics from the lawyer’s point of view. (…) These well-behaved sources include Lexis, the largest international legal data base in the world, and various UK based services such as Lawtel, LINK, Lix and Context. In comparison to these structured databases, the Internet is vast, disorganised, unreliable and likely to throw a tantrum if not approached in the proper manner. It is perhaps not surprising that lawyers have been slow to adopt this medium. Another reason why the Internet has not taken off with the legal communities that all UK statutory materials, including all draft bills, information on legislation in process, and Hansard, are controlled by HMSO copyright. With a few exceptions, this material is not available on the Internet.

Delia Venables (still) consults and writes on IT and internet topics relating to legal applications. Her website (click here) was one of the first legal resources to arrive on the UK legal web in 1996 and it is still going strong. Her website provides information – separately – for several different types of viewer: lawyers, individuals with a legal problem, companies with legal questions to resolve, and students studying the law. Finally, Delia has a page which covers Social Networking systems, including blogs, RSS, podcasts, wikis and doubtless others yet to be introduced (click here).

Karel Frielink
Attorney (Lawyer) / Partner

(17 June 2013)

ps

I launched my blog on 1 June 2005. However, Walter Olson was the first legal blogger ever. He launched his blog, Overlawyered, on 1 July 1999.
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