The pioneer of free online legal websites, LLRX
There are numerous websites providing legal information nowadays and we see rise and fall of many of them in short time span. In the fast changing landscape of websites, one website stands firm since 90s—LLRX. It is astonishing that Law Library Resource Xchange (LLRX) managed to survive for more than a decade and keeps evolving with 120,000 global readerships each month. After browsing through LLRX, I came to a conclusion that three things are the key to the success of LLRX: dedication of publisher, rich contents and adaptation to new technology.
Let me first briefly introduce what LLRX is. LLRX is a free web journal dedicated to providing legal and library professionals with the most up-to-date information(Database last updated on January 2011) on a wide range of Internet and technology-related issues, applications, resources and tools. In order to understand LLRX, I must introduce the founder, editor and publisher—Sabrina I. Pacifici (yes, it’s one person doing it all!). She has been an active and pioneering member of the online legal community since its inception. She created LLRX in 1996 and created beSpacific, which I’ll introduce in a short while, in 2003. She was named one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers 2006 and was profiled in the ABA law practice magazine, December 2006 issue. There are more great things about her, but I’m sure this is enough to assure you of her credibility. It is truly astonishing that LLRX is an independent web journal run by one person for more than 15 years. Now that I have established her credibility, I will move on to great contents she provides.
LLRX provides with the most up to date information on a wide range of international research and technology-related issues, applications, resources and tools. LLRX tries to make navigation easy for the users and currently is part of an open source content management system, Drupal, providing enhanced layout, navigation and usability. It has drop down menu that appear on the top navigation bar and has separate category on the right hand side of each page, making it easy for the users to navigate the website. Also, it employs google customs search so users may selectively search for content on LLRX, beSpacific or from the legal web.
The contents of LLRX can be divided into three categories; Court rules, forms & dockets, Articles and beSpacific blog. First, Court rules, forms & dockets provides links to over 1,400 sources for state and federal court rules, forms and dockets. But, you should know that it does not provide the case decisions, but only rules and other forms. You may browse by search term, court type, resource type, jurisdiction or state. For example, I clicked on State of New York to see what kind of information it provides and was pleasantly surprised by its well organized results. It listed various courts in State of New York and provided local rules, court forms, electronic case filing, etc of each court. Instead of providing information directly on its website, it links you directly to the official website where relevant information can be found. So, it makes your research easy and reliable.
Second, the Articles section is categorized by subjects, date, author, and column. When you click on subjects, it gives you lists of articles under columns, legal research, legal technology, features , guest columnist, leadership, legal marketing, and librarian resources. I like how they categorized it under big heading so I can browse through the list and find something I am interested in. However, it’s difficult to distinguish subheadings from big headings. I wish they made the distinction more clear, perhaps by enlarging the fonts of big headings. As I mentioned earlier, there is also a menu bar on the right side of each page and they are categorized under legal research, librarian resources, and legal technology. Same information can be accessed under the Article drop down menu, but I think they provide these sections separately on right hand side because it is most popular features; as I found these three categories to be really comprehensive and useful. For example, legal research has subheading of comparative/foreign law and it is a great resource for lawyers interested in international law. Unlike court rules section where it links to the official website where relevant information can be found, comparative/foreign law sections are composed of articles written for this website. So, the contents are provided directly from LLRX. It is categorized by subjects including cultural property, human rights, immigration law, Islamic law, parliamentary procedure, refugees, terrorism, treaties & agreements. Under these headings articles on these topics are listed. Also, one of the subheadings includes international legal research. It provides various legal research guides such as “doing legal research in Canada”, “Israeli law guide”, “guide to Indian laws”, “complete research guide to the laws of the People’s Republic of China” etc. The contents it provides are comprehensive and match the level of Reynolds Flores. It is quite useful as it provides the contents directly on its website as well as provides links to various useful official websites where legal information can be found. Like GlobaLex, these information are prepared by lawyers who are from that country or specializes in that country. The top part of each of these guides provides the names of the author and credential.
Also, the legal technology provides great tools and resources to lawyers as well as law students. These legal technology includes E-discovery, Gadgets & Gizmos, intranet, knowledge management, websites, blogs & Wikis. It is essential for all lawyers, whether you are solo practitioner, work in public interest, government, or big firms to better utilize their time and effort through adopting new technology that keeps popping up.
Third, the beSpacific blog. Even though it has bespacific section on top and right side of its website, it is a separate blog website run by same person, Sabrina I. Pacifici. beSpacific provides daily law and technology news with links to reliable primary and secondary sources on topics including e-government, privacy, government documents, cybercrime and ID theft, the patriot Act, etc. This is similar to LLRX, but provides news daily rather than monthly. This blog started from 2003, so it’s been around for quite a while with vast number of compiled article. Users may browse news by either dates or by topic of his interests. On right side of the website it provides topics column.
All in all, LLRX is a great resource for lawyers, librarians and journalists in providing useful resources and up-to-date news. The contents are getting richer by contribution of authors, a group of librarians, lawyers, information pros and journalists who contribute columns each month, as well as authors who provide feature content. Many of the readers also become the authors, so the community is self-sustaining. I hope to see LLRX continue its success in coming decade as it had stood firm in past decade.