Anything legal?

First published in the Solicitors Journal, April 1996.

Once the initial excitement and/or frustrations of being on the Web wear off, your view of what’s out there which is of use to you may well be either ‘It’s all a load of garbage; there’s nothing out there for me’ or (I hope) ‘There’s loads of good stuff out there, but how do I find what I want?’ So, access to the information is the key. Let’s look at a number of sites that will help you in your quest, the emphasis being on good weblaw indexes rather than on information sites per se.

Law Society Services


Law Society Services is a directorate of the Law Society of England and Wales. The pages are maintained for the Law Society by Information Providers Ltd. Set up in Spring 1995, these pages have recently been significantly revamped. The principal sections are Registering your Practice, Information Technology (including a new IT Forum); Information Services for the Public; and a library of Legal Links.

The latter is a searchable database of law websites. The search form provided enables you to search the database using drop down lists. The categories are: Barristers, Government Information, Law Societies, Lawyers, Legal Publishers, Legal Recruitment, Legal Software, Legal Technology Consultants, Legal Training, Other legal resources and Universities, and you can search within the UK or several other server-based jurisdictions. Entries are invited to be submitted using an online form and automatically added to the database.

A sample search on Sites hosted in the UK: Lawyers yields 48 hits (at 18 April 1996), although two of these were incorrectly categorised. (Do Coopers & Lybrand and IMCS really consider themselves lawyers?) This result can be used as a crude benchmark of the comprehensiveness and quality of the other sites mentioned below.

Delia Venables Legal Resources


Delia Venables is an independent legal technology consultant specialising in technology for the medium-sized provincial firm. She also first mounted her pages last spring, comprising browsable indexes of web sites classified (1) For businesses and individuals interested in identifying a firm of solicitors for their particular needs or needing advice on legal matters generally; and (2) For lawyers using the world wide web. Under the former is an index of solicitors home pages (44 links) and other resources of interest to those needing legal assistance; under the latter, indexes of barristers home pages, and links to legal resources, suppliers, etc. Venables also promotes her Guide to the Internet and Internet Newsletter.

Information for Lawyers Limited


IFL is a publishing company providing electronic publishing products and services for the legal market. We set up our Web site in March last year and have concentrated on compiling comprehensive and quality browsable indexes of the UK legal Web. The principal categorisations are Law (arranged under 33 topics); Lawyers, with over 60 law firms listed, plus barristers, law schools, law associations, government and law related organisations; and Suppliers. Information on our products and services is also posted, as is this article and all previous SJ ‘Pages on the Web’.

CCTA Government Information Service


Look no further than this comprehensive site for all Government Departments and agencies, plus links to hundreds of related organisations. Use the By Organisation and By Subject indexes. One of the latest law-related sites is the Houses of Parliament page.

Others to watch

The Centre for Commercial Law at is Legalease’s website, set up September 1995, and comprises mainly directory entries for the Legal 500 and Law Firms in Europe. There are links to firms with their own home pages.

Netlaw UK at is an ambitious initiative of Hannah Oppenheim, a student at the law school at the University of Hertfordshire. Netlaw UK opened its site this March, providing information on Legal Training and Qualification, a Conference section, Legal Appointments and a set of Recommended Legal Links. Unfortunately the latter are an unclassified jumble.

Some law schools, Strathclyde in particular at, have good links and useful collections of materials.

International heavyweights

If you’re doing serious research across the globe, or if you simply want to find all information on a specific organisation or topic as quickly as possible, then use one of the heavyweight search tools such as Yahoo, Alta Vista or Lycos, which have millions of pages indexed and powerful retrieval engines. Happily there is now a site that gathers them all together at

Also rans

There are a few general UK-based Web directories which from time to time throw up new legal sites. But the following figures show the paucity of information generally available on such sites.

Using GOD (the Global Online Directory), selecting Business: Legal services yields 15 hits; searching on ‘lawyer’ yields 17.


With YELL (the internet Yellow Pages site), searching on ‘lawyer’ yields 1 hit!, though ‘law’ produces 58, most of which are relevant.


What’s New from Emap has 29 entries in its Legal category.

At http://www/

UK Directory has 42 entries in its Business: Legal Services category.