Suppliers on the web

First published in the Solicitors Journal, May 1996.

In the run up to June’s Solicitors and Legal Office Exhibition, the event of the UK lawtech calendar, it is worth looking at how well the suppliers to the sgal profession are represented on the Web. In short the answer is … not very well.

Lawtech suppliers

It has always seemed to me that the UK legal technology market is vastly oversubscribed, with upwards of 80 ‘specialist’ suppliers competing for the budgets of the top 1,000 firms, if that (the other several thousand firms not having budgets large enough for most of the suppliers to be interested).

While it is true that with the advent of Windows the old breed of supplier with proprietary systems locking their users in, is dying out, there are still many who hang in there with a half dozen or so clients who depend on them far too much. The lack of visibility of the lawtech suppliers on the Web seems to be symptomatic of a lack of vision on leir part. Surely the medium was made for them?

Of those who are out there, Legal Expert Systems were one of the first. Ferret Information Systems, who do benefits packages, offer more than an electronic brochure with a Web benefits calculator and information on the Housing Bill. Other suppliers on the Web include Axxia, John Hemmings, Legal Technologies Ltd and Paradigm software. You will also find many US firms with products of interest, including, for example, the Capsoft corporation. A useful collection of these US lawtech sites is published by the Colorado Legal Alliance.

Law publishers

Other suppliers at the centre of the information market are of course the legal publishers, and by law publishers here I mean information providers, rather than anyone with a law-related Website. Although you will find Butterworths US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on the Web, we don’t yet see Butter-worths UK.

Of the other big law publishers, Sweet & Maxwell have a good value-added site. CCH Editions Ltd are represented and FT Law & Tax recently mounted a site which includes an Internet Law update page. The Centre for Commercial Law is Legalease’s Web site and claims to be the largest legal internet site in Europe. No doubt HMSO will soon be challenging this as they are now publishing the full texts of all new statutes on their site.

Other publishers on the Web, large, medium and small, include Blackwells, Cambridge University Press, Cameron May (environmental law), Disclaw Publishing (employment law), New Law Publishing, Perpetuity Press (criminal law) and Silkscreen Publications (how not to be a money launderer).

Lawtech consultants

You would expect, and not be disappointed in, representation from the leading UK law technology consultants:

Neil Cameron, acknowledged expert and joint chairman of the Society for Computers and Law, has had a Website for more than a year now, with a number of articles providing useful information on all aspects of law office technology.

CloudNine technology, aka Charles Christian, has added another string to his bow with the publication of the Legal Technology Insider. While this bright publication is not itself on the Web, his site does cover recent lawtech developments.

Delia Venables, mentioned last month for her good collection of legal links, also has links to a number of supplier sites and information about her Net publications.

Big boys

Let’s not forget that the suppliers of the systems you use the most -Microsoft, Corel (WordPerfect), Novell etc – have very well developed sites and should be visted to pick up the latest add-ons and ‘patches’ as well as useful tips and support


Lexis-Nexis has announced that it is to provide access via the Worldwide web and has also licensed Netscape navigator which will be incorporated into future Lexis products.

The Estates Gazette launches its interactive Web version in June, offering full texts going back ten years and databases of property deals, property companies and e-mail addresses of property experts (at from mid-June).