Posted Feb 26, 2008 03:17 pm CST
Two years ago, as attorney Aviva Cuyler was working late, night after night, drafting and responding to motions in a demanding case, she had a brain flash. “This is crazy,” the San Francisco litigator thought to herself. “I know other people have addressed these issues.”
Today a new public website launches that is intended to help lawyers share filed pleadings, research memoranda and other materials that allow them to build on each other’s prior work, rather than start every project on a clean slate. Developed by Cuyler and a team of Internet and legal marketing professionals, JD Supra also offers a free platform for attorneys and others involved in legal matters to market themselves and identify individuals with useful expertise. A search page allows them to look for relevant material by jurisdiction, subject matter and document type.
“Using Google Mini, a robust search appliance licensed from Google, Inc., JD Supra offers universal search technology to help lawyers—from solo practitioners to attorneys working at medium and even large firms—better showcase their practices and also connect with peers and potential clients,” the site’s developers explain in a press release (PDF). There is no charge for posting and accessing legal documents or creating a profile on the site. However, JD Supra will generate revenue, they say, by selling advertising and charging lawyers and participating law firms for premium services.
Terms and conditions of use for the site prohibit certain practices, such as posting sealed court filings. And lawyers will have to use their own judgment about when it is appropriate to circulate materials related to their cases, Cuyler tells ABAJournal.com. They can, she notes, provide redacted documents, if they wish, but cannot post anonymously.
Several well-known law firms are participating in the site’s launch, including Morrison & Foerster and Lane Powell, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is also a founding contributor.