Net Law: How Lawyers Use the Internet
By Paul Jacobsen
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: February 1997
Pages: 254

From simple email to sophisticated online marketing, Net Law: How Lawyers Use the Internet shows how the solo practitioner or the large law firm can turn the Net into an effective and efficient tool. Through stories from those who've set up pioneering legal Net sites, attorney Paul Jacobsen explains how lawyers can successfully integrate the Internet into their practices, sharing lessons these "early adopters" have learned.

In this book, you'll read about a law firm that reports its Web site gets more than 40,000 visitors a week, resulting in 6,000 subscribers to its online newsletter. The firm claims that more than two-thirds of its clients come to them directly through their Internet Web site. Net Law shows what you might do to get similar results.

Firms with Internet connections not only have the yet-to-be-proven advantages of a homepage to tout their firm's virtues and services, but the practical advantages offered by email and access to legal research resources on the Net.

In Net Law, the author walks the reader through the process of getting connected, to using the Net for research, to marketing online. Net Law draws heavily from the real-life experiences of lawyers who were early adopters of the Net and have successfully integrated it into their practices. These early adopters share their experiences and the lessons they've learned. They talk about what works online -- and what doesn't, separating the reality of the Net from the hype and hysteria that often surrounds this new medium.

The wealth of the Internet can only be fully tapped by those professionals who actually use it. Net Law's author takes the reader step by step through the issues, beginning with examples of firms that have already experienced the power of being connected. He walks beginners through two chapters of Internet basic training before moving on to the business of turning a Net connection into a working asset for the firm.

One of the biggest advantages lawyers get with a Net connection is the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and clients over great distances. Lawyers interviewed in the book tell of exchanging 200-page legal briefs with other attorneys in other cities, allowing them to meet tight filing deadlines they would have otherwise missed. The book also deals with the issue of privacy and security. Email is not as secure as traditional mail for highly confidential client communication. How do lawyers protect themselves and their clients' information in this new medium?
Net Law explains how lawyers are addressing this serious issue.

Research was noted by many of the lawyers interviewed as one of the Net's key resources. With many university law libraries now online and recent case law and court decisions becoming available online, attorneys are finding research time and budgets shrinking thanks to a simple and cheap Internet connection.

Unlike other professions that can simply advertise their services to the public, ethical considerations limit what attorneys feel is appropriate in marketing legal services. The author spends considerable time exploring the do's and don'ts of online legal marketing and shares the experiences of those who have been both successful and unsuccessful. The author offers examples of law firms that range from modest to aggressive use of the Net. Includes CD-ROM with Internet software and limited free online time.

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Songline Guides share the experience and knowledge of users who have become Internet professionals by discovering how to make the Internet work for them.

Songline Professional Guides share what members of a profession such as teachers or lawyers are learning about using the Internet. These books provide an opportunity to learn from the first wave of users, the pioneers who have realized the benefits and overcome the frustrations of integrating the Internet into their work life. These are not technical books that explain in detail how the Internet works; instead, Songline Professional Guides describe how people work better by harnessing the power of Internet.

Songline Productivity Guides are aimed at professionals who want to learn advanced techniques and strategies to be more productive online. Focusing on the workplace, these guides emphasize becoming proficient in the new skills professional users need to acquire.

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