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Egal Web sites are popping up all over, almost as if it were the 1990s. Here are a dozen sites that have emerged in recent months from their virtual incubators, hoping to take wing. Created at the urging of consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice marks its twentieth anniversary this year. The organization specializes in public interest litigation in such areas as toxic torts, the environment, access to the courts, and discrimination. It celebrated its anniversary with a revamped Web site, www.tlpj.org. The site already included descriptions of TLPJ’s caseload and a library of its briefs and legal filings. The group has added a database providing links to more than 2,000 Web resources, including research tools, law school public interest centers, employment resources, andit claimsevery legal aid, legal services, and poverty law office in the United States. FirstGov, the official gateway to U.S. government information, www. first gov.gov, connects to more than 51 million pages on more than 20,000 federal, state, territorial, and tribal sites. Launched in 2000, it was overhauled this year to make it easier for users to find what they need. Now links are organized by type of user (citizen, business, etc.) and by common reference terms, such as forms, laws, and news releases. The Supreme Court 1993 decision Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals changed the rules on expert scientific testimony. A new site, Daubert on the Web, www.daubertontheweb.com, may change the way lawyers keep up with the law’s progeny. Created by Philadelphia litigator Peter Nordberg, the site offers more than 200 appellate cases, organized by circuit and field of expertise, along with a procedural guide, tactics, and an evolving treatise. The RJ&L Religious Liberty Archive, www.churchstatelaw.com, a new site from Denver’s Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, is a virtual library of religious freedom law. It houses the full texts of all pertinent Supreme Court cases since 1815, federal and state laws, treatises, and historical materials. The nation’s first “cybercourt” moved closer to becoming a virtual reality this year, when Michigan governor John Engler signed it into law. The court will eventually handle commercial disputes and allow parties to file pleadings electronically, take testimony remotely, and even “Webcast” its hearings. But for now, the court does not yet have a Web site, so Detroit’s Dykema Gossett has created Michigan Cybercourt.net, www.michigancybercourt.net, a site devoted to the court and its launch. Iowa’s court system also took a step into cyberspace this year, when it put its dockets online, giving the public free access to basic court information such as child support payments, criminal and traffic records, and case outcomes. Users of Iowa Courts Online, www.iowacourtsonline.org, can search across all state trial and appellate court dockets for cases, litigants, and attorneys. Later this year, the court will add a $25-a-month subscription that will offer access to additional docket information, including hearing dates and judgment liens. A system for filing cases online is also now available through the recently revamped Web site of the American Arbitration Association, www.adr.org. Dubbed AAA WebFile, it allows parties to file, track, and, in some cases, even resolve their differences online. The sitea preeminent ADR resource even before the redesign, with rules, forms, and useful documentsalso includes a publications catalog and daily headlines. Before you head off to court, let a virtual jury help you assess the strength of a case and gauge what it may be worth at Legalvote.com, www.legalvote.com. The “jurors” are visitors to the site who have filled out brief self-profiles. They review a summary of the case prepared by the lawyer, then answer a set of standard questions. The price of the service is $500 for an assessment of damages, $2,500 for a standard case study, and more for expanded or customized studies. The Internet has made it much easier for lawyers to locate missing witnesses, track long-lost heirs, and investigate opposing litigants. Skipease, www.skipease.com, has culled the Web’s most useful “skiptracing” tools and assembled them in one place. Using its links, you can research property ownership; Social Security numbers; death, birth, and marriage records; professional licenses; and more. Founded in 1982 to advance the practice of litigation consulting, the American Society of Trial Consultants recently launched its first Web site, www.astcweb.org. For practicing lawyers, the main attraction is a directory of the nearly 400 organization members nationwide. Each entry includes contact information, areas of expertise, and a link to the consultant’s Web site, if available. Next trip out of town, book your hotel through hotels.com, www. hotels.com. Launched earlier this year, this is a more user-friendly successor to a suite of sites started by Hotel Reservations Network, a hotel room “consolidator” that reserves rooms in bulk and offers them to consumers at below published rates. The one drawback is that you must pay in advance. But HRN often has rooms still available when no one else does. This article originally appeared in Law Technology News, a sibling publication of Corporate Counsel and a part of American Lawyer Media.

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