I write less now than I did a few years ago about online services. I’ve not lost interest; rather, it just seems there are few new developments to report. That said, over the last few months, some interesting items did cross my desk. 

  • Linklaters launches new document drafting product (legalweek.com, 10/17/07) reports on an expanded offering of the firm’s Blue Flag product to allow “drafting of certain leveraged finance agreements.”
  • Combining online service, social networking, and open source law, Tractis offers online contract management, shared templates, and e-signing. It’s mainly in Spanish right now, so hard for me to assess. More information, see the related blog, Negonation. Spotted at Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites. See also Doug Cornelius’s comments on Tractis; he’s tried it.
  • Proskauer has put an entire book, International Litigation and Arbitration , free on the web, without registration. It’s not an interactive online service, but it’s a lot of deep content. An interesting move.
  • British firm Denton Wilde Sapte has teamed with several other firms to offer guidance on European data protection laws: “Information and Privacy Solutions provides registered users with comprehensive guidance and information on the local data protection regimes of several European countries. (Thanks to Joy London of excited utterances for spotting this.)
  • DC-based Dickstein Shapiro offers PolicyPartner, a web service to “provide your company with compliant, current, clear, consistent and cost-effective human resource (HR) compliance guidance.”
  • For the Australian market, HR Advance offers ” a website designed to make human resources (HR) management easy for your business… HR Advance gives you access to a comprehensive library of fully customisable HR documents including contracts, policies, forms, correspondence and checklists. All documents come with extensive notes on their use and application.” As I read the HR “About” page, it is a joint undertaking of an Australian chamber of commerce and law firm.
  • My Dec 20, 2007 post, New Expert System Platform, describes a new legal market expert system platform.

Richard Susskind’s most recent round of predictions about the future of online services notwithstanding (see Will Lawyers Exist in 100 Years in the Times Online, London, late 2007), I am not holding my breath for an explosion in online services. I hope I am wrong though. Perhaps the public flotation of law firms in Australia or the UK Legal Reforms will dramatically change the market and lead to the development of consumer-oriented interactive online systems. If so, that might lead to more high end systems as well.