Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
November/December 2003, by Delia Venables

More Specialised Sites
by Delia Venables

In the September/October issue, Lorraine Chapman of Field Fisher Waterhouse, described the specialised websites developed by the firm, including sites for brand protection, equity incentives, employment, European franchising, public sector issues, patents and sports business. These sites enable the firm to provide focused information in a style appropriate to that industry sector, matching the concept of a specialist shop; you would not go to a supermarket for some jewellery, she said.

Whilst few other firms have developed quite such a series of specialised sites, it seems as if many firms are trying out the concept of specialised sites along the lines of "If you've got it, flaunt it".

Here are some of the sites which have appeared over the last couple of months, and which show the very wide variety of topics which can be adopted for this approach. Some of these allow for actual purchases of services from the site but most simply lay out the expertise without too heavy a sales presence.

  • Iraq Information is a site set up by international law firm Bryan Cave. The firm has 18 offices worldwide including Kuwait, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The site contains primary source materials relating to the Iraq sanctions regime including International Regulatory Bulletins, Middle East Bulletins, United Nations documents on Sanctions and USA documents as well as articles by members of the firm on these topics.

  • drinkslaw.com is a new site launched by Howes Percival as an On-line Liquor Licensing Ordering Service. There is lots of explanatory information about the licensing process including the Licensing Act 2003 ("the first major review of licensing law for almost 40 years") and the user can then go on to obtain licence applications as follows: Protection Order, Interim Authority, Full Transfer and S.34 Gaming Permit. Fees are mainly between 100 to 200 per license applied for, plus court fees and VAT.

  • Shareholder Rights comes from Brabners Chaffe Street which aims to outline the legal position of shareholders in a Private Limited Company, the pitfalls, the precautions that can be taken and what can be done if it all goes sour. There are major sections on company structure, rights of a shareholder, selling your shareholding, shareholder disputes and valuing a shareholding.

  • frenchpropertylaw.co.uk is a new site launched by solicitors Russell-Cooke which aims to demystify the rules governing French property purchases. The site features guides to buying or renting property in France, the latest legal developments in French property law, frequently asked questions and a glossary of useful French property terms.

  • abuselaw.co.uk is provided by Stewarts of London and Leeds. The site aims to provide easy access to information for child and adult survivors of physical, sexual and psychological abuse and also to offer guidance on and understanding of the legal system of England and Wales for professionals working for survivors of abuse. The site provides information on the legal rights available to the survivor of abuse in seeking compensation, an explanation of the civil and criminal court procedures and a guide to the Legal Aid system and Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Stewarts also provide a site called spinalcordinjury.co.uk which gives a very large amount of information on this topic for individuals and professionals alike.

    There are dozens of other specialised web sites in existence. I provide a list of all the ones I know of on my web page here.

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