Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
March/April 2004, by Delia Venables

Developments at Legalease
by Mark Cusick

Legalease Limited (www.legalease.co.uk) was established in 1987 by John Pritchard, a solicitor who was also editor of The Penguin Guide to the Law. The company, which has its head office in West London, off Kensington Square, now employs some 90 members of staff.

Legalease is best known for The Legal 500, Legal Business and The Practical Lawyer. In addition, the company publishes a series of technical legal titles along with a number of other professional titles including The In-House Lawyer and Lex, the leading title for law students. Many of these are also available on the web.

The Legal 500

Legalease's publications are recognised for the quality of their content and the independence of their research. The Legal 500 was the first publication to rank law firms for expertise. The Legal 500 series – UK, Europe and Asia – provides independent analysis of over 70 legal markets around the world and is relied upon by both clients and lawyers. The accompanying web site, www.legal500.com, typically receives over 113,000 visits a week and so qualifies as among the busiest legal sites outside the United States. A user of the site can identify a recommended arbitrator in Australia, a banker in Belgium, a corporate lawyer in China, and so on. Recent initiatives in on-line publishing in Chinese will attract a vast, new readership.

Other Titles on the Internet

Visitors to the Legal500 site are also able to access the Courts & Agency Directory (www.courtsandagency.com). This provides information relating to all the courts of England, Wales and Scotland and those firms of solicitors which offer agency services therein. As with The Legal 500 on line, there is no charge for this service to the user.

Lex (www.lexonthenet.com) is an online student magazine containing a mixture of news and features designed to meet the needs of those currently studying law or considering a career in the law. The website includes articles from the current issue of the printed magazine (published termly), a calendar of important events during the student law year (application deadlines, law fairs, etc) and information on the firms and issues related to a career in the law.

Legal Business magazine (www.legalbusiness.co.uk) is an established title for partners in the country's leading commercial law firms. Since its launch in 1990, the magazine has been at the forefront of reporting on the legal profession in the UK. It was the first title to truly address the business issues of running a law firm: for example, it was the first magazine to disclose solicitors' earnings and to review the performance of the judiciary. The magazine's awards evening, which takes place in mid-February, has been called the "Oscars of the legal profession".

Publications in Print Only

The Practical Lawyer, a monthly digest and updating service, is among the most popular legal titles in the country. A loyal readership enjoys regular briefings on key developments across a range of areas of legal practice, along with advice on how to implement change for the benefit of the client. The accompanying CPD programme is likewise very popular.

Legalease also produces a number of specialist monthly journals. These include Property Law Journal, Employment Law Journal, Personal Injury Law Journal, Family Law Journal and Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal. Rather than taking a dry, highly legalistic approach, the journals have a reputation for providing practical and topical articles. The articles focus on key developments and case law, offering advice on how these developments impact those in practice. Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal has a sister product in Wills & Trusts Law Reports, the only specialised set of law reports in that field.

A Bit of History - LINK

Legalease has often broken new ground in the field of legal publishing and the LINK online network, launched in the mid 90's, was no exception. To use the service, lawyers logged on to a dedicated phone line and sent each other electronic communications. There were also a large number of useful discussion groups online which LINK groupies contributed to with great enthusiasm. There were over 6,000 regular users at one time.

Indeed, LINK introduced many in the legal profession to a whole new way of working and communicating with one another. However, with the emergence of the internet and the proliferation of other general email services, we decided that a battle against Microsoft and the rest would distract us from our core business. We are proud of LINK and what it achieved during its lifetime.

New Developments

Looking forward, 2004 will be an exciting year for the company as a new line of journals, magazines and books reach publication.

Mark Cusick is the CEO for Legalease.
Email: mark.cusick@legalease.co.uk.

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