Specialist Legal Research Services Online - Daniel Barnett

Daniel Barnett

Note: This entry was provided by Daniel Barnett for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers July/August issue, 2013. One particular aspect of the article was the relationship of the company with BAILII and legislation.gov.uk. The Editor of the overall article, called Keeping up to date with the law, was Nick Holmes.

Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Newsletter began in 1999. We now provide employment law updates by email to about 28,000 double opt-in recipients, mostly employment lawyers and judges with also many HR professionals, students and union members.

We send out a bulletin whenever an important case is handed down, which we discover either by an hourly automatic computer review of BAILII, or (occasionally) via Twitter. Typically there are two or three bulletins a week. The case summaries are written by a panel of about 40 employment barristers and a few solicitors who undertake to produce the summaries within a two hour window.

A few years ago BAILII became concerned at the traffic coming from our bulletins; several thousand identical “hits” from the same source occurred within a few minutes and caused problems for their servers. Initially, the director of BAILII, Joe Ury, had reservations about us linking directly to the BAILII reports. However, after due consideration, they agreed to let us continue to do so and they have been wonderful at coping with the voluminous but sporadic traffic we send to their site.

The bulletins are, and will always be, free. They serve six main purposes:

  1. They are intended to be the leading alerter service for employment law news. We get there first. Our summaries are pointers only: there is no detailed analysis and no commentary on ramifications. They just set out the ratio and the facts in 200 words or less.
  2. They are a promotional tool for the employment law team at Outer Temple Chambers. We are able to communicate directly with segmented portions of the list, so (for example) if we are organising a seminar for in-house lawyers in Leeds, we can target that exact group to receive information.
  3. They promote the employment bar generally as a source of ability and expertise: we always display a photograph of the barrister who writes the case summary, along with a link to their page on their Chambers’ website. Most contributors will receive anything between 20 and 100 click throughs for each summary. Compare the 45 minutes it takes to write a case summary, which gives the barrister exposure to 28,000 people, with the day or more it takes to write a seminar, which will be delivered to maybe 50 people.
  4. The bulletins generate revenue through advertising. Many carry advertisements for an employment lawyer vacancy or for seminars or conferences.
  5. We promote and assist employment-law related charities by giving them free (or very heavily discounted) advertisements for their services and events.
  6. We run a business off the back of the bulletins, whereby we write and design own-branded monthly employment law bulletins for solicitors to send directly to their clients (we also use our technology to handle the distribution for them). See emplawservices.co.uk for more.

Our list has grown organically since we set it up. We’ve never paid for a subscriber, never paid for advertisements, and never added people ourselves. It’s very much a testament to the marketing power of regular, reliable, useful and free information.

Daniel Barnett is an employment law barrister at Outer Temple Chambers.
Email: daniel barnett@outertemple.com.

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