Network-Lawyers aka netLs • weblog • email discussion • wiki web
This weblog runs in tandem with an email-based seminar and discussion list and a wiki web collaboration platform which is the best place to start

  Blogger move over: Google buys wiki service with blogs and more

Google buys JotSpot which provides free wiki (read/write collaboration web platform) hosting services with a large number of applications (modules) that add blogs, email list servers, spreadsheets and other features to the web site which is given a distinctive URL like

Like Google's acquisition of several years ago the premium services which were available at additional charge will be avilable some time after the acquisition for free. Among other premium services, a JotSpot wiki could be assigned to your own web domain address.

For the time being JotSpot is not accepting new accounts. However, you can log on to the site, edit pages, create pages, see all of the applications that can be added and get a feel for what this wiki that Google has acquired will be doing for their portfolio of web based applications. Perhaps JotSpot will become the web infrastructure for building an entire full featured web site around your blog, a wiki or what ever combination of Google applications suit your fancy.

Send me an email with just a bit about yourself if you would like administrator access to tack a good look behind the scenes. If you have been active as a participant in Network-Lawyers -- that was a few years ago -- just say that.


P.S. As an example of what can be done with the pages at JotSpot (in addition to on the fly editing from you browser) here is a list of tools available for each page:

* Printable version
* Import Word document
* Import Excel document
* Email this page
* Export wiki as XML
John | 11/01/2006 01:12:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

Word v. WordPerfect v. PDF

Several years ago, there were horror stories in various legal periodicals about confidential material that was disclosed to the opposing side in sensitive negotiations. It seems that counsel for one side had sent drafts of documents via email in Word to his client. The client made changes and comments in the Word file and emailed them back to the attorney. The attorney incorporated the changes and emailed them to the opposition.

The opposition, by use of the "track changes" feature in Word was able to see the history of the document beginning with the original draft, moving through the opposing party's changes and comments, and concluding with the draft actually submitted. This gave the opposition some fairly good insight into the other side's negotiating posture and strategy.

Apparently, some people never learn from the mistakes of others. It appears that the Mehlis Report, produced as a result of the investigation as to who was behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, did not intend to set forth the names of those behind the killings. Instead, the final report was intended to only refer to "senior Lebanese and Syrian officials" as those who decided to assassinate Hariri. However, the change was made in the same Word document which, in an earlier iteration, had set forth the names of the officials involved. By using the "track changes" feature, the names were publicly revealed. The complete story is set out in Mark A. LeVine's (no relation) posting on his blog at the History News Network.

This is but one reason to (i) use WordPerfect rather than Word or (ii), at the least, send out only documents that have been converted to pdf.
Stuart Levine | 10/31/2005 07:54:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Collaborative Law and Cooperative Law featured at ODR Cyberweek 2005

Collaborative Law and, it's younger brother, Cooperative Law, are among the forum discussions presented during Cyberweek 2005 by the Center for Information, Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusettes and the International Bar Association.

Collaborative Law, a relatively new form of alternative dispute resolution, has developed over the last 15 years for the resolution of divorce, child custody and related family law matters. The lawyers representing the parties who have opted for Collaborative Law work as a team with the parties, in a series of four-way meetings, to negotiate an overall settlement. If settlement fails, the lawyers withdraw under the terms of the Collaborative Law agreement which bars them from going forward with the case when it becomes adversarial.

Cooperative Law, is an even newer form of ADR, where like Collaborative Law, the parties and their lawyers agree to negotiate rather than littigatge. The difference is that the lawyers are not required by the terms of the agreement to withdraw if the matters are not settled.

The welcome message to the forums on the Collaborative and Cooperative topic are here.
John | 10/31/2005 04:10:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Mighell spots, Gov Track, a super tracker

Tom Mighell's weekly e-newsletter points us to GovTrack, a very useful web resource -- a blog plus you might say, with a great deal of useful information about pending federal legislation. Like Tom says about his e-newsletter, GovTrack is free! Follow these links to learn more about GovTrack:

2005-01-28. There was a short New York Times article in yesterday's Circuits section about GovTrack, and as a result the number of registered users on the site has topped 1,000! View this item at Gov Track.

2005-01-22. Now that GovTrack is pretty much functionally complete, I'm [Joshua Tauberer, GovTrack's creator is] shifting my focus to how websites with similar goals as GovTrack can share data, collaborate, and generally benefit from each other. View this item at Gov Track.

Perhaps the bloggers and webmasters among us can learn how to maximize RSS and other inter-web stratagies for collaboration between sites from what GovTrack has done and will be doing with other sites to share data and otherwise cooperate.

From Tom's e-newsletter: does a couple of things. First, you'll be able to track federal legislation, as well as just about anything happening on Capitol Hill, and you can set up an RSS feed to monitor your searches. You can also track what other people think of legislation and other government matters, by monitoring the entries of bloggers. A great use of weblog and RSS technology to help individuals in their legal research.

To subscribe to Tom's excellent e-newsletter, Internet Legal Research Weekly, just visit to sign up. John

P.S. I am energized with the prospect of doing one of our gala, week-long seminars on the topic of RSS and other forms of collaboration between blogs and web sites. Drop me a note if you would be willing to assist. Perhaps we can get Joshua of GovTrack fame to join us. More about Joshua and all that he is doing at J.
John | 1/30/2005 03:07:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Online Dispute Resolution Competitions

The Fourth Annual International Competitions in Online Dispute Resolution(ICODR) will be held beginning in February, 2005.

Negotiation * Mediation * Arbitration * Litigation

The competitions in online dispute resolution involve students from law schools all around the world.


The sponsors are accepting applications for experienced practitioners and academicians to serve as online evaluators. The various programs and related links are listed below.

Visit online evaluators registration to indicate your interest in serving as an evaluator this year. If for any reason that link does not work for you send an email to either Alan Gaitenby or Ben Davis.

The Negotiation competition will be held in two rounds in February 2005. The Harvard Program on Negotiation provided the problems for the online negotiation.

The Mediation competition will be held in two rounds in February 2005. The World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center provided the problems for the online mediation.

The Arbitration competition will be held over two months in February and March 2005. The International Chamber of Commerce Institute of World Business Law provided the problems for the online arbitration.

A prototype Litigation competition, new for this year, will be held from February through mid-April 2005. The International Chamber of Commerce Institute of World Business Law provided the problems for the online litigation.

WestWorkspace/eRooms Technology has accepted to be the platform for the ICODR 2005 competitions. Visit previous competition to explore this platform as it was deployed for prior competitons. (To sign in use: Username: observer2004 and Password: observer2004 If prompted click on browser only.)

For further information please contact the ICODR organizers: Alan Gaitenby or Ben Davis.

The Center and the University of Massachusetts is proud to sponsor ICODR in conjunction with the University of Toledo College of Law, Hamline University School of Law, and
John | 1/30/2005 02:26:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Blogger Pro post by email feature demonstrated

This is a demonstration of the feature of Blogger Pro used to publish weblog items to the netLs weblog via email.
<i>Voi la!</i> and here you have it :)

John | 12/30/2003 04:42:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Subscribe to netLs by email

Place an email subscription to receive weblog items as they are posted to the netLs weblog at YahooGroups by subscribing to the netLs discussion list:

If you don't yet have a Yahoo account, you be requested to sign up for a Yahoo account before you enter your email subscription to the netLs discussion list.

You may comment, ask and answer questions related to weblog items as they are ciruclated in the netLs discussion list. The reply function of your email reader/editor program will work to send your reply back to the list for circulation to the other email subscribers.

By John DeBruyn (
John | 12/28/2003 08:19:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Colorado firm touts its sleazeball attorneys

Today's Brief, the daily news round-up, picks up this item from the ABA Journal about the quirky Web site of the Colorado firm Powers Phillips. Reporter Lori Patel writes: "One needs a sense of humor in dealing with Colorado firm Powers Phillips. In fact, the firm insists upon it. As a sort of quirky screening device, it has created a Web site so firmly tongue-in-cheek that some readers may have trouble swallowing. With the site organized in categories such as 'sleazeball attorneys' and 'agonized clients,' the firm's uppity women and token males apologize in advance to readers they may offend. The attorneys add that they take their work -- but not themselves -- quite seriously."
Bob Ambrogi | 12/15/2003 07:51:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Is Brief Reporter dead?

What happened to Brief Reporter? My June 2003 column, A Brief Summary: Free Briefs on the Web, mentions this Web source of legal briefs (even though it is not free). But a poster to the law-lib listserv said today that he has been trying to access it for several weeks with no luck. Anyone know its status?
Bob Ambrogi | 12/10/2003 08:38:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  For legal aid lawyers, a technology portal

If the bad news was the shutting down of the Equal Justice Network, the good news is a site that spun off from it, LStech.Org. Recognizing that few legal services programs have the budget to hire dedicated technology staff, is a portal to technology services and information tailored to a legal aid audience. Funded by a Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grant, it is operated as a partnership by the University of Michigan Law School, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the National Technology Assistance Project. Its most substantive section is its Tech Library, an extensive collection of articles on technology management, Web development, software, technology for advocates, telecommunications, networks, hardware and the Internet. Another section compiles information on technology projects implemented by poverty law programs throughout the U.S. The site includes online collaboration spaces, listings of tech jobs, and current technology news of interest to the poverty law community.
Bob Ambrogi | 11/30/2003 03:26:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Equal Justice Network shuts down

I just noticed that the Equal Justice Network has shut down. It operated as a joint project of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the Center for Law and Social Policy, serving as an online meeting place, information source, and connection mechanism for lawyers and other advocates involved in efforts to provide civil legal assistance to low-income people. According to the notice at the site, some of the features have been moved to the NLADA site.
Bob Ambrogi | 11/30/2003 03:22:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  How Appealing's Bashman to present online seminar

Howard Bashman, the publisher/editor of the much acclaimed, widely read and quoted legal weblog, How Appealing, will be the guest speaker for the appellate process segment of the Cybercourts and Online Dispute Resolution seminar that will run next in the Network-Lawyers discussion group. His weblog is at

Howard's portion of the seminar, the appellate process, Cybercourts of Appeal, will be begin on Wednesday, December 3, and run through Friday, December 5. The idea of courts going online, Cybercourts is no longer fanciful. With the advent of electronic filing and the trend to limit, and in many cases eliminate oral argument, the courts of appeal are becoming Cybercourts of Appeal. This evolution of the appeals courts and the affect of technology and the internet on the appellate process will be addressed during Howard's segment of the program.

The seminar organizers are seeking judges, court administrators and other lawyers experienced in appellate practice to join the panel to assist in the presentation of Howard's segment of the program. Please let John DeBruyn at know if you would be available to join the panel and take an active part in the appellate process discussion that will run Wednesday through Friday.

The trial court segment will begin on Monday, December 1, with Judge Gafni who will be joined by Judge Shelton on Tuesday for a discussion of the impact of the internet and other technology on the trial process including preparation, filing, discovery and case management, trial testimony, documentary evidence and argument.

The speakers will be joined by two dozen other experts on various aspects of online, electronic, technology-enhanced resolution of disputes. There are also tracks on negotiation and mediation as well as public and stakeholder dialogue and policy negotiation with the courts, administrative agencies and legislative bodies. Here is an executive summary about all four segments of the Cybercourts and Online Dispute Resolution Seminar Program:

Negotiation and mediation track

Professor Ethan Katsh, University of Massachusetts Department of Legal Studies, who is the chair of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's Expert Working Group on Online Dispute Resolution. He is also the moderator of the dispute res discussion list for mediators, arbitrators, lawyers and other professionals interested in alternative dispute resolution.
The seminar is a joint venture between the dispute res and network-lawyers discussion lists.

Trial process track:

Judge Abraham Gafni, retired Pennsylvania state trial court judge who is a Professor at Villanova Law School teaching alternative dispute resolution procedures, and Judge Donald Shelton, Michigan trial court judge who was involved with that state's Cybercourt program which was established by the legislature but not yet funded.

Appellate process track

Howard Bashman, Buchanan Ingersoll, PC., Philadelphia, shareholder and chair of their appellate group. Howard Bashman is publisher/editor of the celebrated and most quoted legal blog, How Appealing, which covers the appellate courts and cases on appeal that are significant or otherwise in the news.

Collective negotiation and dialogue track (third party and stakeholder involvement in the judicial, administrative and legislative processes)

John Helie, mediator and principal, Mediate.Com, a leading online publisher of dispute resolution articles and provider of design and space under the Mediate.Com umbrella of web sites for mediation professionals, their firms and providers of mediation training. John is recognized nationally as an expert on the design and presentation of face-to-face and online dialogues and collective policy negotiations between public agencies, their stakeholders and the public-at-large.

How register to take part at no charge plus links to more information:
John | 11/26/2003 11:32:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  opensourceCMS demonstration site

opensourceCMS demonstrations This site was created with one goal in mind. To give you the opportunity to 'try out' some of the best php/mysql based free and open source software systems in the world. You are welcome to be the administrator of any site here, allowing you to decide which system best suits your needs.
John | 11/09/2003 06:42:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Scientific knowledge base to be freely accessible

Stuart Levine in his Tax & Business Law Commentary notes the appearance of a new organization called the Public Library of Science. This organization will publish on-line journals containing referred papers concerning various aspects of scientific research. Access to the journals will be free and open to the public. It is hoped that the effort will spawn a host of competing publications that will replace the subscription based system currently in place for the publication of scientific papers. The costs of those subscriptions significantly limits the access of researchers, particularly in poorer countries, to research material.

And the context of this item an examination of the expenditure of significant expert resources and corresponding cost to determine questions in the context of our adversarial legal system exposes Stuart's special talent as a renaissance lawyer with a most inquiring mind and, of course, dry wit that makes his ponderings most digestible. More or less a social inquiry about the role of the courts and the public's right to know in New York state where newly formed entities, of a particular flavor, are required to publish written notice upon their formation. The publication requirement was sustained. Stuart observes:

"Something has continued to bother me about the opinion which, as I said, in a narrow sense (i.e., courts should not step on legislative prerogatives), might be correct, but in a broad sense (can anybody really defend the underlying policy behind the requirement without a smirk) is totally unjustified. Yet, substantial intellectual capital was expended by the litigants and the court in determining the issue of whether or not the Emperor really had no clothes."

And more as Stuart pulls these events together.
John | 11/09/2003 06:01:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  What's the point of blogging?

BloggerCon 2003 was held this weekend (October 4) at Havard. Phil Greenspun reports what followed when a young audience member had the courage to ask 'What should I say when someone asks me what the point of having a blog is?' Phil sagely observe that "Indeed this is a variant of the early 1990s question the first personal Web sites went up 'What is the point of having a personal Web site?' Then what IS the point of personal Web site or blog?"

Read what Philip, an MIT accademic, entreprenuer and internet visionary has to say over at his Weblog: which is among the many hosted courtesy of the blogging-software developer Dave Winner at the Harvard (Law School's blog) farm.
John | 10/06/2003 09:36:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Searching the Web of Yore

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has indexed and made 11 billion pages of its 30 plus billion pages searchable. Thanks to Tom Mighell of Internet Legal Research Weekly for his weblog article about this development.

The search engine, created by Anna Patterson, has a novel interface that shows hits over time and also categories and topic related to the search. Anna's prepared series of slides that describe how this nifty interface works. It took me a while to find where I could download the free Power Point viewer. Having done that I then discovered--until I learn more about Power Point viewer--that one just clicks on a slide to advance to the next.

Modern entymologists should love this. For example, the incidence of the phrase "world wide web" is declining while the incidence of the words weblog and blog are taking off. Entymologists will grove on the transformation of world wide web to web and of weblog to blog. I think the rate of such changes in word forms is accellerating. Although the results are interesting, I don't know the extent to which the results may be skewed because the archive does not have all pages for all time and, may be more significantly, because the index, at this point, includes only about a third of the pages in the archive.

And I almost forgot, the link to Anna's search engine at the Internet Archives Wayback Machine.
John | 9/27/2003 08:39:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Network-Lawyers Online Seminars

Network-Lawyers discussion list has scheduled two, week-long online seminars on useful web-based collaboration tools. The seminars feature Steve Yost, the creator, developer and provider, of QuickTopic and QuickDocumentReview as guest speaker.

Steve will be joined in the Network-Lawyers by a panel of experts on email and web-based collaboration and community-building for a lively, informative seminar discussion program for legal professionals on:

QuickTopic, a handy, easy to use web discussion space, where messages may be exchange via browser and/or email, which is scheduled for the week of September 22 thru 26; and

QuickDocumentReview, an equally useful and easy to use tool for reviewing and exchanging comments on documents which is scheduled for the week of October 6 through 10.

The seminar discussion will be open for questions from participants to the speaker and panel all during the week. The term "seminar" was chosen to encourage all the "attendees" to take an active roles in the discussion as the speaker and panel work there way through the seminar agenda. There will, as part of each program, be a hands on demonstration by Steve and the panel of Steve's collaboration tools.

There is no charge for registration or participation in these seminars. Additional information about these programs including the agenda, the panel of experts and how you may participate is on the web page with the Seminar Schedule.

The Network-Lawyers is a continuation of the discussion list founded by Lew Rose in 1994 for lawyers, law students, law professors, legal assistants and other legal professionals on legal technology with, as Lew put it, an emphasis on the internet. Network-Lawyers continues between seminars to function as an ongoing, spontaneous discussion for legal professionals about technology, the internet and related legal topics.
John | 9/07/2003 02:42:00 PM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  Eric Heels, Rich Klau of Today

StudentLawTech forum is the name of the email discussion list for law students on the topic of law and technology. Rich Klau and Eric Heels founded the discussion in 1994 while they were law students at the Universities of Richmond and Maine. Eric and Rich were famous in the fledgling online community of lawyers back then for the mega FAQ on legal resources on the internet that they published.

The Eric and Rich's of today are into blogging in a big way. We have started a page on StudentLawBlogs at the Network-Lawyers wiki to keep up with developments on that front. Hopefully the reincarnation of the StudentLawTech forum will gain a following from among the student bloggers and others interested in the law, technology and the internet.

John | 8/30/2003 09:23:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

  eLawyer Blog: Legal Information vs. Legal Advice

eLawyer Blog: Legal Information vs. Legal Advice has lots of good leads for lawyers who want to make the most of their public service/marketing program by effectively communicating with the public. Seems to this observor that the provision of high quality, plain-English information to the public coincident with a lawyer's area of practice is a win/win proposition for both the public and the lawyer who puts his or her mind and energy to the task.

The boosters of the eLawyering project and others who have been running with this ball need to get more lawyers into the game--here are a few ideas: (1) incubate an online study group, (2) present an online CLE course and/or (3) consider other ways for lawyers who-are-with-this-program to do some LegalInformationNetwork|ing.
John | 8/12/2003 07:52:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   | for law school applicants, students & grads

A law student, Marshall Camp, now recent grad's, weblog is still going strong with coverage of the law school and legal scene of interest to lawyers and law students alike. Billed as a community for law school applicants, students & grads, the site features a list of other law student weblogs, school-specific discussion groups (about which I am going to find out more) and many other links of interest to law and pre-law students.

I also plan to explore other law student weblogs with a view to re-kindling law student participation in the Network-Lawyers discussion group. I recall Eric Heels and Rich Klau, back when the Net-Lawyers started up, had their own law student discussion group as well something like LawStudentTech hosted on the list server at Cornell Law School.
John | 8/11/2003 09:00:00 AM   >> Post a comment >>   |

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