Carol Yecies, Information Services Manager, Shepard Broad Law Center Law Library and Technology Center, Nova Southeastern University
When our law students aren’t busy studying, winning Moot Court championships, or doing wonderful pro bono/volunteer work, they fill their "empty" hours with building an incredible internet site. Two of our students, Hugh Hedley, a May 2000 graduate, and Barry Goodman, who will graduate in December, 2000, have created legalengine.com, an Internet metasite and search engine.
Legalengine.com (http://www.legalengine.com) is an icon-driven metasite of the best legal research and law related sites and search engines on the Internet. The focus is on law, law-related topics, and reference and education at the college level and above. The site was built to serve multiple markets such as lawyers, college and law students, professors and the general public.
Since it made its debut, Law Engine has been garnering awards. It has been named by PhillyLawyer.com as the "site of the week" (March 26, 2000); selected by USA Today as a "Hot Site" (April 11, 2000); recognized by the Scout Report, a weekly current awareness publication that highlights new and newly discovered Internet resources (March 31, 2000); and demonstrated at CALI (June, 2000).
The home page of the Legal Engine is uniquely designed with point and click icon graphics. These icons are navigational tools, relying on pictorial suggestions, using American symbols mostly relating to the law or history such as scales of justice, Statue of Liberty, Congress, and various maps, to link to the major categories of information. Many of these icons are also used to lead to subcategorized detailed information (sub-sites) or clickable maps which make all federal, state, city & county, or international & uniforms laws easy to locate quickly.
Another key feature of the home page is a left side pull-down menu. The topics in this menu act either as a support system for the icon groupings and/or a separate information source. Topics range from a general education section to a reference section, including the Blue Book online. Additionally there are specialty sub-sites such as those for cyberlaw, environmental law, and intellectual property law.
Resources aimed at students include links to CALI exercises, outline banks, other law schools, famous cases, and audio and video of key cases with the transcripts and briefs. Students and practitioners will find useful links to state and federal statutes, court rules and cases. Specialized materials include, but are certainly not limited to, international law, the US Patent Database, the UCC online, online legal forms, and available U.S. law school online libraries and catalogues. The Legal Engine has an online law journal called "Legal Engine Journal" and a section for students’ submissions for publication in a student online journal. The site also has the capability to publish all online law journals in any language and hyperlinked pathfinders, including multi-media, audio and/or video along with text.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Barry and Hugh continue to work on the site, adding links and material. And they plan to expand the sub-section areas to include Scientific Evidence and Real Estate platforms. So don’t be left at the station, hop on board www.legalengine.com and ride on in to this electronic ecosystem!