Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Open Online Legal Publications

A new professional publication is offered free online: the Wealth Strategies Journal. The three co-founders & co-editors are Lewis D. Solomon, Lewis J. Saret, & Sy Park Saret. The publication was noted by the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog on January 10, 2007, in a posting found here.

The stated mission of the new WSJ is "to provide you with the resources you need on estate planning and taxation, asset protection, business succession planning, fiduciary issues, high net worth families and family offices, insurance, investments, marketing, multigenerational values, philanthropy and retirement benefits." The members of the WSJ Advisory Board mirror the practicing professions involved in these client issues.

The first issue, November/December 2006, listed these articles & authors:

The authors carry impressive credentials. Their articles offer introductions or overviews on subjects, reviews of decisions, or general approaches in certain planning situations. All articles are short in length, without state-specific details and without extensive citations.

This publication and the new eReport of the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association (which I discussed on January 8, 2007, in ABA RPPT Section's eReport Online) join other free online resources available to wealth planning professionals & consumers. Other such resources are listed by FindLaw under the heading Journals, Newsletters and Articles in its Probate, Trusts & Estates legal topic, or under the heading Journals, Newsletters and Articles in its Tax Law legal topic.

Such publications follow a trend identified by the Legal Technology Resource Center
of the American Bar Association, in its study report "Trends in Legal Publishing for the Millennium: Quality Moves to the Internet" (PDF, 7 pages), by Catherine H. Sanders, MLIS (2001).

That report concluded:
In July 2000 the National Law Journal published "Farewell to Books of Yore". An attorney was quoted in reference to Internet legal research, "If I could have a wish, I would wish for a legal portal that would collect everything that's out there on a legal target… If somebody could do that, I would be on that site all the time" (Shepherd, 4). As legal publishers provide more quality legal publications on the Internet, as law librarians overcome the difficulties of managing an online collection, and as lawyers increasingly see the need for mediation between them and Internet resources the virtual law library will become a reality. As quality legal publishers move to the Internet it will provide new and exciting ways to provide and perform legal research.
Such a trend is now acknowledged by law librarians. In his article Redefining Open Access for the Legal Information Market (PDF, 20 pages, 2006), James G. Milles notes that law reviews generally have abandoned a role of "providing summary and analysis of law for the guidance of judges and practitioners."
Once the chief purpose of legal scholarship, and nostalgically recalled by the bench and bar, this is now hardly a factor at all, at least among the more elite journals. Some journals publish annual reviews of the law in their state or of the decisions of the state’s highest court, but this is generally viewed by legal academics as a lower function — a pro bono service, not real, significant scholarship. Moreover, this role has been largely supplanted by newsletters, bar journals, loose-leaf and online services, and now blogs.
Law schools can change, says Professor Milles:
Law schools, using readily available distribution technologies such as RSS, blogs, wikis, and other collaborative authoring tools, could easily compete with the commercial publishers of many of the legal newsletters and loose-leaf services currently available. One reason for a law school to do this would be to answer the frequently repeated complaint of lawyers and judges that the scholarship published in law journals is of little value to the practicing bar. Law journals once served the function of analyzing and synthesizing developments in the law, as well as commenting on current cases.
Both the new WSJ and this EE&F Law Blog evidence the "sea-change" in practical legal publications.

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-changeInto something rich and strange

-- William Shakespeare, from Ariel’s song in The Tempest
UPDATE: 01/13/07:

The Kentucy Law Blog noted this posting in a further posting by Michael Stevens on Saturday, January 13, 2007, entitled "Internet: On-Line Legal Publications Growing Elsewhere".

UPDATE: 01/14/07:

Peter Suber, author of the
"Open Access News" -- News from the Open Access Movement, noted my posting on January 13, 2007, as follows:
New OA journal on estate planning

Wealth Strategies Journal is a new OA journal published by Joshua Tree Enterprises. Its inaugural issue (November / December 2006) is now online. (Thanks to PA Elder.)

UPDATE: 02/03/07:

The December-January issue of Wealth Strategies Journal is available online here. These are the posted articles: