Startup JD Supra is hoping to merge user generated content with the legal community. Founded by attorney Aviva Cuyler and launched last year, the site enables lawyers, law firms, and legal professionals to publish legal documents online. The source is credited for his or her work via a LinkedIn-like profile on the site. Access is free and anyone can search the database of memos, court filings, agreements and more.
The site takes advantage of the notion that lawyers are active content creators and there should be a centralized place where this content can be uploaded, indexed and shared for free. Consumers are able to use the search engine to find lawyers and relevant cases and lawyers can use the database as a research resource for cases and deals. Searches can be filtered by jurisdiction, type of document, contributor, and subject.
Cuyler says that there are close to 1,000 legal contributors on the site, ranging from corporate attorneys to law professors to legal marketing professionals. There are also a host of well-known law firms and organizations who are currently contributing, including The Cato Institute, Mintz Levin, and The Electronic Frontier Foundation. The site is getting interest from international contributors as well.
JD Supra even has a Facebook application, where the lawyers and professionals can share their JD Supra legal documents and profile on their Facebook page, with either a box on a profile page or with a stand-alone “docs” tab added to the “wall” and “info” tabs on a profile. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m hesitant about the potential of sharing legal documents with a social network like Facebook. It’s a good idea, but it seems to be more of a LinkedIn type of resource.
JD Supra is certainly an innovative way to connect legal content with legal professionals. There are paid services like WestLaw and Lexis Nexis that provide legal content but don’t make it easy to access the professionals who created the content in the first place like JD Supra does.