What is Legaltree.ca?
Legaltree is a collaboratively built legal research resource. While some of the content on Legaltree is contributed by the site administrators, the focus is on content contributed by lawyers in the Canadian legal community. Legaltree provides the fastest way for lawyers to get published, and puts the power to publish in the hands of the author. With your contributions, Legaltree can grow into a valuable resource that will assist lawyers with research while promoting the status of Legaltree contributors in the legal community. Currently Legaltree contains a taxonomy of research resources listing thousands of books and links to online resources, all organized in an intuitive taxonomy structure.
How is content on Legaltree.ca organised?
As the name suggests, content on Legaltree is organised in hierarchical tree-like taxonomy structures. Users click on a tree, and then drill down to find the information they need. Contributors write, edit, and publish their own pages at the location on a tree best suited to their content.
What’s in the Legaltree.ca forest?
o Research links & resources: This part of the site contains information about, and links to, research resources:
o Resources by subject area: A taxonomy of paper-based secondary sources and online resources covering all areas of law. This tree is frequently updated by the administrators as new sources are published, and should be the starting point for every lawyer researching a new topic of law. Identifying the key resources is half the research battle won.
o Case law & Legislation trees: Useful links to free online case law and legislation databases.
o Research aids: Links to online abbreviation databases and dictionaries, as well as information about research, writing, and citation.
The remainder of this tree contains information about, and links to, courts, names of judges, law organisations, law reform resources etc.
o Articles: This tree is the focus of Legaltree.ca and contains articles on substantive points of law contributed by Legaltree users. Any registered user can contribute pages (articles) to the Articles tree.
o News: This tree contains news contributed by registered Legaltree users, including short Supreme Court of Canada case summaries: ideal for busy lawyers who want to check for new cases in their area; links to the full text and headnotes of the cases are included.
o Books: This tree, along with the Articles tree, is the focus of Legaltree.ca and contains books on substantive points of law contributed by Legaltree users. Unlike articles, which are one-off contributions, books are frequently updated as the law develops, like is done for traditional looseleaf paper publications. The Books tree will hopefully grow to be a taxonomy covering all areas of law which, combined with the Articles tree, will be a comprehensive and up to date encyclopaedia of Canadian law.
Who should publish on Legaltree?
Because every lawyer’s practice is different, every lawyer has some unique and specialized knowledge that the legal community could benefit from. Legaltree gives all lawyers the power to publish, and every lawyer should do so. Unlike many print journals, Legaltree does not impose strict technical requirements for submissions; rather, the writer picks the topic, edits the material, and posts it. However, all contributions are required to be well-drafted, professional, and up to date. With Legaltree’s intuitive organisation and powerful search tool, users will find the information they need even if it is contained in a short article. Users can publish as much or as little as they want, and those with lots to offer can author their own books on an approved subject.
As lawyers research the law as part of their practice, they are encouraged to share what they learn with the community; particularly when it seems that the traditional secondary sources do not cover that particular point in detail. However, not all page contributions need relate to new developments in the law; summaries of the law that would help others less familiar with that area are also encouraged. Equipped with up to date knowledge at the end of a research task, writing Legaltree articles should involve relatively little effort.
As Legaltree grows in stature and prestige, having published on Legaltree will be worth noting on your resume or personal profile on your firm website. Contributors’ names are associated with the pages they publish and users can view the contributor’s profile which contains as much biographical and contact information as the contributor sees fit. Users retain the copyright in all information they publish, and are responsible for ensuring they do not infringe the copyright of third parties, especially their employers.
Becoming an author of a book on Legaltree:
Approved authors have the exclusive right to author a book on a particular legal subject area. Unlike paper publications, Legaltree allows authors to write their books in a piecemeal fashion, adding and editing chapters and pages as they please, while allowing users to view the parts that are already published.
Every lawyer should keep up to date with the developments in their chosen area of practice. Being the author of a dynamic electronic book on Legaltree provides an extra incentive to stay up to date on that area of law, while allowing authors to market themselves as leaders in their practice areas. For many lawyers, most of their clients are referred to them by other lawyers. Developing a reputation for excellence in a particular area will allow authors to grow their practice through referrals, and focus their practice on their primary areas of interest.