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Every Issue

Cite as: December 2010 84(12) LIJ, p.66

This month's reviews cover a legal blog, the Victorian Bar, guides to Victorian courts, tribunals and government departments, dispute resolution and a networking blog for lawyers.


The beauty of blogs is the amount of well-written, intelligent, freely accessible comment universally available. A good example is the Canadian legal blog Slaw. With its thoughtful articles on everything from the future of headnotes to billing targets driving female lawyers out of the profession, this resource makes a great read. Named Slaw as a result of creator Simon Fodden’s admiration for clever, cooperative blogs such as Slate and Salon, the site has regular and guest contributors of the likes of author and business leader Steven B Levy and prolific writer and law librarian Ruth Bird. Although Canadian in origin, topics are of general interest and cover all legal areas from justice issues to outsourcing to legal technology and marketing. The winner of numerous blog awards, Slaw is well worth a look.

Victorian Bar

When it comes to stereotypes, barristers are hard done by. Portraits of rogues, philanderers and miscreants are littered throughout popular culture. Bless those website producers and designers who have presented us with the Victorian Bar site. A clean, beautifully presented website provides information on such elements as community and justice activities, using and finding a barrister and Victorian Bar video channels. An advanced search allows users to locate a barrister by name, area of practice, years of experience or whether they speak a language other than English. Information on specialist groups such as the Climate Change and Environmental Law Panel and the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel is also presented.

Courts & Tribunals Victoria

Revamped to include the best elements of the old site with new improved features, the Victorian courts and tribunals portal provides a plethora of great resources for the public and the legal professional. The homepage links through to information about jury service, educational resources, judgments and e-filing facilities. The site also contains interesting news and updates on technological advances such as the iPhone Daily List app and the electronic filing appearance system (EFAS). Advice on such matters as what to expect when going to court and self-representation is provided and educational resources such as the “Day in the Life of a Registrar” videos may be of interest to legal studies teachers. Contact details for translation and interpretation services and assistance for the hearing impaired are available, as are useful links to a variety of community law sites.

Victoria Online Contacts and Services Directory

The winner of the government section of Australian Web Awards 2010, if there is one site to add to your favourites, this is it. Some clever website designers have taken on the difficult task of making an entire state’s information and services accessible and made it look easy. Via simple colour coding and tabs, users can access government department phone numbers with one click of the mouse. Maps and contact details of Victorian courts are equally easy to access. An advance search option can be limited to a person, organisation or service and search results are displayed in a neat table format. Anyone who has ever been frustrated by clicking on the “Contact Us” section of a website, only to be given an email option and nothing else, will be pleased with this service directory’s transparency.

Reaching Agreement

The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) provides free dispute resolution services to Victorians. The purpose of this site is to provide resources and identify solutions to common disputes. Popular videos on the website include “Can’t I just fix it myself? Do I have to talk to my neighbour first?”, “What is an agreement and what needs to be in it?” and “How do I deal with a neighbour who doesn’t speak my language?”. Videos are provided in many languages and in written transcripts and provide handy hints such as icebreakers when dealing with disputes. General information about the process of mediation and confidentiality is provided. Photos and information about DSCV staff add a personable touch to the website and the green and blue colour scheme could conceivably provide a calming influence for those going through the all too common issue of neighbourhood disputes.

The Sociable Lawyer Blog

Does the idea of making small talk at work functions make you break out in a sweat? Are you the wallflower staring intently at your iPhone, occasionally glancing up in the hope of recognising someone you know? The good news is that the web is full of helpful advice on overcoming this common fear and The Sociable Lawyer is a great place to start. A blog directory with links through to topics such as how to market yourself within a firm, utilising social media for professional networking and public speaking, The Sociable Lawyer is not-for-profit and, although New York-based, provides a platform for tips that have universal application. With free, thoughtful advice like this, before you know it, you’ll be working the room like a pro.

Website reviews are provided by the LIV library, ph 9607 9360; email We welcome suggestions for websites to include in this column. Neither the LIV nor the LIJ in any way endorses or takes any responsibility whatsoever for any material contained on external websites referred to by the LIJ.


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