By Nerino Petro at 11 September, 2009, 8:16 am
Just when you thought it was safe to start searching the internet after the release of Wolfram|Alpha , a new legal research tool was announced today by Miles Technologies called LegalGrub.com . According to the announcement, LegalGrub.com is supposed to make lawyers research lives easier by conducting searches only "…of the top law firms all across the country." Sounds impressive, but after looking and trying the site, I was left with more questions than answers: Who are these "top" firms? Who selected them? Are they paying to be listed? For most lawyers, these are pretty standard questions that come to mind when someone is trying to sell them a research tool on which their licenses and clients cases may depend.According to the announcement:
Your search in each category will only search the sites of top law firms that are renowned in that practice area, providing you with very focused and specific results. No more having to sift through hundreds of irrelevant Google search results. Most attorneys will find what they are looking for up to 10 times faster than using typical search engines. Best of all, it’s available to you at absolutely no charge!
Pretty amazing claims for any search provider in my opinion, but when I ran searches on a topic such as "riparian rights", I didn’t have to sift through a bunch of results because LegalGrub only returned two results.I had similar results in searching for "dog bite" issues. It did do a better job on "redacting confidential information", but it included some irrelevant results as well.
Without a full disclosure of how the firms that provide its information are selected and who they are, I don’t see LegalGrub.com being considered as a serious and trustworthy search tool for lawyers. Web research, including legal web research, are dominated by some major players. If LegalGrub.com wants to become known as a provider of valuable niche resources, then full disclosure is the only way that will probably happen.
LegalGrub,com’s tag line is "Legal Food for Laweyrs" – for this lawyer, I came and "ate" but ended up leaving hungry.