On Wednesday, the world’s largest legal vertical search engine – Public Library of Law – launched in partnership with legal research provider Fastcase Inc. According to Fastcase CEO Ed Walters, “It makes first-time legal research as easy as using Google.”
Working in a library, this intrigues me. I’m always looking for new sources, and faster ways to find things, or places to send patrons that aren’t too difficult to navigate and use.
So what’s included in the pLoL? Located at Plol.org, the site indexes cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and all 50 states going back to 1997. It also includes federal statutory law and codes from all 50 states, and regulations, court rules, and constitutions. If you’re looking to do research further back than 1997, pLoL isn’t going to be of much use to you.
The site is not directed towards lawyers and those intimately familiar with law. Rather, it’s designed to attract your everyday consumer, much in the fashion that people visit sites like WebMD to look up basic health information.
Will it be a success? We shall see. But one thing’s for certain, if they want people to find out about it, they need to really fire up their marketing people. When I think of easy-to-find legal info, I think of FindLaw.com. I’m not yet convinced of pLoL.