Cindy Chick Co-Publisher, LLRX.com
There are a lot of great Web sites out there, with an incredible amount of information. But there are only a handful that I go back to again and again during the course of a week. In some cases, I’m drawn back as a result of regular, voluntary, e-mail notifications that tell me about newly available information, such as with Company Sleuth, Law News Network and the Informant. Other sites simply provide information that I need frequently, such as with Casestream and Court Express. But that’s why personal favorites are, well, so personal. Everyone has different needs. Still, there are so many Web sites out there, it’s always a good idea to share favorites. It helps separate the useful from the useless, and we know there’s a lot of that going around! So at least for this week, here are the Web sites that I keep going back to regularly.
This site pulls together a variety of free information on public companies, and notifies you by email whenever there’s anything new. Included are stock quotes, news, new patents, new cases filed (from Casestream), recommendations from broker reports, SEC filings, and even discussions on the more popular message boards.
The Informant saves your favorite queries or URLs, and let’s you know when something new has appeared on the Web. Of course, as far as search engines go, “new” is a relative term, as it takes many search engines several weeks/months to do a lap of the Web. However, this is a handy, free service.
Somehow Corporate Intelligence doesn’t seem like the best name for a service that provides copies of patents, but whatever! When you want the complete image of the original patent, this is a great place to go. Corporate Intelligence has a better historical collection of patents than some of the other services, includes a post-issuance report, and is also very inexpensive at $2.95 per patent.
This is one great search engine. It may not have the best coverage, but the relevancy of the results can be astounding. It typically gives great results when looking for specific companies or specific web sites. But truth be told, it almost always gives me great search results no matter what I’m looking for. I always go to Google first. Keep in mind, however, that there are other search engines with better coverage of the Web, i.e., Northern Light, Altavista or Hotbot, so if you’re looking for something REALLY hard to find, don’t limit yourself to just one search engine.
Casestream has a new web service called Casestream Historical that let’s you search Pacer records by a variety of criteria including litigants, lawyers, judge, dates, etc. They’re able to do this because they’ve downloaded the Pacer information into their own computer system. They are not limited to the way Pacer allows you search, which is limited to one litigant or the docket number. It isn’t free, and requires a subscription, but it is pretty much pay as you go. And it will give you information you simply can’t retrieve any other way.
Another gateway to district court dockets, you can use CourtExpress to search for a case, retrieve the docket, and quickly and easily order the court documents you want. It will connect to Pacer and conduct your search while you go on and do other things, notifying you by email when it’s done. Another great feature is the ability to email the docket, in html format, directly to the requestor, which can then check off the documents they need and place the order, should they so choose. Also a pay as you go service.
Visto is a web-based PIM (Personal Information Manager). It includes an address book, free email, and task manager. If you use Outlook and Internet Explorer, you can “sync” the information on your PC with Visto, giving you web access to all your pertinent data. All right, I’ll admit, I haven’t been successful in syncing Outlook with Visto, but I know people who have, and they think it’s very cool, which gives me hope.
Law News Network
Brought to you by American Lawyer Media, you can subscribe to their free email service for the latest updates in the business of law. Free!
Cheap, REALLY cheap, public records information. Great for basic corporate info, UCC searches, etc., the source for their information is Information America, so it’s quality stuff. But watch out – they’ve just been bought by DBT Online (see LLRX Alerts), so it’s hard to say how much longer they’ll be around.