52 RI Bar J., No. 6, Pg. 17 (May, 2004). Why Your Firm Needs an Intranet and How To Create One.

AuthorRoland F. Chase, Esq.

Rhode Island Bar Journal

Volume 52.

52 RI Bar J., No. 6, Pg. 17 (May, 2004).

Why Your Firm Needs an Intranet and How To Create One

Why Your Firm Needs an Intranet and How To Create OneRoland F. Chase, Esq.Roland F. Chase is of counsel to the Newport firm of Miller Scott & Holbrook and an adjunct professor at Roger Williams University School of Justice Studies.Three questions to help you decide whether your firm would benefit from establishing an intranet:

  1. Are your computers linked together on a Local Area Network (LAN)?

  2. Do you rely to a significant extent on being able to adapt and re-use information previously created or assembled in your practice, such as pleading and practice forms, letters, memoranda, and briefs?

  3. Do you have trouble finding this kind of information, as in "I know I researched this issue and wrote a long memo on it - now where is it?"

If your answers to these questions are yes, yes, yes, then you could probably benefit from establishing an intranet. This article will show you how. (fn1)

First, a definition. For lawyers, an intranet is an in-house web site that serves the attorneys and staff of the firm, giving them access through their computers to various kinds of information. It is to be distinguished from an extranet, which is a web site for clients of the firm, giving them access to confidential client information over the public internet, but keeping the general public out through the use of passwords.

Because an intranet is basically made up of the same kind of web pages that are familiar to anyone who has ever surfed the web, there is no learning curve involved in implementing a law firm intranet. Using a mouse, the attorney clicks on a button that says, for example, Briefs and Memos, which jumps to a subject matter page; click on Personal Injury and then Damages and voila! There they are: eight briefs and memos written over perhaps a dozen years which discussed some aspect of personal injury damages. One more click opens up the selected document, ready for reading, cutting and pasting.

What goes on the intranet?What other kinds of information, besides briefs and memos, can be made available on a law firm intranet? Pleadings are an obvious choice, such as complaints for various causes of action, and forms of all kinds, from simple wills or leases to complex business arrangements. In fact, every...

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