The Daily Internet

By Edward Poll
As appears in GP Solo, published by the American Bar Association, June 2002 at p. 55.

There is much to learn from the Internet... and much the Internet can do to complement your daily life. Just today, for example, I realized that I would not be in town for our local municipal elections and could no longer vote by mail. But finding the right phone number for voter information in a large city like L.A. is like finding a needle in a haystack. For once, I took my own advice, went to the Internet, and searched under "County of Los Angeles." In less than a minute, I had the right number, made the call, and arranged an absentee ballot. Now, my vote can count.

Another website new to me is, which claims to have a movie selection 10 times larger than the biggest video store. After opening an account, you submit a list (as long as you want) of films; netflix sends the movies or DVDs, to a maximum of three which you can keep as long as you want. When youre done, send them back in the pre-paid mailer. Your next choice is then automatically sent.

Still another new toy Ive found belongs to the Los Angeles public library, which is one of the largest in the world. A few years ago, the building in which I had spent so much time doing term papers was nearly destroyed by fire. Its replacement is a marvelous structure and one of its important new features is online catalog of the entire collection. I can search, find what I need, have it transferred to my neighborhood branch. Although you may be unlikely to use the Los Angeles Public Library, do check with your towns online library  you could discover a whole new world.

How do law libraries match up? We know major universities have marvelous sites, but what about local law libraries, where you actually get the volume(s) you need? I found my local law library, maintained by the County of Los Angeles, online, searched cycling, my favorite personal topic, and found a new fact - someone actually wrote a book about U.S. bicycling laws - a compilation of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances.

I also use the Internet for researching and receiving magazines, books, and catalogs, at Hundreds, if not thousands, of resources are available, with searchable listings by topic that give further information.

Exploring Returns on Investments

    A firm examines payback period, cash flow improvements, and profitability. Do you buy technology with this type of analysis in mind?

These sites suggest how lawyers might quantify our services to demonstrate returns on investments. Do your services help clients reduce waste, improve consistency, solve equipment or staffing challenges, create capacity, reduce cycle times, or improve reliability? If so, consider incorporating an ROI analysis into your client presentation.

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