The Place of Law in Cyberspace

David Altheide

Abstract


The focus of this paper is on the nature and impact of law and legal advice on the Internet - the Practice of Law in Cyberspace (PLICS). The social activities associated with people seeking help and advice from attorneys has cast the attorneys as priests and experts, and the public as outsiders. Internet technology is changing this. Five search terms that emerged from an exploratory overview of more than a million Web sites (across three search engines) provide examples from which more systematic research may emerge: "Lawyers" offered the most sites, followed by "'Legal Advice," "Legal Forms," and "Criminal Law." "Divorce Law" registered just under 400,000 sites across the three search engines. Access, control, surveillance and advertising, and ethics remain key issues to investigate. Mass communication theory and research illuminates key questions about information technology, communication formats, and social control that will influence what lawyers focus on in Internet messages and advertisement.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v7i6.963



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