In an increasingly widespread trend, Counsel Connect, the nation's leading online service exclusively for attorneys, has decided to jump from a proprietary platform onto the Web.
The service will still be exclusive to attorneys and protected by a firewall and encryption, but lawyers won't have to dial a separate number when they want some information from the service.
Instead, they'll simply pump in a user name and password while they're on the Web.
The move "was a response to the way the Web community was moving," said Rebecca Kramer, a spokeswoman for Counsel Connect. "That was where the future seemed to be--toward the Web instead of proprietary services."
The new service, she added, will be much easier to navigate. If attorneys choose to use it as their Internet service provider for an hourly fee, they can do so with much greater ease than they do today, she said.
Members need to show proof that they're attorneys before being let on the service. Fees for Counsel Connect range from $10 to $20 per month, depending on the plan.
The service is one of many geared specifically toward professionals who like to share information with colleagues only and have access to professional databases. Legal and medical online services are among the most popular because of their high demand for constantly updated research materials.
Professionals are not the only ones who like these services; advertisers love them too because they provide targeted markets with excellent demographics. For instance, drug companys can target ads specifically to specialists likely to use those drugs.