In the future, 2020 will be seen as a symbol of change, adversity, adaptation, and resilience. At Justia, we overcame the challenges of this year and were able to complete projects and launch new initiatives as part of our commitment to consumers and the legal community.
2020 is coming to an end. Good. Without a doubt, this year will go into history as one that brought many changes to people’s lives. The COVID-19 pandemic, which affected every corner of the world, posed many challenges to people and businesses throughout 2020. Our team at Justia, working from their homes and using Google Meet and Slack, completed a wide range of projects that benefited attorneys and consumers.
Free Law: All of our projects furthered the objective of making law and legal resources free for all, including the general public, students, businesses, and legal professionals.
For example, we created a COVID-19 Information Center, both in English and in Spanish, covering US and Mexico laws, regulations, and policies. We expanded and updated the content of our portals with updated state codes, business contracts, legal forms, and even legal jobs newsletters. Also, we strengthened content designed for the Spanish-speaking public by updating legal codes on our Justia Mexico Portal and by launching our Justia Avanza Blog.
Lawyer Marketing Products & Services: As part of our commitment to helping consumers find the right lawyers, and helping lawyers find clients, we added new and improved features in the Justia Lawyer Directory. We upgraded the search functionalities, added practice services and hours, and included video conference services, which were very relevant this year due to social distancing and the widespread use of home offices. Another milestone was the launch of Justia Amplify, our enhanced portfolio of advertising channels to help lawyers with their online marketing strategies with Google, Facebook, and Bing.
We invite you to explore this month-by-month record of our achievements in areas such as content, design, and engineering.
Updated Mexico Federal Criminal Code Released on Justia Mexico Portal
The Mexico Federal Criminal Code has undergone many reforms in recent years in an effort to improve the justice system. In 2020, changes to the Code included criminal penalties for copyright violations and other forms of intellectual property protection. Many citizens of Mexico refer to these provisions of Mexico’s federal laws, and citizens were kept more informed with this update.
Video Chat & Conferencing Services Added to Justia Lawyer Directory
As the coronavirus pandemic began, Justia recognized the importance of transacting conversations by phone and video chat. Our team helped lawyers continue their practices by posting and sharing resources on video chat and conferencing services, such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and Facetime.
To help consumers find lawyers who provide video conferencing, we added the ability for lawyers to display the video chat services that they offer, as well as a video chat filter in the Justia Lawyer Directory Search. Lawyers who offer video chat also receive a Video Chat & Conferencing badge on their attorney profiles and on listing pages, allowing visitors to easily find lawyers who offer these services.
Oyez Blog Launched: Oral Argument 2.0
Justia and the Legal Information Institute (LII) of Cornell Law School helped Oyez launch a new blog, in which law professors and other legal experts weigh in on some of the most pressing questions that arise during the Supreme Court’s oral arguments. Spearheaded by Cornell law professors Sherry F. Colb and Jareb Gleckel, JD, the new blog, titled Oral Argument 2.0, brings together some of the most distinguished minds in legal academia to answer the Justices’ questions soon after they are made during oral argument, but before the final decision of the case has been made, thus potentially assisting in the Court’s decision making.
Corporate Law Center Released on Justia Mexico Portal
Justia released a resource on several areas of Mexican law that regulate the conduct of corporations. Our new Mexico corporate law center is divided into five sections, consisting of business formation, company legal representatives, corporate books, licenses and permits, and privacy policies. In addition to summaries of the law, the sections include FAQs and resources on the Justia Mexico portal, secondary materials, and government websites.
COVID-19 Resources Center Released on Justia Mexico Portal
As the coronavirus pandemic loomed, Justia created a resources center for Mexican lawyers and consumers to learn about regulations and notices related to COVID-19. The COVID-19 resources center is updated on a daily basis. It contains a list of links to official COVID-19 information on government sites, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and the main government COVID-19 site. The center also provides daily updates related to the pandemic from the Official Gazette of the Federal Government, which includes new laws, decrees, regulations, legal notices, and court decisions.
COVID-19 Center Released on Justia USA Portal
The coronavirus pandemic substantially affected the legal rights and obligations of individuals and businesses throughout the US. Justia’s US COVID-19 center provides an overview of key laws that were issued in response to the pandemic, such as the CARES Act, shelter-in-place orders, and protections for employees, tenants, taxpayers, and debtors. The COVID-19 center also provides information on changes to policies and procedures, such as immigration restrictions and court closures. Over the course of this year, we supplemented the core content of the COVID-19 center with 50-state surveys on topics such as reopening plans, travel restrictions, eviction and foreclosure protections, court operations, and unemployment benefits.
Hours of Operation Added to Justia Lawyer Directory
Justia added a new feature that allows lawyers in the Justia Lawyer Directory to list their hours of operation for each day of the week. Attorneys can provide their open times and close times Sunday through Saturday. There is also an option to state that services are available 24 hours.
Spanish-Language Version of Justia Onward Blog Launched: Justia Avanza
The Justia Onward blog provides news and insights related to legal marketing and technology. We recognized the importance of making this information available to Spanish-speaking communities (lawyers and consumers) in the US, Mexico, and other Hispanic countries. Thus, we launched Justia Avanza, the Spanish-language version of Justia Onward.
Mexican Law School Resources Released on Justia Mexico Portal
There are over 1,000 law schools in Mexico, and choosing the right school can be challenging. Organized by state, our listings of Mexican law schools contain information related to admissions, law degrees, and scholarships, as well as FAQs. We also provide information related to the evaluation and accreditation organizations of legal education. This resource is the most complete list of law schools in Mexico that is available online.
Justia Lawyer Directory Adds Recently Viewed / Save / Compare Lawyers Features
To help consumers find attorneys who are suited to their needs, the Justia Lawyer Directory introduced three new features this spring. Users can return efficiently to a profile that they have recently viewed by using the Recently Viewed tab at the bottom of Justia Lawyer Directory pages, or a separate page that lists their recently viewed profiles. The Save icon on profile pages and listing pages makes it easier to save an attorney profile to find and view later, since it will show up in the Saved tab at the bottom of Justia Lawyer Directory pages, as well as on a separate page. Most importantly, the Compare feature allows users to compare important details of different attorneys side by side before making a choice on whom to contact.
Justia Portal Introduces Business Contracts Center
The Business Contracts center provides free access to thousands of business contracts and legal agreements from SEC filings. The contracts are organized by type of contract, industry, and company name. Types of contracts include business finance, business formation, business operations, human resources, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate.
COVID-19 Q&A Added to Justia Ask a Lawyer
The Justia Ask a Lawyer service allows consumers to ask specific legal questions to which attorneys can respond. To help people read answers to questions related to COVID-19, our team created a separate COVID-19 Q&A page, which is organized by practice area and by state. A list of recent questions and answers related to COVID-19 appears below these categories.
Redesign of Justia Legal Jobs Site Launched
To help new and experienced lawyers maximize their employment opportunities, Justia now provides a monthly newsletter that features job listings. More than 40 jobs across the US are featured in each issue, which is provided free of charge to job seekers. You can read the most recent issue at the Justia Legal Jobs site or subscribe to the newsletter there. The site also provides a form to submit a legal job to be included in the newsletter, as well as a list of additional career resources.
US Law School Resources Added to Justia Portal
Our team redesigned our US law school resources to make them more visually appealing and accessible to mobile users. We added an FAQs page and a list of law reviews and journals, organized by law school. In addition, we now provide social media profiles for each law school and links to additional resources.
Justia Helps Lawyers With Google Local Services Ads
This summer, Google released a new product known as Local Services Ads (LSAs), which are placed at the very top of the search results pages. Our marketing specialists recognized the importance of this development, and we became one of the first entities in the industry to start assisting lawyers with LSAs. Among other tasks, we gathered data for our clients, helped them complete the screening process to obtain the Google Screened badge, and optimized their LSA profiles. We have direct contact with dedicated Google representatives, which helps us offer valuable insights and recommendations on how to use the LSA platform.
Expansion of Forms Surveys Continues
Throughout the year, we launched a series of resources that provide forms for consumers and businesses in key legal areas. These include uncontested divorce, child custody, adoption, guardianships, business formation, patents, trademarks, immigration, and more. Each resource summarizes the core principles in that legal area and provides links to forms that individuals or entities can use to pursue their goals. Many of these forms are available at no cost from the federal and state governments.
Administrative Codes Released to the Public Free of Charge
As part of our mission to provide free legal content to consumers, we released the administrative codes of all 50 US states in XML format. They are provided free to the public with no restrictions on their use. This project was made possible through a collaboration with PublicResource.org, FastCase, and the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. The codes will be updated quarterly for the next five years, and with lawyers and computer scientists of the Legal Information Institute, additional functionality will be provided in the future.
New Criminal Law Pages Added to Justia Mexico Portal
Our team expanded the resources that we provide on criminal law in Mexico. We divided the new pages in the criminal law center on the Justia Mexico portal into five sections. These cover the criminal justice system, cybercrimes, possession of firearms and dangerous weapons, domestic violence, and bribery. Each section includes links to other resources on the Justia Mexico portal, including relevant laws, codes, and government sites, as well as an FAQ section with additional crosslinks and external links.
California Jury Instructions Updated on Justia Portal
For both civil and criminal trials, jury instructions can play a vital role in shaping the proceedings. We provide civil and criminal jury instructions for California among our free legal resources. This fall, we updated these instructions to 2020 versions.
Links to Latest Versions of State Codes Provided on Previous Years’ Versions
New versions of federal and state statutes are issued each year. If a user reaches a version of a statute from an earlier year, they may want to view the latest version. Our team added links to most codes on the Justia Portal that will allow users to travel directly from an older page to a newer version of the same page without any intermediate steps.
Justia Company Site Redesigned
At Justia, we are committed to making law and legal resources free for all. We are proud of providing a platform for the legal community to share knowledge. The new design of our company site allows us to present our core vision more clearly. It describes what we do and who we are, as well as providing an overview of the legal resources and marketing solutions that we offer.
Related Services for Practice Areas Added to Justia Lawyer Directory
To help consumers connect efficiently with attorneys suited to their needs, we introduced a feature that allows lawyers in the Justia Lawyer Directory to specify the services that they provide in selected practice areas. Services are essentially the types of cases or matters that a lawyer handles within a practice area. For example, some immigration lawyers might focus on work visas, while others might concentrate on deportation defense. Consumers can find lawyers who offer services related to a practice area either by filtering the results on a practice area listing page or by using the autocomplete feature when searching for a lawyer.
Justia Amplify Surges Forward
Over the previous few months, we merged our Google Ads, Google LSA, Microsoft Bing Ads, and Facebook marketing services into Justia Amplify. This enhanced and reimagined product offers a portfolio of advertising channels that are known to increase conversions and improve your ROI. Our marketing professionals devise strategies for clients that integrate these Google, Microsoft, and Facebook advertising opportunities. Other features of Justia Amplify include a review of a client’s Google My Business listing and the creation of automated rotating GMB posts. We also provide customized client review pages that attorneys can send to their clients to facilitate the process of leaving a review on a directory. Justia Amplify users receive reports and suggestions on their marketing strategies each month.
Family Law Content Expanded on Justia Mexico Portal
Justia has added a substantial amount of content to the family law center of our Mexico portal. The new content will cover issues such as premarital agreements, family property, and alimony debtors, among others. Each topic will include crosslinks to other content on the Justia Mexico portal and external links to relevant laws, codes, and government sites, as well as an FAQ section that also includes crosslinks and external links.
Federal & State Codes Updated & Additional Government Areas Added
Throughout the year, our team updated the US Code and the codes of all 50 states. We also updated the codes of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
After revisiting this year and all that we achieved, we want to thank all of the people – staff, collaborators, team, clients, and the general public – who supported us in our mission of making legal resources more accessible to all.