Canada Law Book’s O’Brien’s Online

Is there anyone out there who ISN’T frustrated with Canada Law Book’s O’Brien’s Online?

After fielding yet another call from a lawyer who can’t get it to work and after having yet more problems with it myself and having learned, through a call to tech support, that the online “help” isn’t exactly correct, I requested a training session. Well, that was a laugh a minute in the way that if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry! The poor trainer. Almost every possible snafu that can possibly happen with O’Brien’s happened within the first 10 minutes of our training session after which we both determined that I don’t need training, we all just need an O’Brien’s Online that works.

My trainer told me (a bit sheepishly) that all of these problems are on the list for the technical people to fix but anyone who uses O’Brien’s Online knows that these issues have been around since the beginning and even though O’Brien’s Online is an add-on to the print O’Brien’s Forms and Precedents, there is every expectation that it should work.

I have instructed my lawyers to not use O’Brien’s Online but to ask me to use it for them until such time that the service improves. I have learned a few work-arounds with it that are just too unintuitive to expect others in the firm to learn. The frustrated one might as well be me, which doesn’t mean I have to be quiet about it.

I told my trainer (who was most understanding and apologetic, by the way) that having such a shoddy product really reflects badly on Canada Law Book as a whole. It tells me that Canada Law Book can’t do online products where the other major Canadian publishers producing online products can. My trainer encouraged me to make my voice heard by Canada Law Book but by raising the issue here I hope I’ve stepped that up a level.

Can anyone shed some light on this frustrating problem?


  1. I fear that I cannot shed much light on the problem but I can affirm that we are having issues with O’Brien’s Online as well. Are you getting a message that a .pl file is missing? Sometimes we are, sometimes we are not. It seems to depend on which browser you are using, O’Brien’s seems to like IE the best. We have also purchaseed Criminal Spectrum at the same time, which seems to be working fine. I have found that if I try to open O’Brien’s and it does not work, that if I go and open Criminal Spectrum and then go back to O’Brien’s that O’Brien’s will work. Our major problem seems to be in the scripts they use with the product. Nonetheless, I would say that they should not have debuted this product until these kinks were worked out.


  2. They had a previous version that required downloading of software or scripts to each machine using it which controlled who could view the final filled out form, and that was even more difficult to use.

    The challenge they face in creating this product isn’t so much making the text available, it is making forms that can be filled in electronically available.

    I haven’t used it very often…usually we are looking for forms from the other subject areas which are not online yet.

  3. Mark says: Are you getting a message that a .pl file is missing?

    Annette replies: I actually get a message there is a script error with the .pl file, but this only occurs when opening OBrien’s using Firefox.