Update: Custom Google Search of Canadian Law Firms

I have made the following enhancements to my Custom Google Search of Canadian Law Firms available at http://tinyurl.com/canadianlawfirms:

– Renamed the site to “Search Canadian Law Firm Websites, Blogs & Journals”

– added 28 more law firms to include boutiques and regional (smaller) firms for a total of 79 Canadian law firms (and I broadened URLs to include subdomains of law firms [e.g., lawfirm.ca instead of http://lawfirm.ca/*]).

– added 205 Canadian law-related blogs

– added 20 Canadian law journal websites, the BC Courthouse Library and the CBA and CBAO

– added refinement tags to refine search results to publications (law firm publications), blogs or journals

I am still investigating other options, including adding more journal websites and improving refinements.

I am happy with the 79 Canadian law firm website chosen so far since, based on the Pareto principle, the firms I have chosen likely represent the majority of quality commentary in law firm bulletins. Drew Jackson at the BC Courthouse Library was kind enough to do a review here of my search engine (comparing it to Fee Fie Foe Firm and Lexology; however, I was not able to verify how Drew determined that Fee Fie Foe Firm searches 1500 Canadian law firm websites. If that number is correct, I assume Fee Fie Foe Firm is merely scraping URLs from some sort of list because I could not come close to trying to add that many Canadian law firm websites. Although my list of 79 law firm sites is not likely perfect (i.e., I may be missing some firms who produce commentary of possible interest), I like to think that I was careful in choosing “quality” over “quantity” in my site selection. I also like the fact that my site does not have advertisements, which tend to be annoying.

If SLAW readers spot problems or want to recommend sites that I should be adding, I am open to suggestions (it is fairly easy to tell if a site is not included – simply go to a site directly and find some unique phrase on that site and then search on that phrase on my search engine and if you do not get a result, the site is not likely included).

It appears that my site, among other things, picks up the abstracts from the Canadian Bar Review and other journals (although researchers should not use my search as a replacement for proper journal searching using the various print or online (for a fee) journal indexes or full-text journal databases (for a fee).

I like the “date filter” that Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada has. If I understand Custom Google Search correctly (and I may not – some of it is complicated), I would need to ask SLAW to host my search engine if I wanted to add the date filter (i.e., I could not find a way adding the date filter when the custom search is hosted on Google, as my search currently is). The other advantage of SLAW hosting it would be an improved “look and feel” to the search page.


  1. Slaw would be more than happy to host your search engine, Ted. Just let me know what needs to happen for that to become a reality.

  2. Thanks Simon. Will consider doing so.

    Note to users: the “refinement” buttons seemed to work when I added them at 2 am last night; however, when I use them now from my office computer, I am getting a blank screen so I will look into that issue when I have time (not right now).

  3. Update: the refinement links work. The problem I had encountered was a local technical issue we are having at my firm with Microsoft Internet Explorer web browsers (go figure). I have since confirmed the refinement links work using both MIE and Firefox. Comments, if any, are still welcome on any aspects of the search engine.

  4. Fantastic work, Ted, in so quickly enhancing your search engine of law firm content. In my blog posting on the three search tools, the number of sites covered by Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada came from email correspondence with the owner of that site, Damien MacRae. It would be great if, like you do with your search engine, Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada indicated the coverage of the search engine right on the site.

  5. I wrote to Fee Fie Foe Firm back in September asking which Canadian firms they indexed. Damien MacRae was kind enough to write back to tell me that the list of firms they search was “proprietary information that we can’t provide you.”

    If a database can’t or won’t tell you its scope, it’s considerably less useful for serious research. I suppose that a list of Canadian law firms can be a valuable object, but I’d be surprised if any such list had a significant market value.

  6. Good work Ted. When Google launched CSEs I produced several myself and since then I’ve tried a number of others designed for law and other domains. Genuine effort and expertise has gone into most of these; but they fail to engage because either one doesn’t know sufficiently precisely the scope of ones search, or if one does, one would prefer a different selection of sites, or the results feel unbalanced; and all the time one knows one will be missing some key results and those unexpected nuggets that a well-crafted global Google search would serve up. Narrowing the domain searched often takes away more than it gives.

    I see that ABA and Cornell have now launched Google CSEs and would be interested to see Slawyerly reviews of these too.