FindLaw’s aging core, part 2: The numbers

Yesterday, in Part 1 of this report, I explained that my survey of FindLaw’s index of legal Web sites found that 28 percent of the links were bad. Today, I provide a closer look at the numbers underlying my survey. In a third post, I will provide comments and observations on particular practice areas within FindLaw’s index.

To conduct my “site-check” survey of FindLaw’s Web index, I started from FindLaw’s legal professionals welcome page. At the top of that page is an index of “Resources by Practice Area.” For each practice area, I clicked through to the “Web Guide” and, under that, to the category, Web Sites. That brought up FindLaw’s list of Web sites for that practice area. I then simply clicked on each link and made note of the results. I did this for 24 of the 38 listed practice areas, focusing on the ones I believed to be most popular among legal professionals. I excluded from my review links to other pages within FindLaw. Thus my results tallied only links that were external to FindLaw. (I included links to West or Thomson pages, and found at least one of those to be dead.)

In total, I checked 1,427 links. I found 406 to be bad – for a failure rate of 28.5 percent. In general, I considered any link to be bad that did not point to what it described. This included Web sites that no longer exist, 404 messages for pages not found, messages for servers not found and expired redirects.

By practice area, here are the number of links checked, the number bad and the percent bad:

Administrative Law:

  • Total links: 13
  • Bad links: 6
  • Percent bad: 46.2

Admiralty Law:

  • Total links: 42
  • Bad links: 12
  • Percent bad: 28.6

Agriculture Law:

  • Total links: 12
  • Bad links: 4
  • Percent bad: 33.3

Antitrust & Trade Regulation:

  • Total links: 35
  • Bad links: 13
  • Percent bad: 37,1

Banking Law:

  • Total links: 31
  • Bad links: 9
  • Percent bad: 29

Bankruptcy Law:

  • Total links: 38
  • Bad links: 11
  • Percent bad: 28.9

Communications Law:

  • Total links: 35
  • Bad links: 9
  • Percent bad: 25.7

Constitutional Law:

  • Total links: 84
  • Bad links: 23
  • Percent bad: 27.4

Contracts:

  • Total links: 12
  • Bad links: 3
  • Percent bad: 25

Corporation & Enterprise Law:

  • Total links: 63
  • Bad links: 11
  • Percent bad: 17.5

Criminal Law:

  • Total links: 124
  • Bad links: 35
  • Percent bad: 28.2

Dispute Resolution & Arbitration:

  • Total links: 43
  • Bad links: 12
  • Percent bad: 27.9

Environmental Law:

  • Total links: 57
  • Bad links: 13
  • Percent bad: 22.8

Ethics & Professional Responsibility:

  • Total links: 21
  • Bad links: 7
  • Percent bad: 33.3

Family Law:

  • Total links: 106
  • Bad links: 21
  • Percent bad: 19.8

Gaming Law:

  • Total links: 28
  • Bad links: 15
  • Percent bad: 53.6

Health Law:

  • Total links: 107
  • Bad links: 34
  • Percent bad: 31.8

Injury and Tort Law:

  • Total links: 80
  • Bad links: 28
  • Percent bad: 35

Intellectual Property:

  • Total links: 80
  • Bad links: 22
  • Percent bad: 27.5

International Law:

  • Total links: 107
  • Bad links: 17
  • Percent bad: 15.9

Labor & Employment Law:

  • Total links: 128
  • Bad links: 43
  • Percent bad: 33.6

Probate, Trusts & Estates:

  • Total links: 61
  • Bad links: 27
  • Percent bad: 44.2

Property Law & Real Estate:

  • Total links: 62
  • Bad links: 18
  • Percent bad: 29

Securities Law:

  • Total links: 58
  • Bad links: 13
  • Percent bad: 22.4

Totals:

  • Total links: 1427
  • Bad links: 406
  • Percent bad: 28.5

As you can see, bad-link rates vary among the practice areas. The worst was gaming, with 54 percent of the links bad. The best was international law, where 15.9 percent were bad. Probate law had a surprising 44.2 percent of its links fail, and labor and employment had 33.6 percent fail.

In the final post of this series, I will comment on some of the specific sites listed and not listed for the practice areas I surveyed.