Websites relating to the Faculty of Advocates have moved on from a year ago

It was only last February that I last reviewed advocates’ websites. Since then, things have moved on significantly – to the extent that I feel it is worth another look.

Faculty of Advocates

www.advocates.org.uk

I have, in the past, been fairly unpleasant about the Faculty’s website. That is, unpleasant – but fair. However, substantial changes have now been put in place although I am certain that these have been in no way influenced by my repeated complaints.

The first thing that strikes the visitor on arriving at the site is that it now looks much more presentable. A tabular approach to layout means that everything is neatly ordered and a judicious use of images means that the overall effect is very attractive. The site looks busy and professional.

It also works well. It is quite simple to find the advocate you are looking for, and being able to search by area of particular interest is a real step forward. The PDF versions of the advocates’ profiles are also handy to print out and keep (especially for new entrants).

It is not immediately apparent that “Instructing Advocates” is the correct link to hit when you are looking for information on a particular advocate, but this is a lesson which is quickly learned. The site map is well laid out and the use of links at the top, bottom and right hand side of every page means you are never going to be lost for long.

There have also been big strides taken towards the accessibility of the site, and it now appears to work quite well in this regard, even when I tried visiting using the Lynx text browser [http://lynx.browser.org] – so, well done Faculty!

Murray Stable

www.murraystable.com

The website of the Murray Stable has also had a facelift, and very nice it looks too. The website itself fulfils many of the same functions of the Faculty site, but for Murray Stable members only. It is visually even more attractive, being both easier on the eye (fewer graphics, but good use of colour) and slightly less busy – which on the Faculty site was just tending towards crowded, particularly for those with smaller browser windows.

The site is of high quality in terms of accessibility and web standards, which is gratifying – e.g. allowing use of access keys to make it easier to navigate for users with visual or motor impairments.

The feature on the site which will keep you coming back for more, though, is the articles section. At the time of writing there were a total of 12 articles on the site, each written by a member of the stable, covering topics from the director’s fiduciary duty of loyalty to an update on race discrimination cases. The site appears to be attracting new articles at the rate of a handful every month, so repeat visits are likely to be rewarded. Better still, the articles are licensed under a Creative Commons (www.creativecommons.org)licence which, briefly, allows you to reproduce it for non-commercial purposes, provided that the author and source are properly credited. Such generosity! Thank you Murray Stable.

Steven Walker, Advocate

www.stevenpwalker.com

IN the last review I reported that Jonathan Mitchell QC was the only advocate with his own website (www.jonathanmitchell.info). He has recently been joined by two others. Of those two, Steven Walker’s is the more comprehensive, although that’s not really saying much. His site is essentially a brochure for his services, and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the brochure is as glossy as this one.

In fact, there is little information on the site which one could not find on the Faculty website so, unless you are particularly keen on Steven Walker photographs, there are few reasons to visit. Also, the site is horribly inaccessible and is organised using frames, which deserves condemnation in and of itself.

Scott Blair’s Blog

www.scottblairadvocate.blogspot.com

An exciting new development for the legal world, an advocate with a blog. Or, to use the correct terminology for legal bloggers, a blawg (sic).

A blog is an interactive online journal of sorts, where the blogger posts regular musings and the readers can post comments on same. Scott Blair’s postings are informative, interesting, well written and number a grand total of three since April 2005. Not a must visit site, if truth be told.

If anyone is aware of an advocate with their own website, or of any blogging solicitors in Scotland, please let me know by emailing  iain@wordjam.org – thanks.


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