County Legal Reporters are a unique piece of Pennsylvania's legal landscape. All counties, except the smallest and least populous, maintain legal journals that report local court opinions, feature announcements and information and provide a forum for state mandated legal advertising. The Lycoming Reporter has been providing this service since 1946.
One criticism of the county legal journal system is that lawyers, bankers or any other interested citizen, outside of the regular subscriber base, have no access to the county's legal advertising. Recently, the legislature has considered several initiatives that would have diminished the role of local legal advertising in favor of online services, that would, arguably, have wider availability to the public.
The Conference of County Legal Journals is the voice of Pennsylvania legal reporters. Recently, the CCLJ initiated an inclusive and comprehensive effort to provide statewide access to county legal journals. A "one-stop shopping" site for state legal advertising was launched at the beginning of 2013. The site, www.palegalads.org, provides access to all Pennsylvania county legal journals.
In 2012, the Lycoming Law Association agreed to participate in this statewide initiative. All legal advertising from the Lycoming Reporters issued in 2013 are already in the state database, and older issues will be added in the next several months.
Of course, the LLA has been posting the Reporter online since April 2010, with good results. Monthly statistics have shown that the Reporters are among the most heavily accessed features of the lycolaw.org website.
The Pa Legal Ads site provides significantly greater functionality. Using the search features on the Pa Legal Ads site, a researcher can search the content of legal ads by individual counties or in all counties at once. The original content appears, with the searched-for language highlighted. Advanced searches can narrow the results.
In joining this CCLJ initiative, the Lycoming Reporter hopes to become more available and relevant in these times of easy access to public information. While the site is in its infancy and is likely to need some "tweaking" in its youth, Pa Legal Ads will soon become known as a powerhouse in providing easy and comprehensive access to Pennsylvania legal advertisments.