The Complete Law Portal

Lawbore™ is made for undergraduates like you!

If you've just come from a lecture and your head is spinning, let us help you back onto steady ground. Lawbore is City University's law portal and our pages are jam-packed with useful content to get you deep into your subject. Here's what each sub-site does:

1) The Link Directory: your topic-by-topic Web guide

Our law librarian Emily has hand-picked the choicest links to key websites, blogs and documents, so you can hit the ground learning. With over 1100 entries split across no less than 38 legal topics, our guides are the perfect place to begin researching an assignment. Every link has a sub-category, a description, a screenshot and a popularity statistic, so you'll be able to tell instantly if it might be useful to you.

2) Learnmore: for multimedia law skills tutorials

Don't worry - our Learnmore head doesn't feel any cold with his brain exposed like that! Inside it you'll find talking slideshows, articles, video guides and interactive presentations written and composed by knowledgable lecturers, librarians and alumni. Because studying law is a scary place when you start out, we designed Learnmore specifically for newbies and crammed it full of ideas on getting the most out of lectures, moots, exams and the law library.

3) Future Lawyer: our careers and alumni blog

We can't predict the future, but we know one thing for sure: if you're going to become a lawyer you'll need to keep up-to-date with the hottest issues in the legal profession. That's why Emily started the Future Lawyer blog. Featuring articles and opinion from across the legal sphere as well as interviews with successful course alumni and sections for future barristers and solicitors alike, it's an ideal entry point to the greater world of law careers.

4) The City Hub: news and databases for our own students

Don't be jealous if you're not studying here, but the City Hub is all for our own students at the City Law School in London! The City Hub is where we collect all the school news, events, useful links, databases, e-journals and the like. Plus it's got your book needs covered with a board for trading textbooks and a visual carousel of our law library's latest acquisitions. Oh and don't forget to follow Emily's Twitter feed for her run down of recent news, articles and off-the-cuff randomness!

Hey, don't leave yet!

The tabs down the left-hand side of this page take you to other sections of these About Us pages, featuring a history of Lawbore, academic references, information on contributing and full development and content credits. Click the tabs to slide between the different pages (because we just love animated stuff!)

Origins of Lawbore

Name that year!

The Euro went into circulation, the Queen was celebrating her Golden Jubilee, Brazil won the World Cup... oh, and equally monumentously (for us) City University law librarian Emily Allbon first registered the domain name lawbore.net!

There were a few legal portals around at the time but they were either too brief or too detailed in their source descriptions to appeal to undergraduates. She felt that a new site based around the modules being studied would give students confidence to research online and broaden their reading, even without access to subscription databases like LexisLibrary and Westlaw.

Andy Bromley, a City LLB student at that time built the original site using freely available portal software. The site initially contained the topic guides and some other basic functionality like a regular poll on a legal talking point and news headlines, and the first recognisable incarnation of Lawbore was born.

And the year? 2002!

Building on it

Lawbore soon took off as a popular and well-used resource, so it naturally wasn't long before we wanted to add to the site. The next developments included an area for articles written by City staff and alumni, a chat forum and an alumni service. The Lawbore logo took the form of a computer mouse spirally 'boring' into the word Lawbore ... which incidentally explains the site name. It's about boring (drilling) into the topic, and nothing to do with law being boring, of course!

By 2005 the site had become an integral part of the Law School at City University and received wider attention both in the UK and abroad. Emily delivered papers at conferences in the UK and the US about the development of the site, and was very proud to be named the Best Legal Information Professional in an Academic Environment at the BIALL/LexisNexis Awards for Excellence.

Andy Bromley graduated with his LLB and so Emily went on the hunt for a new developer to bring her ideas to life. After getting in touch with an old City colleague, Howard Richardson, who had since gone freelance, Lawbore took on a new lease of life. Key developments were around the idea of Lawbore as a community site for the Law School - the chat forum, together with noticeboards for the different courses run at City were popular additions, as was a further focus on getting our alumni involved - asking them to write 'Day in the Life' pieces on where they are now.

Story continued in the next tab "A Site Evolving"...

A Site Evolving

Rebuilding from scratch

By 2007, however, the cracks were beginning to show in a site that hadn't originally been designed for many of the new web trends and standards that were emerging then. There was also the question of space on the screen, because of the ever growing amount of information that we were trying to fit onto the front page.

To top it off, the code which ran the site dated back to the dotcom boom and was buggy and inflexible. It represented ever a greater security risk, and the expanding site was becoming harder and harder to administer for Emily using its primitive tools.

And so the decision was made to remodel the site from scratch and dump as much of the old code and livery as possible, building it again from the ground up on technologies that would hopefully last into the coming decade.

Lawbore was split up into different colour-themed sections: the Topic Guides, the City Hub for community stuff and Learnmore was introduced, a legal skills wiki to help students learn core skills around mooting and legal research. All the images in the Topic Guides were refreshed, with some custom-drawn. Topic Guides and news feeds were made much more dynamic with javascript letting you instantly preview items, and RSS feeds were added across the board.

Owl-power

Most noticably, with the coming of the 2007 redesign, the old serious-looking Lawbore logo changed instead to a perky owl shaped like a computer screen, and whole the tone of the site was shifted to make it friendlier, in a quirky way. Not every student was convinced!

The Lawbore forum had its share of long-time users complaining that the site was being dumbed down to appeal to children! However after some useful feedback a few tweaks the site reached its currently recognisable state. We're always trying our best to tread the fine line of offering serious resources in a fun and accessible manner.

Several other designs were considered at this stage, and you can see some development shots below that didn't make it.

Lawbore Today

The blog and Lawbore Professional

In 2009, the focus shifted to law careers. Massively increased competition for any form of work experience for law students made Emily want to help students start earlier on planning their futures. She made contact with a lot of alumni and started the Future Lawyer blog, to include interviews with alumni, articles and useful career-based law news.

The earliest items included: an interview with the lawyer for the Glastonbury Festival (a City alumni), a reflection on the GDL, insights into commercial awareness and an account of working to represent those on death row. A Calendar was added to flag up legal events as well as a Lawbore Twitter feed.

Additionally a sister site called Lawbore Professional was launched for City students on the LPC and then BVC (now BPTC) courses, based on the original site but with relevant practice guides written by the library staff at Grays Inn Place.

Learning more with interactive media

2010 was a big year for Learnmore; teaming up with Sanmeet Kaur, Lecturer in Law at City, Emily embarked on a re-imagining of Learnmore. The early incarnation was let down visually - the very structured form inherent in wikis was a bit of a turn off for students, so we set about making a site which would appeal more, with plenty of visuals and much more interactivity.

Mooting was a big focus - we filmed hours and hours of our students in action in order to create a range of resources to make this potentially scary pastime more approachable (big thanks to Steve McCombe for filming and editing). A big emphasis was placed on getting students involved in the creation of content as much as possible.

Into the future

2011 heralded the arrival of the new library books carousel to make sure our new titles find readers, lots more content added to Learnmore, a new small ads section, and (finally) the killing off of the old chat forum. Gone are the days when students debated on the big topics of the day: Where next for constitutional reform? Offer or invitation to treat? Which lecturer is the best looking? ... It's a shame, but it had to go!

Pairing Lawbore with Moodle, our VLE, has been an important challenge, and a first for us was the first promotional Lawbore movie, which you can see above.

Moving into the future, we've now completed a full redesign, switching the colour scheme back to the original white and building in compatibility with ipads at the same time. Visually the site is now more coherent and we've tied everything together with some funky custom-drawn art from the talented Texan artistKat Marshello. Learnmore has been taken apart and put back together again in terms of categorisation to make it even more user-friendly. Oh and we've added quite a few new front-page boxes and made many small usability improvements that you might not spot, but, believe us, they make all the difference. Phew!

The City Law School

Legal excellence in the heart of London

At The City Law School, part of City University London, we’re committed to the provision of online resources to support our students. Our acclaimed legal resource portals, Lawbore and Lawbore Professional, are designed to give you the content and tools to support you throughout your legal education.

The City Law School is one of London’s major law schools. Offering an impressive range of academic and professional courses, we’re the first law school in London to provide courses for students and practitioners at all stages of legal education.

With three levels of study – undergraduate, postgraduate and professional – we offer courses suitable for everyone interested in following a career in law no matter what stage they are at. The School also offers a wide range of tailored CPD courses for qualified lawyers and those in associated professions.

Our courses

Undergraduate:

  • LLB Law

Postgraduate:

  • Graduate Entry LLB
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • LLM in EU Commercial Law
  • LLM in EU Law
  • LLM in International Banking and Finance
  • LLM / M.Jur in International Commercial Law
  • LLM in International Competition Law
  • LLM in International Energy Litigation
  • LLM in Maritime Law (UK)
  • LLM in Maritime Law (Greece)
  • LLM in Public International Law
  • LLM in Criminal Litigation
  • LLM in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership
  • PhD, MPhil or LLM by Research

Professional:

  • Legal Practice Course
  • Bar Professional Training Course
  • LLM in Professional Legal Practice
  • LLM in Professional Legal Skills
  • CPD courses

For more information:
+44 (0)20 7040 3309
law@city.ac.uk
www.city.ac.uk/law

Emily's thanks...

In the early days of Lawbore work was made possible via funding from Library Services, however for some years the The City Law School has funded development. We think it says a lot that not only the Law School think it's worth investing in the growth of the site for its students, but also that they are willing to make it available to everyone for free. We're all really greatful for their support and encouragement over Lawbore's many years.

Acdemic References

Lawbore papers

Lawbore has for many years attracted a lot of interest from both law students and those working within the field of legal information. Emily has been lucky enough to have been asked to spread the Lawbore word by giving papers at various conferences, seminars and events, both in the UK and the US.

If you're interested in finding out more about Lawbore's origins, its development or indeed its creator then check out the following articles:

Lawbore conference slides

2012 was a busy year for conferences with Emily speaking at 3 conferences:

Other Lawbore-related features

Legal Cheek podcast – Future of legal blogging

Lawbore reviews and awards

Emily was named Best Academic Legal Information Professional for her work on Lawbore at the BIALL/LexisNexis Awards for Excellence in 2005.

The team behind Lawbore was also shortlisted for Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards in June 2009, and Lawbore was recommended in a January 2009 Times article called "Clever law students let the web do the work".

Some journals have also reviewed Lawbore. Here are a couple of excerpts which we have been able to provide as PDFs:

Internally within City University Emily has received much recognition of her work as a law librarian and as creator of Lawbore: In 2011 being given a Student Voice Award (nominated by students) for her support, Customer Service Award by the Law School and the Robert Kitchin Award for outstanding contribution to City University.

At the BIALL Conference 2012 Emily was named ‘BIALL/Wildy Law Librarian of the Year’, you can read the comment piece and the night’s award speeches.

Write for us!

Be published on the UK's top student law portal

We're always looking for people to volunteer new content for our pages. That could be a teaching article, talking slideshow or video for our Learnmore pages, or an alumni interview or column piece for our careers blog Future Lawyer.

If you think you could contribute something to Lawbore, please don't hesitate to contact Emily Allbon at   with your idea.

Credits and Contact

Conceptualisation and Content

Lawbore™ was conceptualised, edited and is run by Emily Allbon, Law Librarian for the City Law School, City University, London.

Design and Programming

It was designed and programmed in PHP, MySQL, HTML5, CSS and Javascript by Howard Richardson at Sequential.

Artwork

Original Lawbore hand-drawn artwork for was commissioned from talented American artist Kat Marshello (link topic icons, Learnmore head, etc).

Image Credits

Images used in-line in Learnmore and Future Lawyer articles are usually available under Creative Commons and attributed individually on each page. Additional images have been licenced from 123rf.com and istockphoto.com.

Software Library Credits

Lawbore™ makes use of some superb open-source software to work its magic, including: Smarty for templating, Cufon for the custom fonts, Calendar Class for the calendars (source code improvements available on email request, as per the licence), Sphider for the searching and JQuery, Coda-Slider and NyroModal for some cool visual effects.

Fonts

Lawbore makes use of the great free fonts Candela and Contra. Big thanks to their respective foundries for helping us look groovy!

Personal Thanks

Our gratitude goes to everyone at the City Law School, ISL and Marketing departments for their continued support of Lawbore™ over the last five years.

 …Lawbore and Learnmore are *incredibly* useful – thank you so much for making those sites!”
—City University GDL student, Oct 2011.
Emily Allbon

Lawbore Creator
Emily Allbon

Howard Richardson

Lawbore Programmer
Howard Richardson