Creating a Lawyer’s Web Site

By , February 17, 1997

What Results Have I Obtained from My Web Site?

by Mark J. Welch,  Pleasanton CA
Last Update: February 17, 1997

Links to related web sites appear at the bottom of this page

Ever since I created my web site in October 1995, I have received a number of inquiries from other attorneys asking (1) how difficult and expensive was it to do; (2) why did I do it; and (3) has the web site generated new business. This web page is intended to provide a detailed answer that I can point people to in the future, so I won’t need to re-type the same information again and again (or cut and paste it from old email messages to new ones).

Why Did I Create a Web Site? Quite simply, I wanted to see what it was like. I enjoy playing with computers and riding on the cutting edge of technology. (Before I became an attorney, I was a staff writer for InfoWorld and BYTE magazines, and during law school I co-authored a syndicated technology-review column for legal newspapers.)

When I first began “surfing the Internet” in the fall of 1995, I was quite disappointed at the large number of attorneys who created Internet web sites that served as nothing more than “business card” advertisements. Perhaps this represents the philosophy of those law firms, or perhaps it is an offshoot of the fact that many attorneys and law firms hire outside PR companies to create their web sites without regard for consumers’ interests and needs. (This is not to suggest that attorneys are somehow obligated to give away free advice on the internet, and there are some good reasons to not allow unsolicited email from prospective clients. But a client needs some information on which to base a decision of which attorney to hire.)

My law practice has thrived based on a policy of generously giving away information that clients can use to evaluate their own estate planning needs, and I had developed a number of written materials to disseminate basic information about estate planning. Since those materials were already on my computer’s hard disk, and since I quickly recognized that a “web page” is nothing more than a text document coded the same way as most word processor files, I knew it would be relatively easy for me to create a web site using existing materials. Equally important, I knew I could maintain and update my web site, keeping it current.

Did I Create a Web Site to Generate New Clients? NO. This is an important point. When I created my web site, I did not believe there were many people who used the internet to find a lawyer; I also suspect that most folks who do so are quickly disappointed and look elsewhere, because of the paucity of materials to help evaluate and compare lawyers and law firms on the Internet. I did consider the possibility that attorneys from other states might find my web site and refer clients to me because of my Internet activity but I expect more such results from my participation in listserv discussion groups than from my web site.

I created my web site because I thought it would be an interesting experience, and because I saw it as an extension of the public-education work I already do (including my printed booklet, newsletter, public speaking, and seminars). Of course, a substantial part of my motivation for these activities is “client development,” since I expect that some small fraction of the people who see my materials may later decide to consult me for legal advice, or may refer others to me. But I also do them because I enjoy doing them, and I enjoy providing a useful public service.

I did not expect any clients to call me because they saw my web site. It seemed like a silly notion, at least at the present time with the limited searching techniques and the limited number of people on the Internet.

What drawbacks did I anticipate? Since my practice is limited to estate planning, probate, and trust law, and since many potential clients think that all they need is a written document, I expected that people using the Internet would be likely to be “do-it-yourselfers,” who would just want free forms and free advice from me. (I considered my web site to be a useful public service because much of my written materials are designed to highlight problems that can arise when someone’s estate plan is not properly done.)

I also expected to receive inquiries and legal questions from people looking for free advice, including people outside California (the only state where I am licensed to practice law). I was concerned about the time that might be needed to respond to those inquries, and I worried that someone might sue me someday, claiming that they relied on advice I provided (or failed to provide) through the web site or in email.

How Did I Create My Web Site?

My First Site: I had an America Online account before I started, and I discovered that America Online provides a “free” location for a web site, and two ways to create web pages. The easiest way is to use AOL’s “MyHomePage” software to create a single page online. You can view some of these pages at

But I wanted a lot more than the one page permitted in “MyHomePage,” and AOL provided room for more: they provide 2 megabytes of file storage for web pages, graphics, and other files. (That’s two megabytes per “screen name,” with five “screen names” allowed per account.)

I started by downloading several HTML editors from various web sites, and quickly learned that HTML coding (used in web pages) is quite simple and easy to learn if you’re familiar with older word processors that use special codes for formatting text (similar to WordPerfect’s “reveal codes” mode). For a sample of HTML code and its results, see Attachments 1 and 2. You can view the HTML source code for any web page, using Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer: pull down the “View” menu and select “Document Source” or “Source”; using any other web browser, look for a similar menu item or just save the file (“File” “Save As…” to your local hard disk and then reload the file into your word processor (importing it as an ASCII or ANSI text file). If you print out this page using your browser, and then print the source code using Notepad or your word processor, you should easily figure out what the various codes mean.

I created most of my web pages using WordPerfect 6.1 (without the “Internet Publisher” extensions), and the rest with text editors (including PC-Write and Windows Notepad). Most of the work was simply formatting the pages and adding links to other pages. Most of the new crop of word processors, including the latest releases of WordPerfect and Microsoft Word, can save documents directly in HTML format.

It took me about 20 hours in a single weekend to convert about a dozen newsletter articles and the 20 chapters of my “Estate Planning for California Residents” booklet into web pages, and to upload them to America Online. (Other attorneys with comparable sites have spent much more time, apparently because they have less computer experience.)

I have probably spent another 3 to 5 per month enhancing and revising my estate planning pages since then. As I write new newsletter articles, I add those to the web site. Likewise, as I discover relevant web sites or articles elsewhere on the web, I add links to those articles on my links page ( or my newsletter-articles page (

Moving from AOL: In December 1995, two problems began to appear with the AOL web site.

First, there was a performance problem: the site was frequently unavailable, and sometimes people trying to access the site would receive error messages saying it didn’t exist or may have been deleted. In addition, the pages sometimes loaded very slowly, as if there was a bottleneck at AOL’s end of the internet connection. (See

The second problem was junk email: I began to get a huge volume of “bulk” or “junk email” messages on AOL. For a discussion of my junk email problem, see .

I then began searching for a new web site, and discovered huge disparities in pricing, not only between vendors, but even for a single vendor’s pricing for individual and business accounts. In general, I found that to get a custom “domain name” (so that any future moves are transparent to web users), the price shot up.

I found one vendor ( willing to provide an account with unlimited hours of internet access plus a web site for $30 per month, but when I sent email to its current customers, I received many negative comments about the web server’s performance and about the company’s technical support. I next settled on ($37 per month), but their account agreement contained bizarre provisions including blanket indemnity for any of their activities unrelated to my use of their web server, plus authority to investigate my credit history even though I didn’t request credit. They refused to allow any changes to the account agreement.

My Current Web Site: After exploring a convenient directory of Internet Service Providers at, I found a vendor called Value Net (, where I pay $39 per month for a “WEBster” account that includes unlimited internet hours plus a web site with a custom domain name. I quickly transferred all my new web pages to the site, which is now at

What Did It Cost?

America Online (like CompuServe, Prodigy, and many smaller Internet Service Providers) provides the web space free of any additional charges, but of course AOL charged a minimum of $9.95 per month and, at that time, AOL charged about $3 for every hour online after 5 hours per month. Because I spent so much time updating my web pages and then re-uploading revised pages, and because I used AOL to “surf the net” during September and October 1995, my AOL bill jumped to about $50 for October. After then, my web-site updating activity on AOL took only a fraction of the 5 hours included in the $9.95 monthly fee, so the cost was just $9.95 per month on AOL. Of course, you aren’t really getting something for nothing at AOL: AOL’s web service is unreliable. Also, if you publicize your web address at AOL, you can’t easily move it to another site with a different address (AOL doesn’t support custom domain names).

In January 1996, I switched my web site, email, and “web surfing” all to a single Value Net account; they charge a flat $39 per month, including unlimited access hours. I also maintained my AOL account until July 1996, until most people learned of my new email and web site addresses.

I also had to pay a $100 fee to the company that administers internet “domain names” (the fee is $50 per year, with the first two years paid in advance).

I could have spent a lot more for the same (or worse) results. Some firms have spent tens of thousands of dollars to create web sites. Based on my evaluation of many other law firm web sites, especially in my field, I think that the attorneys with the most useful web sites are the ones who spent the least. If you are considering creating your own web site, I suggest that you explore the directory of estate-planning attorneys’ web sites that I maintain at, to see the variety of estate-planning attorneys’ sites already on the internet.

Note that prices for web services vary greatly, as does the quality of services, and there is often no direct correlation between the cost and quality. As an estate planning attorney, I have seen incompetent attorneys charge $5,000 or more to prepare a poorly-drafted revocable living trust that failed to meet any of the client’s goals, and I have seen some very well-drafted documents prepared for $500. On the web, I have met attorneys who spent $500 to somone for a basic “business card” or “business directory” listing that only 2 or 3 people visit in a month; as noted, my web site costs me about $500 per year, including unlimited internet access, and I currently draw over 80,000 visitors per month.

Choosing a Name for your web site: Having your own “domain name” provides two important benefits.

First, having your own domain name provides some extra name recognition and respect, plus convenience; if the law firm of Jones, Smith, and Johnson can reserve the domain name, then their web site will be at the address “” and the email for attorney Bob Jones could be “” — compared to a web address of and email to “” (assuming that there isn’t another Bob Jones subscribing to that server).

Second, a custom domain name provides portability. In the above example, if Jones, Smith & Jones decides to move from Value.Net to another service provider, they could do so quite easily (and transparently to web visitors) if they have a custom domain name like “” but otherwise their email addresses and web address will change; like any address change, this may result in inconvenience and dissatisfaction, and some potential clients may simply be unable to find the firm.

I spent a lot of time deciding on my domain name. It should come as no surprise to anyone that “all the good names are taken.” I wanted a domain name that generally described my law practice, but names like “” and “” were already taken. Another attorney suggested seeking out a more positive-sounding domain name, like “” (of course, that one was already taken). You can check to see if a particular domain name is already in use by searching for the name using Internic’s Whois query form. Finally, I settled in on “” as my domain name (but with some reluctance, because on the internet, “CA” is not only the abbreviation for California, but also for Canada; so far, this has not been a problem).

Click here for Web Counsel’s outline discussing “The Importance of Top Level Domain Names for Law Firms.”

How Did I Publicize My Web Site? Since I wanted the world to know about my web site, I spent a weekend “submitting” information about my web site to a variety of indexes, search engines, and other web resources. (I recommend using “Submit-It” ( While some of the search engines and web indices need nothing more than your URL (web page address), many directories request detailed information and I had to spend some time reviewing the existing materials in those directories before deciding how to word entries, and to figure out which category to use.

I did not pay anyone to publicize my site, and I have never paid any company or web site for listing. My impression is that the various directories that limit listings to paying customers all have a very limited pool of listings, and no reasonable consumer will rely on such limited directories anyway. For example, one service called “AttorneyFind” charges $36 per category to link to attorneys’ web sites, but when I checked the directory on February 7, 1997, there were no listings for probate attorneys in the entire state of California.

I continue to re-submit my new and updated web pages to the search engines; I have also made changes to some of my pages, so that my page will hopefully be more likely to appear in response to a relevant query. I learned the importance of choosing the right title for a web page so that it makes sense when it appears in a list of responses from a search for a phrase like “estate planning” or “California probate attorney.”

What Results Have I Obtained? In the past 15 months, I have received hundreds of positive email messages, thanking me for the site. As noted above, a number of other attorneys have written inquiries, and I have tried to respond politely. When attorneys write seeking to “network” and exchange ideas, I have pointed them to listserv discussion groups like the American Bar Association’s Probate and Trust Law mailing list (ABA-PTL) or Lew Rose’s awesome Net-Lawyers list, which I participate in. (I look forward to more specialized discussion groups — I’d love to see listservs with limited subjects like “Guardianships for Children” or “Trust Administration.”)

I have also received dozens of email messages from companies wanting my money, for services in creating web sites and web pages, publicizing web sites, or various internet directory services.

I have also received about a dozen inquiries from people in other states (and countries) asking for legal help, and I politely refer them to other resources and advise them that I don’t know the laws of other states and can’t give them legal advice. Sometimes I am able to refer them to the web sites provided by attorneys in other states.

In late December 1995, I received my first “client inquiry,” from someone who told me that a friend had located my information on the Internet. (He made an appointment to discuss a trust administration dispute, but called at the last minute to cancel.) In early January 1996, a second potential client inquired after her son in another state located my web site on the Internet and suggested she talk to me regarding poor legal advice being given to her by another attorney in a pending probate. I was retained in that case. In February 1996, I received several calls from southern California residents whom I couldn’t help because they were so far from my office. Also in February, a young local couple found my web site and came in for an initial consultation, and later retained me to prepare their estate planning documents. In mid-March, another potential client who’d found my web site called regarding a potential multi-million dollar will contest, which quickly sounded too complex for my solo practice but which may (or may not) turn out to be very lucrative for the firm I sent her to.

After fifteen months, the internet has become a significant source of new business, generating between 10% and 20% of my new clients. (Of course, I get more new business from “client referrals” and “referrals from other professionals.”)

Am I Pleased With the Results? Yes, but . . . .

What Advice Do I Have For Other Attorneys Contemplating a Web Presence? Think about why you are doing it, what you want to do, and how you will do it. Will you provide substantive information that your potential clients can use? Will you post a “firm brochure” or “business card” — a site that simply identifies you, without any useful content? Can you devote adequate resources to keep the web site current? Will all people who represent your firm on the Internet check their email daily? Will you need to assign a staff person to review incoming email and run a conflict check before giving the email to an attorney? Do you need to hire someone else to design the web site?

Don’t be a lemming, chasing other lawyers over a cliff, only to drown in the vast ocean of the internet. A lot of lawyers grab the first opportunity to create a web presence, and end up with a very limited home page that costs a lot to update or expand. Other attorneys create flashy pages with lots of graphics or special effects, but no substance.

Think about how people will find your site. I don’t think anyone finds my web site because they searched for “Mark Welch.” Instead, they have questions about subjects like “probate,” “living trust,” “estate planning,” “guardianship” or “conservatorship,” and they are looking for answers that will help them decide what to do next.

It’s not helpful for most people to find an attorney site that simply says “Mark J. Welch represents clients in estate planning, probate, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships.” Instead, they want to know what those things are, and how an attorney can help them.

I know that many people who find my web site won’t want to hire an attorney, and I provide links to resources that will help those people. For example, I provide links to California’s statutory forms for a will, durable power of attorney, durable power of attorney for health care, and declaration pursuant to natural death act (living will). In my discussion of guardianships, I refer to Nolo Press’ “Guardianship Book” as an excellent resource. And I’m not afraid to point to other attorneys’ articles on relevant subjects (although I’d be reluctant to create a link to a web site for another Pleasanton estate-planning attorney). If you’re not willing to point people in the right direction, make sure you aren’t conspicuous in failing to do so.

Statistics: My web site host (Value.Net) provides easy access to statistics about internet “hits” or “requests” for my web pages. As of mid-July, my site was being accessed an average of about 1,700 times per day; by early February 1997, that rose to over 3,000 times per day. (Each “request” or “hit” is recorded, but one user may make several requests if they view several different web pages at a site.) You can view my web site’s statistics at

Ethical Considerations: Every attorney must constantly be vigilant to avoid any appearance of impropriety, or any situation that might later be construed as an ethical violation or “malpractice.” Because the Internet is a “new medium,” ethical issues can arise in surprising ways.

Attorney-Client Relationships: When is an attorney-client relationship created? Which communications are confidential? What type of contact or communication with a person might disqualify an attorney from representing an adverse party?

For many years, I have received phone calls from strangers asking me for legal advice; I always try to start the conversation by determining the caller’s identity and making sure I do not already represent an adverse party. Strangers don’t call my voice mail and leave lengthy, detailed accounts of their situation and ask me for legal advice. But on the internet, people do exactly that: strangers will write, providing detailed information about complex estate matters, and asking me for legal advice, without even stating their name or place of residence. Do these people have a reasonable expectation that I will maintain that information as confidential? Do these people have a reasonable belief that I am “their attorney”? How in the world do they know that I do not already represent an adverse party? And of course, how should I react to this message?

After I received several of these missives, I removed my email address from most of my web pages, replacing them with links to a special “email warning” page. On that page, I warn people that I am not their attorney, that they must not send me confidential information, and that I do not answer legal questions by email.

Certainly, if someone broadcast a question to every probate attorney in town (by email, fax, or voice mail), and later sought to disqualify all local probate attorneys from representing an adverse party, a court would refuse to do so. But what if a person sends a detailed email inquiry to one attorney, and that person later testifies that he believed that the attorney would maintain the information as confidential and would not later represent an adverse party in circumstances where the confidential information would help the adverse party? Regardless of how a court might rule, we as attorneys have a duty to prevent this issue fro ever coming up, if we want to best serve our clients. Attorneys already use non-attorney staff to screen incoming calls to prevent conflicts; must we also have our email screened by staff?

Duty to Reply?I suspect we are all aware of prospective malpractice claims in which a prospective client visited an attorney shortly before the expiration of a statute of limitations, and the attorney was held liable for failing to warn the client of the need to act quickly and initiate action before the deadline, even when the attorney was never formally retained and was never paid anything. Knowing this, the prospect of “email from strangers” is quite disturbing: if I get an email message from Child, who reports that he has just learned that Mother died six months earlier, and wants to know what his rights are, do I have an affirmative duty to reply? Does my duty include an obligation to warn that a probate action may already be pending, and that Child’s failure to rush to court could impair his rights? Or can I simply delete and ignore the message? Would I discharge my “duty” by simply sending a generic reply to all such inquries, refusing to respond to the subject of the inquiry and encouraging the writer to simply contact an attorney? Can I assign a non-attorney staff member to review (“screen”) incoming mail and generate the form replies to non-clients (and if so, must I disclose this on my web page)?

Attorney Advertising: A web page describing an attorney’s law practice is, by its very definition, an advertisement. Of course, some attorneys frown on all forms of advertising; for them, a web page is not an option. For other attorneys, certain forms of advertising are acceptable and others are not. The “web” provides room for all: if you limit your “advertising” activity to a quarterly firm newsletter, then your web site can simply contain your newsletter. If you have a law firm brochure, you can post that on the internet.

Of course, most states impose restrictions and special requirements for attorney advertising. In California, there are very few meaningful restrictions on attorney advertising, but you should review the laws and rules to see how they apply to the types of materials you post on the web. See, e.g., California Business & Professions Code Sections 6157 et seq. and California State Bar Rule 1-400.

Some other states have more draconian rules: apparently, both Florida and Texas require that advertising materials, including web pages, be submitted for review by a state bar committee (and they charge a $50 fee for the “review”). Texas apparently also requires that the firm’s principal business office be identified on its web “home page” (which begs the question of what exactly is or is not a “home page,” since every page on a web site could potentially be a visitor’s point of entry).

One unique aspect of the internet is the ability of an attorney to provide links to related resources that will help consumers verify claims made on web sites. For example, California attorneys can provide a direct link to the State Bar of California’s Membership Records Online (note that although certified specialty is reflected in the online database, disciplinary history information is not included, although it is available to callers who inquire by telephone). California attorneys who are “certified specialists” may also wish to provide a link to the online directory of certified specialists or to the page describing the requirements to become a certified specialist. Finally, attorneys may wish to provide links to online State Bar pamphlets on such subjects as How Can I Find and Hire the Right a Lawyer, How Can I Work Effectively With My Lawyer?, and What Can a Legal Fee Agreement Do For Me?.

There is an excellent collection of legal ethics resources at, including state-by-state discussions of how internet advertising by attorneys is regulated or impacted.

Multi-jurisditional issues: Keep in mind that the internet is an international medium. My “California Estate Planning” web page can be viewed by people in Idaho, Florida, or Japan. I don’t think that the bar associations of other states or nations can regulate my web site, but state consumer laws in other states (or countries) might arguably apply (for example, if a woman in Minnesota uses the web to find a California attorney to represent her in the probate of a California decedent’s estate). And for law firms whose attorneys are admitted in several states, or whose firms have offices in several states or nations, these issues must be carefully analyzed.

Legal Referral Services: Several times in the past year, I have seen notices on the Internet in which someone (sometimes an attorney, sometimes not) states that he is receiving inquiries that he cannot handle, and suggesting that a group of unaffiliated attorneys group together to provide a centralized place for consumers to submit legal questions, with inquiries forwarded to appropriate attorneys. This sounds like a great idea for generating new business, until you recognize that this is a description of a “lawyers’ referral service,” and that such services are strictly regulated in many states, including California (see Business & Professions Code Section 6155 and the Minimum Standards for a Lawyer Referral Service in California; see also the State Bar’s list of approved lawyer referral services).

Virtual Law Firms: Some of the same issues, and some new ones, are raised by the creation of so-called “virtual law firms,” in which attorneys seek to create the perception of a “virtual law firm,” with attorneys from several jurisdictions or practice areas working together to represent clients. These relationships raise all the same issues that arise in any “association” or “partnership” of attorneys, including liability and ethical concerns, as well as rules about fee-sharing and referral fees. (See, e.g., California Rule 2-200 (“Financial Arrangements Among Lawyers”).

Even if your actions don’t violate the laws or state bar rules of any jurisdiction where you and your affiliates practice, consider whether your malpractice insurance carrier will approve of the arrangement.

Security: Your duty to maintain client confidences clearly extends to the internet, and the existence of “hackers” and sophisticated techniques of email interception may create a duty to either avoid using email on unsecure networks, or to use “encryption” on any email that contains confidential client information. Of course, security issues would also apply if your internet “web site” is maintained on the same computer equipment or network as your client files and data.

Link Liability? Many attorneys provide links to other attorneys on their web pages. An obvious reason is to deflect or redirect inquiries from prospective clients with legal problems unrelated to your field of practice, or who can best be served by attorneys in other states or cities. Some attorneys worry that a web “link” to another attorney’s web site might be viewed as a “referral,” and that one attorney might be held liable for “negligent referral” if he refers clients to another attorney without first making reasonable efforts to investigate the qualifications and skill of the other attorney. I have tried to address this on my own “attorney list” page by bluntly stating that I have no knowledge about any of the linked attorneys’ skill or competence. I urge other attorneys to duck this question by simply linking to my attorney list page at

Related and Unrelated Content on Your Web Site: When I created my web site in October 1995, I intended from the very first day to include a page of useful “web links,” and my “law and estate planning links” page has been very popular from the very beginning. Several months later, I received an interesting email from a student: she wanted to find a copy of an actual will, for a class project. My response was to simply suggest that she use an internet search engine to find web pages that contain the phrase “last will and testament.” But a few days later, I had some free time and I decided to create a web page for my site that would link to “Wills on the Web” (providing links to the Wills of Jacqueline Onassis, Jerry Garcia, Richard Nixon, and dozens of others). Within a few months, that page became even more popular than my links page or “home page.”

In addition, I have created a large number of other web pages at my site, most of them completely unrelated to the subjects of law or estate planning. I have created separate web pages on subjects like junk email, child molestation, banner advertising on the internet, Caller ID, my Adventure Game Toolkit, my Rotary Club’s annual fund-raiser, and a page of local links in Pleasanton, California.

I created these pages because “I felt like it,” and only the last example was calculated to generate local goodwill that might result in client development. Most visitors who view my estate planning web pages aren’t even aware of these unrelated pages, and many visitors to the unrelated pages don’t even realize they are visiting a lawyer’s web site.

Each lawyer and law firm must decide whether it is appropriate to include “unrelated” materials. As a sole practitioner, I can post anything I want on my web site — but at other law firms, this could raise the same kinds of internal disputes as a partner’s decision to work on a local political campaign, or to volunteer time to represent a controversial cause.

Advertising on the Web: Starting in May 1996, I have subsidized the cost of my web site by adding “banner advertisements” from third parties on some of my web pages. That revenue has grown from about $100 in June, to over $300 for January 1997. Obviously, I don’t put ads on my own promotional pages (such as my “California Estate Planning” home page or my estate planning booklet), but I have put banner ads on a few of my law-related pages (including my Wills on the Web and Law & Estate Planning Links pages, as well as several pages unrelated to my law practice (these unrelated pages generate most of my ad revenue).

Even if you are uncomfortable including paid advertising on your web site, you might want to include Public Service Banner Ads on your web site.

Other Resources

Net Law: How Lawyers Use the Internet – this $30 book (from O’Reilly/Songline, 1-800-998-9938) by Minnesota attorney Paul Jacobsen provides a very good introduction to the issues that arise when using the internet in a law office. (Of course, I also like the book because it quotes me extensively and even includes my picture.)

How to Design a Web Site for Your Law Firm – by Kevin Lee Thomason (The Seamless Website).

Internet Tools for Attorneys from NetLawTools Inc. (Sunburst Consulting)

See also: Web Counsel Notes/Outline (12/16/96):
“Legal Websites: Creation, Marketing, Disintermediation, and Ethics”

Also check out College Hill Internet Consultants’ TUTORIAL for creating your own web site

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About Mark J. Welch

Mark J. Welch is was an attorney in Pleasanton, California, where he limits limited his practice to estate planning, trust, and probate law. He often speaks publicly about estate planning and related topics.

Prior to focusing his practice in the area of estate planning, trusts, and probate law, Mr. Welch’s practice also included business law, intellectual property law, and a variety of civil litigation. This experience helps him recognize a wide range of legal issues that his clients may confront. Before receiving his J.D. degree in 1989 from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law), Mr. Welch received his B.A. degree in journalism, with an interdisciplinary emphasis on computer science, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1983.

Writing and editing highlight Mr. Welch’s background. He has authored more than 250 published articles in more than two dozen different publications over the past 15 years. From 1987 through 1990, he was co-author (with Barry D. Bayer) of a nationally syndicated column published weekly in legal newspapers, and Editor-in-Chief of Law Office Technology Review, a monthly newsletter. More than a decade ago, Mr. Welch was a staff writer for InfoWorld and then a member of its Review Board. Earlier, he was Associate News Editor for BYTE magazine.

Mr. Welch is also the author of the Generic Adventure Game System (1985) and co-author of the Adventure Game Toolkit (1987), both shareware computer programs for creating “interactive fiction.” He was a founding member of the Association of Shareware Professionals.

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