Subscribers often ask ‘How do By Lawyers keep up to date with all the legislative and procedural changes that are always happening?’

Well, the short answer is that By Lawyers have a robust process in place which allows our dedicated team to stay on top of developments in law and practice as and when they occur, so that our publications are updated in real time.

A longer answer requires a peek behind the scenes at the By Lawyers office and a look at the process and the team in more detail.

Updating By Lawyers content is a very big part of the value that we offer our subscribers and we work very hard at it. We monitor and update law and procedure in all states and federally, across all our areas of law, so that firms using By Lawyers can be confident of always being on top of developments and as a result enjoy practice more.

A good example is our ‘COVID law’ guide, Dealing with COVD-19 legal issues – Some practical information, which we believe is the only up to date single source of COVID-related legal information for all Australian jurisdictions in publication anywhere. This resource is currently available at the top of every By Lawyers matter plan and will remain accessible for as long as COVID arrangements remain in place.

Keeping the By Lawyers guides current involves an in-house team of 15 lawyers and other professionals, plus about 50 authors around Australia, most of whom are practising lawyers who contribute their knowledge and experience to ensure By Lawyers publications are always up to date and practical.

By Lawyers receives constant notifications from every possible source about any changes to the law and practice across Australia. We get information from commercial subscription services, courts and rules committees, state and territory law societies and institutes, national bodies such as the Law Council and COAG, federal and state parliaments, government departments, statutory authorities, law schools and colleges and many other legal blogs and websites. We also have tools to alert us to any ‘broken’ or re-directed hyperlinks in our publications which we can then repair or replace.

Every day the By Lawyers team’s first task is triage – reviewing all this incoming material to determine if it might affect our subscribers and our publications.

To manage this significant task responsibility for the different areas of law and jurisdictions is allocated to various members of the team. They each consider the incoming material for their state and areas of law to decide what action is required. For changes which impact publications, the nature and extent of the change is assessed to determine how our content needs to be amended to correctly reflect it – a new folder on the matter plan, enhanced commentary, new or amended precedents and so on.

Next, a publication schedule is set to ensure the relevant changes are published at the right time – when amending legislation commences, when a procedural change comes in, or just as soon as possible for changes which are not time-critical. As an online publisher we are capable of acting very quickly to ensure our content is always up to date.

We also carefully monitor forthcoming legislation and amendments so that, as soon as they are proclaimed and commence, we have the relevant changes ready to go. This can sometimes mean amendments are made immediately and are published overnight.

The final step in the process is letting subscribers know that updates have occurred.
For critical changes we publish an ‘Alert’ at the top of the relevant matter plan briefly outlining the details of the change and advising that the publication has been amended.

For all amendments, reviews and updates, including the critical ones, we issue a detailed bulletin on our Obiter News and updates page. Subscribers can register via Obiter to receive a tailored email advising them of news and updates in their selected jurisdiction or areas of law.

At every step of our process all team members consult with each other about the work and, where necessary, the relevant By Lawyers authors. Our executive and ultimately our Editor in Chief oversees all content. The By Lawyers in-house legal, editorial and quality teams have daily huddles and weekly team meetings, working together on triage, assessment, drafting and publication issues.

By Lawyers believes in a collegiate approach, both in our office and with our subscribers.

We listen to our subscribers. We often receive requests from subscribers asking for a new precedent, or a change to an existing one. We welcome this feedback and take it very seriously. The relevant By Lawyers team member will firstly look at the precedent in question, research the law in that area and make a decision about whether the new precedent, or the proposed amendment, is necessary and helpful. They may then refer it to the legal editorial team, or to one of our authors – and ultimately to the Editor in Chief if necessary – depending on how complex or controversial the suggested change might be. If a decision is made to accept the suggestion, the new precedent or the necessary amendment is published, the subscriber is notified and an Obiter post is issued to inform all subscribers about the change.

So that’s how By Lawyers keep up to date – and the work never stops! But, fortunately, we enjoy what we do and we work hard to ensure our subscribers can always rely on By Lawyers publications to be current, practical and helpful.

To make a suggestion or provide feedback, email askus@bylawyers.com.au or use the feedback options in LEAP.

Written by Brad Watts, Managing Director of By Lawyers – Australia