'yourfirmname.law' may soon become the default web-address format for the legal profession. Across the world, law firms are now able to sign-up for the more direct .law domain. It's not all or nothing either, firms may keep their traditional .com or .com.au address as well.
How did .law come to exist?
Over the following months and years, more websites will be available to choose from customised domains. The body that regulates the internet, ICANN, ended restrictions on the types of suffixes available for use in 2011. This began a push towards more direct suffixes, which we are starting to see now.
.law became available in October last year. Registrar 'Minds + Machines' has been awarded a 10-year exclusive agreement to register the new addresses. Several international top-tier firms were given free addresses to promote interest in the new domain. However most firms will have to pay a fee, starting at US$200/year.
Should my firm get an address?
.law addresses are restricted to qualified lawyers and registered legal practices. This may provide your firm a higher level of credibility among prospective clients. Additionally it helps reduce the likelihood of domain name squatters.
Further, your firm will be able to register any name available, going beyond your firm's name. For example, 'crim.law' and 'qld.law' are available at the time of writing. Prices vary depending on desirability.
A speed-bump with the new domain suffix is that it is not well known to the general public. But this presents an opportunity to snap-up desirable domain names, like the examples above, before other firms.
The decision whether to get a .law firm will ultimately come down to your legal practice's priorities. It may offer an improved web presence and image of professionalism. Like all the new web address domains, we are yet to see if they will take-off.
Image Credit: 'Justice Gavel' by Tori Rector on Flickr.