Law firms, legal publishers, law societies and bar associations will be able to reserve web addresses using the new generic domain name .law for $200 (£135) a year, it has emerged.
Unlike current domains, such as .com or .co.uk, the extension .law will only be available to lawyers.
Lou Andreozzi, chief executive of .law, told Legal Futures that the company aimed to sell the first web addresses, by auction if there was more than one buyer, from 1 September.
“You must be a lawyer to register for a site,” Mr Andreozzi said. “A lot of sites are set up to look as if the people involved are lawyers when they are in fact phishing sites.
“In this case, the lawyers’ credentials are checked prior to them getting hold of the site. This creates a much more trustworthy community. If we find out someone is not a lawyer, we will take the name back.
“We can’t guarantee 100% of the sites are not bought for someone else, but security is exponentially higher than other domains.”
Mr Andreozzi said the verification process was still being developed, but would align with records kept by local law societies and legal directories.
The .law company is owned by Minds + Machines, based in Dublin, which announced at the beginning of this month that it had been granted an exclusive licence to operate the domain .law by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Mr Andreozzi is a former chairman of Bloomberg Law and CEO of LexisNexis North American legal markets. “We believe the current registration process was created with dot-coms in mind,” he said. “Many people did not know what URLs were, and they were left out of the right names or saw them bought by entities which buy and resell them. This enables everyone to get the right name.”
He said .law planned to offer the “bulk of the names” for $200 per year, while there would be higher prices for “premium names” like London.law or newjerseyprobate.law.
Mr Andreozzi said premium names would cost from $500 to $1,000, while some “super-premiums” would cost more than $1,000 a year.
He said lawyers could submit expressions of interest directly to .law from now. “People are already lining up at the door,” he said. “They believe this is something in their best interest. They’re very excited at the prospect of an exclusive legal community on the internet.”