Want a .law Domain Name?

October 2, 2014

Minds + Machines, the registry for the .law and .abogado top-level domains, have announced general eligibility requirements for registration of second-level domains in .law or .abogado. The .law and .abogado top-level domains are expected to launch in early 2015.

They state that both .law and .abogado will be restricted to ‘licensed lawyers or law firms, and all initial applications and renewals will be examined to verify that the registrant’s license is current’. To be eligible for a name as a law firm, the firm must provide legal services and a partner or equivalent must be a licensed lawyer. Other legal professionals, such as paralegals or researchers, will not qualify for a .law or .abogado domain name. A challenge procedure will be available in the case of disbarment or other event that causes a current registrant to no longer qualify for a .law or .abogado name. Final detailed rules will be announced prior to the launch.

In general, registrants may register their own names, firm names or an accepted variation of it at standard prices. Generic names under .law and .abogado – for instance, divorce.law or miami.abogado – will follow the same eligibility requirements, but will be priced at a premium.

Antony Van Couvering, CEO of Minds + Machines, said:

‘Our goal for .law and .abogado is to create an Internet home for those who are qualified and licensed to practice law.  If someone sees a website with a .law or .abogado domain name, they will know that the owner is a lawyer. If it doesn’t have a .law or .abogado ending, there’s no way to know who’s behind the domain name.’

Given the way in which ‘ownership’ of law firms now operates and the requirement that only one partner needs to be ‘licensed’, that’s a dubious claim but at least it suggests some measure of control.

Minds + Machines state that, prior to launch, they will be ‘reaching out to legal professionals from a variety of jurisdictions around the world’ to help make sure that any verification principles and procedures it applies are consistent, fair, and thorough.