When I first hung out my shingle in 1998, there was FindLaw. Well, there still is Findlaw/Thomson/West, but in 1998, FindLaw offered free websites for lawyers. They didn't police it very well, so various advocacy organizations and paralegal services could be found in the index to sites. The templates were quite limited, but there were certain ways that you could jimmie them around to get a bunch of content into the site, especially if you know a little HTML. I wasn't really interested in graphics anyway, just text. Since law is certainly an area where content is king, I built a quite useful and respectable site for a sole practitioner.
In 1999, or so I judge by the dated graphics and the copyright notice on the control panel page, Findlaw stopped handing out little corners of the Internet free for the asking, probably at the time of one of their mergers with--or into--bigger and bigger fish. I remember cynically thinking, when they announced that they weren't handing out new sites, and were offering paid site design, that my little free site was not long for this (virtual) world.
By April 2003, I was in the process of designing a more ambitious site, having outgrown FindLaw in the same way I outgrew my first database program, when I had the opportunity to join a larger firm, which meant eliminating the content of my old site. Although I have screen shots of every change in content that I made in that site over the years (a New York state ethics requirement), it pained me to take it down. I didn't want to eliminate it completely because, well, because.
Now here's the funny thing. It is now 2005 and my little ghost of a site is still here. And on a page that contains a "copyright 2005" statement, FindLaw says: "Currently, FindLaw is not offering free Firms Online web sites. However, we will continue to host existing web sites." And so my dusty little site still bravely offers my updated resume to the the world, where prospective clients stumble upon it when they google me (in fact . . . I apparently have some current clients who google me, or read my blog, from time to time. Guys. I know who you are). Who would have thought that electrons could be so persistent?