A couple of years back, when we started The Blogbook, there were very few legal blogs. Now of course there are thousands, including blogs from big firm lawyers as well as solos. Our original intention for this blog was to try to figure out if legal blogging was any different from 'regular' blogging, and if so, how. As I wrote that first week in our FAQ: "It's about whether or not a blog becomes something more than a blog when it is written by a lawyer, an expert in his or her specialty, and features commentary on cases and legislation." In other words, do practicing lawyer-bloggers have any special obligations or rules that they must follow that distinguish them in any way from every other blogger? We used the pastiche of the Blue Book ("Fair Use!" we said – knowing the point was highly debatable) to elicit responses (and we got em). The long and short: nobody wants "rules" or even "guidelines" of any sort for legal bloggers. Other than the "this is not legal advice" disclaimer, lawyer bloggers could and should proceed like any other blogger writing on any subject.
Anyway, it's time to shutter the Blogbook. I for one have hardly posted in a year, as I've been too involved in my actual job.
But here are a couple of thoughts to finish on: (1) Big Law and blogs; and (2) podcasting.
1. Big Law and the blogs.
There was an article in the WSJ a month or two ago (I won't like to it because it's subscription only) from which I draw the following quote:
"Blog-monitoring services typically charge big companies $30,000 to $100,000 a year. They say their technology goes beyond basic tools, such as keyword searches or counting links from one Web site to another."
I'm sure. They also, like, read stuff. My how far we've come. But isn't there something very late nineties about giant corporations paying outside firms big bucks to essentially read blogs for them, especially when they've got their own employees perfectly capable of doing the same thing? And it's ironic (hello 90s!) that while some big companies are paying outside firms to get eyeballs deep into the blogosphere, others are allowing (some even encouraging) their own employees to join the conversation. Fredrik Wackå's excellent corporateblogging.info has everything you want to know about corporate blogging, so I don't want to stray too far into that world here, but the point is that thinking about giant corporations got me thinking about -- what else -- giant law firms.
To me, the elephant in the blawging room is Big Law. At one point or another all lawyers thought they might practice in one of the big law firms (the AmLaw 100, what I tend to refer to simply as Big Law). And some actually do. But very few (when considering the total number of practicing lawyers out there). Big Law is everywhere and nowhere. Big Law represents all the most important corporations on earth, but shockingly little is actually known about the inside workings of these firms. Their partners move in and out of government, and then disappear back into the opacity of the Big Law world. ALM has made a huge business writing about nothing but Big Law, and still hardly anybody knows how these megafirms actually work or where they are headed. But I notice that some forward thinking partners at Big Law firms are starting to blog, and that is interesting to say the least. I intend to keep an eye on it.
Yes, I am podcasting now. Lots of people are. Big whoop. Next year I'll be videocasting. Whatever – only time will tell if it is of any interest to anybody.
But I wanted to give a big shout out to Kevin Heller and blawgcasting. Kevin is a fine IP lawyer with tremendous dedication to the blogosphere and open media. I will certainly be keeping an eye out on his various blogging and podcasting projects.
That's about it for me. It's been fun. And my most read post, btw, was "Hard Money and Political Retailing". If you're interested order levitrageneric cialisread it now, because I don't know how much longer we're going to keep the site up; sooner or later (probably sooner) it will just be a cached memory somewhere.
David Maizenberg, Palo Alto, September 1, 2005