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February 2nd, 2009

The Future of the Legal Blogosphere

Having now trashed Twitter (Twitter and The Age of Information Overload) before using it and semi-trashed it again after using it (Twitter: A Review), and having concluded it is not the future, the question remains: What is the future of the legal blogosphere?

To figure out the future, you have to know what the present is, which is easier said than done in a fast-moving digital age. But the present information distribution seems to be dominated (for attorneys) by a few distinct forms (leaving aside static web sites):

  • Listservs, which are set up generally based on either locality or practice area;
  • Individual Blogs such as this one or group blogs such as Volokh or Concurring Opinions (both run by law professors); and
  • Social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, and increasingly Twitter.

This will change, and if you pull up a chair, I’ll look into my crystal ball. For I see a future that blends and links together each of these three. No one has created the site yet, though someone surely will.

First, what is missing from the legal blogosphere is a group blog for practicing lawyers. While Volokh or Co-Op are possible templates for group blogs, I see something more akin to the splashier Huffington Post, except that it would be written by and for lawyers. The benefits of such a blog or webzine to the writers should be obvious: You can have 100+ contributors, who may not want to write something each week (or day) as is the custom with individual blogs. And the benefits to the reader should be equally obvious: An enormous amount of content under one roof from a wide variety of writers.

Now mix in the social element, whether this is for swapping tips and links or engaging in political discussion away from one’s own practice area. It happens to some extent in comment areas, but this is limited. It also is happening in Twitter, but the format is anything but ideal. Twitter is a crude technology, as compared to what is already available, and will not have staying power for lawyers when a better site is created. A well-located and well-designed legal forum can be significantly superior to it.

Well designed discussion boards such as those operated by The Motley Fool financial site, for example, have been enormously popular for over a decade, and the ability to write/read in threads and ignore users/threads is incredibly simple. There are no extra programs to download and no tools to learn.

Just as The Fool centers on stocks, the law forum would center on law. (Though, as testament to the power of community, you can see a vast array of other forums such as politics, and about 20 different boards related to sports at The Fool site.)

And each user of the site can have a profile page that would list, to the extent that people wanted it, contact information and links that allows for social networking and professional marketing.

This site — be it called The Motley Post, Huffington Fool, or Turkewitz Times Version 3.0 (version 1.0 was 20 years ago and this blog is 2.0) — would also have a reader base with some of the best advertising demographics in the nation. Advertising (cars, booze, travel, etc) would be an easy sell relative to other sites, as would law firm sponsorships.

Who will create this site? The logical candidates are:

Thus, a savvy entrepreneur will one day blend the desires for blogging and the desires for a legal-social element into one web location, in an easy-to-use site.

I don’t know when it will happen, but it will. And remember, you heard it here first.

(And yes, The Turkewitz Times is available for licensing. I’m just sayin‘.)

Updated: I was interviewed at LegalTech New York regarding this post, and you can see the short interview here.

Links to this post:

blawg review #198
the last time i hosted this carnival, we looked to plato for inspiration: “wisdom is the chief and leader: next follows temperance; and from the union of these two with courage springs justice. these four virtues take precedence in the

posted by Jeremy @ February 09, 2009 7:00 AM

legaltech: trends affecting contract attorneys … and oh yeah
we had 6 posse list members covering legaltech new york this year, trawling the vendor booths and attending several of the seminars/panels. it was the usual mass of vendors and attendees crammed into too small of a space — and spotty

posted by mrposse @ February 05, 2009 2:18 PM

quickies and white lies
no, this post isn’t about guys who break-up with you just before valentine’s day. it contains a few follow-ups and forecasts about sex offender laws, schenectady’s felonious ex-police chief, the future of the legal blogiverse,
posted by David Giacalone @ February 03, 2009 10:37 AM

14 thoughts on “The Future of the Legal Blogosphere

  1. Good shout… I am keen to promote law bloggers, hence Netvibe / Pageflake pages and podcasts.

    Twitter has, however, allowed me to *meet* many US, Canadian, and other bloggers – blogging allowed me to meet UK Bloggers.

    Mind you… Blawg Review also is an excellent way to engage with other bloggers as we both know (and have enjoyed the benefits of).

    I enjoy twitter – but I really only use it for nonsense and to engage in social chit chat. I shall continue to do so – but blogging remains my main pleasure and passion.
    # posted by Anonymous Charon QC : February 02, 2009 3:40 PM

  2. there is a group effort … PI attorneys at

    I belong to a listserve for Plaintiffs’ lawyers. The document repository alone has more than 15,000 pages of documents. No one site can match that now or quite candidly ever. There are nearly 600 depo transcripts on it as well.
    # posted by Blogger Mark Zamora : February 02, 2009 3:56 PM

  3. I agree. I don’t know why every Division I basketball college and every video game can have an active and large online forum but lawyers can’t…
    # posted by Blogger Bradley A. Coxe : February 04, 2009 2:52 PM

  4. “Thus, a savvy entrepreneur will one day blend the desires for blogging and the desires for a legal-social element into one web location, in an easy-to-use site.”

    Change ‘desires for blogging’ to ‘desire for education’ and you’ve pretty much described Solo Practice University.
    # posted by Anonymous Susan Cartier Liebel : February 04, 2009 8:30 PM

  5. I don’t know why every Division I basketball college and every video game can have an active and large online forum but lawyers can’t…

    If nothing else, Twitter has shown the desire for such a forum. All the legal blogosphere needs now is a better forum. And that is easy, since the tech isn’t new.
    # posted by Blogger Eric Turkewitz : February 04, 2009 9:03 PM

  6. I enjoy twitter – but I really only use it for nonsense and to engage in social chit chat.

    Interesting thing about that chit chat, for those that type under their real names, is that it sticks around forever. And Google rates it highly.

    How long before a client says, “You got time to twit but not time to talk to me?”
    # posted by Blogger Eric Turkewitz : February 04, 2009 9:05 PM

  7. Yep, this is pretty much what we’re building right now. And it’s just about ready.

    Group blogging, education, and social elements all in one easy-to-use website – Solo Practice University

    Great meeting you at Legal Tech, Eric!
    # posted by Anonymous David Carson : February 04, 2009 9:07 PM

  8. Susan and David:

    It was great meeting you too, and glad to have you stop by the blog.

    I’m looking forward to see how well you are able to take your vision and implement it. And hopefully your students won’t have to start a practice the way I did 20 years ago– by taking a business card and xeroxing it on to good paper to make letterhead, opening a PO box and running/answering ads in the local law journal.
    # posted by Blogger Eric Turkewitz : February 04, 2009 9:32 PM

  9. Eric: For business lawyers, a forum of the kind you allude to already exists, namely Legal OnRamp, although it’s a work in progress. Ken
    # posted by Blogger Ken Adams : February 05, 2009 10:54 PM

  10. Great post. We are looking at doing this in different domains (see for one example) and have one brewing in a niche within legal. These allow bloggers to participate together to form a content community out of their network activity.

    If you get response that someone wants to pursue this across other legal segments, then please let me know and/or have them contact me.

    [email protected]
    # posted by Blogger Tony Karrer : February 08, 2009 10:09 AM

  11. Even if Digg just created a legal section, I think it would go a long way to providing what you’ve outlined.
    # posted by Anonymous Luke : February 17, 2009 1:50 PM

  12. Pingback: Huffington Post Sold (The Future of the Legal Blogosphere and How Much Is Your Blog Worth?) – New York Personal Injury Law Blog