Now the Creation Begins...
The character of this blog - 3L Epiphany - is about to change. My future posts, for the next few days, will be focused mainly on my taxonomy. ln particular, I will be creating blog posts designed as "holders" for specific categories. Readers who visit consistently will see one post after another, sometimes containing legal blogs, but other times containing no blogs at all (i.e. just a title with no content). This is all for the sake of preparing repositories for the various legal blogs as I fit them into different classifications. These "holder" posts will be intermingled with explanatory posts, requests for reader feedback, and general posts on other topics. It may look somewhat chaotic, but the eventual result will form a structured and cohesive whole.
I expect that some readers might find this process very interesting. I will be creating the taxonomy online so that my methods and decisions are visible publicly, as opposed to working entirely behind the scenes (outside of public view) and displaying only the final product. I will also be asking readers for their opinions on occasion, and comments will always be open. This is one of the great advantages of blogging over traditional legal scholarship. I hope that readers enjoy watching the process of creation unfold, and playing a role in its ultimate consummation.
Final Count: 686
I have been adding legal blogs to my list over the past few days. The number of legal blogs is now 686.
At this point I will stop collecting blogs, even though there are surely more out there. This week (which is our Spring Break) I will begin putting together my taxonomy online. I will focus on categorizing the blogs I have, rather than making certain every legal blog is included.
The final list of 686 legal blogs is here.
Two Major Blogging Events On the Horizon
There will be two major conferences on legal blogs in the month of April. The first is focused on blogs by lawyers, and the second is focused on blogs by law professors.
1. A conference on Blog Law and Blogging for Lawyers will be held on April 20-21, in San Francisco. Here is a list of sample topics from Dennis Crouch at Patently-O, who is a co-chair of the conference:
- Legal gray areas arising from the proliferation of Web logs
- The future of blogging -- a passing fad or here to stay?
- The extent to which bloggers qualify for the First Amendment protections afforded to journalists
- Content ownership and syndication issues
- Employment issues arising from blogging within corporations
- The latest in blogging technology, including audio and video feeds
- How to set up a blog for your law firm or make your current blog more effective
- How blogs differ from regular Web sites in generating traffic -- and business -- for your firm
- Ethics questions surrounding the blog as a law firm marketing tool
- An on-the-ground report from several law firm bloggers
2. A symposium on Bloggership: How Blogs are Transforming Legal Scholarship will be held on April 28 at Harvard Law School. Here is a list of topics, via Prof. Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog who helped organize the event:
- Law Blogs as Legal Scholarship
- The Role of the Law Professor Blogger
- Law Blogs and the First Amendment
- The Many Faces of Law Professor Blogs
Both of these events demonstrate the extent to which blogs are transforming legal scholarship and practice. I will be attending the second but not the first.
A List of Legislative Blogs
This is a bit off the subject of legal blogs, but I am posting a list of legislative blogs here. I expect that one of the difficulties in my taxonomy project will be differentiating between legal blogs and political ones (which will be removed), since there is so much overlap between the two categories. But I will not be including blogs by legislators in my final taxonomy. However, this list may still be useful and informative to some readers. It includes blogs by individual legislators, and by state legislatures.
New Census of Law Professor Bloggers
Prof. Daniel Solove, of Concurring Opinions, has posted a new Law Professor Blogger Census. This is the most current and thorough list of law professor bloggers online. According to this update, the list includes 235 law professor bloggers.
Prof. Solove breaks the bloggers down into schools,and compiles some useful statistics about blog growth, blog additions and subtractions, and the gender of professor bloggers.
3L Epiphany Appears in Its First News Article
3L Epiphany has now appeared in its first online news article. The article is entitled "Hobby Turns Into Project To Track Lawyers' Blogs And Their Impact," and is written by John Tompkins of the Daily Court Review.
I have provided a few excerpts from the article below:
Writing a web log (commonly known as a blog) is usually seen as a personal journal that everyone can read.
But a recent trend among lawyers who write blogs (or blawgs) has caught the interest of a law student at Ohio State’s Moritz School of Law. Ian Best loved the idea of blogs so much that he started his own – and is now getting credit for it in an independent study course.
“I’m researching all of the legal blogs out there,” Best said. “I’m creating a taxonomy of blog. I’m trying to get an overview of what the legal blogosphere looks like.”
Best says the best feature of the multitude of legal blogs is how research is presented. Legal journals, he said, tend to be more static while the legal blogs are more interactive, making it easier to learn from. He discovered, for instance, that not only attorneys and judges were reading [Prof. Doug Berman’s] blog about sentencing guidelines. “Criminal defendants and victims were reading his blog,” Best said. “They’re not going to pick up a law journal. But they can read this and learn how this applies to their situation. This moves away from the ivory tower.”
Though the notoriety blogging has received is recent, Best said what it could achieve for the legal profession and mass communication is a broader audience and a more educated public.
“It’s all online and it’s a superior way of doing it,” he said. “That’ll be an outreach to the public. Legal blogs have a real potential that can be transformed.”
As a byproduct to his research, Best said he hopes to find out more about what the public and lawyers are using the blog for.
I am sincerely grateful to Mr. Tompkins and the Daily Court Review for writing about 3L Epiphany. I wanted to point out two minor corrections to the excerpts above. “I’m creating a taxonomy of blog” should read “…blogs.” And “blogs have a real potential that can be transformed” should read “…transformational.”
A Wiki Collection of Fortune 500 Blogs
Without intending to, I have become a reference for blog lists outside of my own taxonomy, such as international legal blogs, law library blogs, and law student blogs. I’m happy to direct people to these worthwhile collections.
I discovered another list: a collection of blogs by Fortune 500 Companies. I’m including this list because anyone interested in business and corporate law might like to know about it. My own prediction is that virtually every field of law will be affected by blogs. That is, lawyers in almost every specialty will eventually confront a client who blogs, or a relevant case involving blogs.
Law students who plan to go into corporate law, for example, will need to learn the legal aspects of corporate blogging. What are companies allowed to say on their blogs? What are the legal risks of blogging? What if a customer relies on a company’s blog, and the information is inaccurate? What if an employee writes something offensive or defamatory on the blog? If one company’s blog quotes from a competitor’s blog, when does that become a copyright violation? There are multitudes of questions that have not yet been fully explored, but as more companies and corporations blog, lawyers will have to consider the answers and advise their clients accordingly.
Earlier this year I was at a dinner with Doc Searls and we got to talking about why some companies blog and some don't. Microsoft blogs, and Apple doesn't. Sun blogs and Intel doesn't. GM blogs and Toyota doesn't. And so on.
Perhaps, Doc wondered, the risks and uncertainties of public business blogging are so great that big companies only do it under duress, when their traditional corporate messaging has lost traction. So companies on the way up don't want to mess with their success by introducing a new lens on the enterprise that isn't controlled by the PR department. But companies on the way down are willing to try anything to regain the confidence of their customers. [Update: Doc has posted more background on this here.]
Hmm, I thought. That's testable. Let's look at which of the Fortune 500 companies are blogging and compare their past twelve month share performance with those that aren't. If this theory stands up, the blogging members of the F500 will have underperformed the nonblogging members. And then we can also see if blogging makes a difference going forward, by continuing to follow the two cohorts.
Complete List of Law Library Blogs
Joe Hodnicki, the chief technologist of Law Professor Blogs and editor of the Law Librarian Blog, has informed me of a complete list of blogs by law libraries and law librarians. The list was compiled by Bonnie Shucha, of the University of Wisconsin Law Library. This is a thorough and excellent resource.
A Global Directory of Legal Blogs
Prof. Manuel David Masseno, who teaches law at Beja Polytechnic in Portugal, has informed me of a truly amazing resource. In his own words, it is “a worldwide and multilingual, critical and systematized, directory of Blawgs.” The directory is called ObsBlogJur, which stands for “Observatory of the Legal Blogosphere.” According to Prof. Masseno, ObsBlogJur was “built as our contribution to the European LEFIS - Legal Framework for the Information Society,” which is a European academic network.
I am grateful to Prof. Masseno for letting me know about this global directory, and for placing 3L Epiphany on its list of “Repertories and Recentions.” Readers who are interested in legal blogs around the world should spend time exploring this remarkable database.
A Safire Article on Blogging
An article on the language of blogging, entitled Blargon, from William Safire of the New York Times.
Two Major Blogging Events in Columbus
An important reminder to Columbus, Ohio bloggers and residents:
Howard Bashman, of How Appealing, is coming to Columbus. Mr. Bashman is considered to be the first appellate litigation blogger on the Internet. His blog is one of the most frequently visited and well-respected among the entire legal blogosphere.
First, Mr. Bashman will speak at the Moritz College of Law (OSU) on Monday, March 13th. This will be at 4:30 pm, in Room 250 of Moritz. His talk is entitled “Law Blogging, Appellate Litigation, and Related Subjects,” and is sponsored by the I/S Journal and the Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies.
Then on Tuesday, March 14th, Mr. Bashman will be joined by Prof. Doug Berman, of the renowned Sentencing Law and Policy blog. They will speak at a luncheon sponsored by the local Federalist Society, on “The Rise of Law-Related Web Blogs: Growing Popularity and Influence.” This will take place at the Athletic Club of Columbus at 12 noon. Details are here. (Note that this is not a free event, and an RSVP is requested.)
Of course, I strongly recommend both of these events to anyone interested in legal blogging who lives in Columbus. I will be attending the first, but will unfortunately miss the second due to an out-of-state job interview.
A List of Law Student Blogs
I am pleased to announce that Kurt Hunt, a University of Michigan law student who blogs at Clever WoT, is compiling a list of law student blogs. He has collected 175 so far. Please let him know about any blogs that are missing from his list.
Best of luck to Kurt in carrying out this project.
Final Number of Legal Blogs: 610!
The number of legal blogs on my list is now 610. Readers looking for the list can go here.
This exemplifies the power of the blogosphere. I received almost 900 visitors in one day because of links from Concurring Opinions, How Appealing, Opinio Juris, TaxProf Blog, and The Volokh Conspiracy. Many readers commented or emailed me legal blogs that were missing, and so my list grew by more than 100.
This in turn led to more links from legal blogs, including:
4. The Practice - Note their grade recommendation
I am grateful for receiving my first link from a foreign legal blog: Actualidad y Derecho. It appears to be a law student group blog. As readers know I am not currently including foreign blogs in my list and taxonomy, other than those from Canada. And I am not including law student blogs unless they are for a class or affiliated with a journal. The reason is simple practicality: 610 gives me enough work for now. But I would like to thank Actualided y Derecho for the write-up and the link. It’s a very attractive site, and the content looks quite substantial. I hope one day (post-law school) to expand my list to include high quality law student blogs, and legal blogs from across the English and Spanish-speaking worlds.
I expect that 610 may be very different from my final number at the end of the semester. There are some blogs on my list that I will remove, if I decide they are not sufficiently “legal.” And there are some blogs I will discover as I read through the ones on my list and look at their blogrolls. So it is difficult to predict how many legal blogs there really are, which will depend partially on my own criteria.
Thanks again to all of those bloggers who have linked to 3L Epiphany, including ones that I may have missed.
1,972 Visitors, 25 Countries
I have occasionally listed the places around the world where readers of 3L Epiphany have come from (see e.g. here). I do this for the sole purpose of displaying the inherent potential of law student blogs to connect with readers that are typically unreachable. The new list below is nothing I can boast in, because these readers were referred here by blogs like The Volokh Conspiracy and How Appealing. But law students should recognize that blogs can transcend typical geographic boundaries, allowing their work to be known globally.
Because of links from established blogs with a large readership, I received almost 900 visits in one single day. The total for this past week is 1,972. I expect that this number may be greater than the subscription rate of many law reviews and journals. I have also been read by people from more than 35 different countries since beginning two months ago (25 in the past four days).
Law students, your journal note or article, no matter how excellent, will not be read in that many places by that many people. If you begin a personal blog that becomes an authority on a particular legal issue, you will be read. It is worthwhile to avail yourself of this tremendous new resource for publishing your work.
Below is a partial list of places where visitors to 3L Epiphany from the past four days have come from. I did not include the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, or Australia.
1. Brazil (Goinea)
2. Chile (Santiago)
3. China (Beijing)
4. Columbia (Bogot)
5. Czech Republic (Prague)
6. Estonia (Tallinn)
7. France (Grenoble)
8. Germany (Berlin; Frankfurt; Garstedterdamm; Rodetal; Stephanshausen)
9. Guatemala (Guatemala City)
10. Hong Kong
11. Hungary (Budapest)
12. Ireland (Dublin)
13. Israel (Haifa)
15. Korea (Seoul)
16. Mexico (Mexico City)
18. Netherlands (Amsterdam)
19. New Zealand (Ngauranga; Runciman)
20. Norway (Oslo)
21. Phillipines (Phillipine)
22. Romania (Bordea; Neamt)
23. Slovenia (Ljubljana)
24. Spain (Madrid)
25. Sweden (Malm; Nynshamn)