Category Archives: Blogs & RSS

Blogs Increasingly Popular Among Law Firms

Blogging continues to increase in popularity among large law firms according to LexBlog’s, Kevin O’Keefe. His November 2008 State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere reveals the following:
Growth highlights:

  • Over 35% of AmLaw 200 law firms have blogs.
  • 12% of AmLaw 200 law firms have more than one blog.
  • 32% growth in last 8 months in the number of AmLaw 200 law firms publishing blogs.
  • 39% growth in last 8 months in total number of blogs being published by AmLaw 200 law firms (some firms have more than one blog).

And in the numbers:

  • 72 of the 2008 AmLaw 200 firms were blogging.
  • Those 72 firms were responsible for a total of 159 blogs.
  • 122 of the 159 blogs were firm branded; the remaining 37 blogs were not branded. ‘Firm branded’ blogs are those where the firm’s name and/or logo are prominently displayed, indicating that the blog is more a product of the firm than of the individual author writing it.

See the full results, including a list of law firms with blogs or lawyers blogging at Real Lawyers Have Blogs.

WisBlawg Featured at Blawg.com

I’m honored to report that WisBlawg is one of the featured blogs over at Blawg.com.
If you’re not familiar with it, Blawg is a portal of legal blogs. It features a search engine for legal blog content, as well as a directory of individual legal blogs. Very useful when you want to find about the buzz about a particular legal topic or for discovering new blogs in your practice area.
featuredblawg.jpg

Advice on Blogging for Attorneys

Kevin O’Keefe, Wisconsin native and president of LexBlog, has written an excellent article on blogging in this month’s Wisconsin Lawyer. He discusses the benefits of blogging, offers advice for how to get started and what to write about, tips on designing a blog, and more. Definitely worth a read if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog.
Kevin will be the plenary speaker at the Solo & Small Firm Practice Convention, October 23rd in Wisconsin Dells.

SnackUpon Creates Suggestions RSS Feed Based on Delicious Bookmarks

SnackUpon creates a customized RSS feed that delivers content you might like based on your Delicious bookmarks. Read more at Lifehacker.
I was curious about this so I created and subscribed to a feed based on my Delicious account. I was surprised by the volume and variety of the sites that it suggested. Nothing particularly noteworthy yet, but it definitely has the potential to uncover some interesting stuff.

Tracking Blog Posts & Comments about You, Your Firm, Clients, Competitors, Employees, Jurors, Experts, & More

Tracking what people say on blogs can be important to legal professionals for a number of reasons:

  • Image Monitoring – What are people saying about you, your firm, your clients?
  • Competitive Intelligence – What are people saying about the competition?
  • Personnel – What is being said by and about potential employees?
  • Litigation – What is the buzz about your case and your clients?; are your jurors or expert witnesses blogging or commenting on other blogs?

Fortunately, there are some tools you can use to track this information.
Google Blogs is a search engine for blog content. Using the subscribe options on the left of the search results page, you can set up an email alert or RSS feed so that you’ll be notified if your search terms appear in any new blog posts.
That works well for people who have their own blogs, but what about those who leave comments to other people’s blogs? That is a bit trickier – or at least it used to be.
I just learned about a new comment search engine called BackType. backtype.gif
With BackType, you have two search options:

  • Search People – search blog comments from all over the web or search for comments left by individual people. Think of this as comments “from”
  • Search Comments – search blog comments matching any keyword, including a name. This of this as comments “about”

To track future comments, subscribe to the RSS feed on your BackType search results page.
Source: MakeUseOf.com

State Bar Convention Session Generates Discussion on Blogs as Legal Scholarship

Last week I had the honor of presenting at the State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Convention here in Madison. I spoke at a Litigation Section program entitled “This Blog’s for You” along with Mark Herrmann of Drug & Device Law and Anne Reed of Deliberations.
In my part of the presentation, I discussed blogs generally – what are blogs, how are they being used by legal professionals, how do you find legal blogs, and how do you read them. I developed this quick handout which is available at Scribd.
Anne Reed offered some insights on why litigators, especially, should be aware of blogs. She stressed that because juries are blogging, it’s important for lawyers to understand blogs. Mark Herrmann spoke on the whys and hows of writing a blog as a legal professional.
One thing that was mentioned by all three of us was the relationship between blogs and law reviews. Jack Zemlicka has expanded on that in a recent Wisconsin Law Journal article. Here are some highlights from the article:

Attorney Anne W. Reed suggests that attorneys today are interested in obtaining relevant information in minutes, rather than weeks, and reputable legal bloggers provide that service…
It can take months to get an article published in a law review, but mere minutes for a blog post to go up on a Web site.
“Because blogs are so freely available, information can flow around the blogosphere very quickly, allowing lots of people to add to the conversation,” Shucha said in an interview.
“Law reviews, on the other hand, are print-based and expensive — two detriments to the easy flow of information.”…
“The idea that I can put something about a recent case in a law review and have people read it 8 to 10 months from now? Those days are gone,” said Herrmann during the panel discussion.

The article also offers the perspective from Eric J. Weiss, editor-in-chief of Wisconsin Law Review, who believes that law reviews still have plenty to offer.

During an interview, he conceded that blogs can instantly offer brief insights into current legal issues, but readers still seek out law reviews for fleshed-out perspectives, and that will never change.
“Blogs are short and quick,” said Weiss. “They can present analysis during oral argument, but they are not thoroughly researched like law review submissions.”…

He also picked up on something I said in defense of law reviews:

One potential pitfall of legal blogs is the credibility of the writer, something which is generally not an issue with law reviews.
“Unlike a law review article where the reader can be fairly certain that the author is knowledgeable and the information is accurate, blogs have no such assumption of authority,” said Shucha.

The article concludes with some wise words by Weiss:

Regardless of an attorney’s motivation for reading a blog rather than a law review, Weiss said the two information outlets can be more collaborative than competitive.
“Even though they may be serving different purposes, at the end of day, both expose more readers to more legal info,” said Weiss, who added that the law review may integrate components of a blog in the future.

Really Useful Law-Related RSS Feeds

Court Documents

  • CCAP – Notification of new WI Circuit Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court cases by party name and/or all filings for an individual case
  • Wisconsin Courts – All new Court of Appeals and Supreme Court opinions, oral arguments, certifications, etc.
  • Justia – Receive new full-text U.S. District Circuit Court opinions and filings by type, keyword, or jurisdiction
  • Seventh Circuit – Track the latest opinions released by the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Cornell Supreme Court Collection – Monitor recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions

Legislation & Regulations

  • GovTrack – Track U.S. Congressional bills – new bills by subject or representative, or by action on individual bills
  • Justia Regulations Tracker – Track new Federal Register documents by agency, type of document or keyword

Legal Scholarship

Blogs

News

Business

  • PubSub – Customized SEC filings [not currently available]

Miscellaneous

RSS for Law School Faculty & Staff

Last week I gave a presentation to the UW Law School faculty and staff on the legal applications of RSS. I’ve posted my slides and handouts on Scribd and thought I’d share them here.

Read this doc on Scribd: RSS for Law School Faculty & Staff


Related handouts: