Human Law

I've just noticed, thanks to Nick Holmes' What's New on the UK Legal Web, that there's a new UK legal blog in town called Human Law by a chap called Justin Patten.  As Nick puts it:

The blog covers IP, IT and Employment law as does the work of his firm Human Law, which "provides cost effective solutions to clients on key legal issues facing the digital economy".

If you click on the Human Law website, you'll find what seems to be a flash driven website which, be warned, pumps out a portion of a track by The Shaman called "Hear Me" (you have to be familiar with The Shaman to know that!)  As far as I can recall, this is the first legal website I've seen to greet its readers with music... .  Fine by me, but then again, I like The Shaman.

"Blawg Proponent Recognized With Innovation Award" (Bill Gratsch)

I won't paraphrase Bill's interesting post on a large law firm Chief Knowledge Officer's rumoured award for  legal innovation through implementation of a series of blogs.  Well, I kind of already have, but this is interesting and pretty significant news I reckon.  Thanks for the news Bill.

Welcome to lawfirmblogging.com

There's a new blog out there on legal blogging called, appropriately, lawfirmblogging.com. The more the merrier. Looks like it's off to a good and helpful start. I'm interested to see to what topics its author, Nathan Burke, will turn next.

Weblogs Work's Interview Series with Lawyer Bloggers

Weblog Works has conducted a series of interviews with lawyer bloggers, asking them:

  • When and why did you start a blog?
  • Have you generated additional legal business directly or indirectly related to your blog?
  • Have any of your peers seen your blog? Do they comment on it? Does the fact that they read it cause you to write differently?

The bloggers have given some interesting answers to these questions. The question which is perhaps most on the lips of those contemplating legal blogging is the second question, namely, whether the blog has generated any additional legal business. A year or so ago, around the time that LexBlog was getting up and running, there was some vociferous debate on this issue. It was a debate which, to my mind, was a bit over the top, because blogs were adding a new bow to one's marketing strategies, not replacing everything that had come before. It's for this reason that I think Francis Pileggi's (of Fox Rothschild LLP) answer to this question is or probably would be accurate for many legal bloggers who deliver quality information through their blogs:

"The measurement is not precise , but I have had clients indicate that they have seen my blog. It may be similar to writing articles in that it may not be the only thing that makes their decision, but it is part of the mix."

Of course, there are some blogs which are indeed the source of new business or which at least are particularly image-enhancing. So, for example, Clark Allison's answer to this question was this:

"Yes. It has greatly added to my credibility and bone fides with potential clients, existing clients and referral sources. As an example, several weeks ago an investment advisor who has referred many clients over the years emailed me about a recent court decision that appeared to have a chilling effect on planning strategies he often uses. Instead of calling or emailing him, I blogged on the issue and then sent him and other financial advisors I know a link to my post. The effect was great: I was able to answer my referral sources concern directly, leverage my research time to educate many and enhance my stature as an expert on the topic."

NIPCLAW - First UK Barrister's Blog?

Thanks to Scott Vine's Information Overlord, I've learned that there's a new IP and technology blog on the English side of the Atlantic called NIPCLAW.  Written by barrister John Lambert, the blog "contains news and comment on English, European and overseas intellectual property,technology, media and entertainment and competition law" and "is intended to update and supplement his chambers websites at www.nipclaw.com and www.ipit-update.com."  What strikes me about this blog is that it's written by a barrister (rather than solicitor(s)), making it the first UK barrister's blog I've seen.  Will be interesting to see if other barristers follow suit, as the recent relaxation in certain sectors allowing public access directly to barristers (rather than via solicitors) is likely to result in more public-facing marketing initiatives by barristers than was previously the case.

Naked Law enters webspace

UK-based Naked Law has recently entered webspace.  Thanks to Joy London/Excited Utterances for letting us know about this one.  Naked Law's tagline is "UK technology law laid bare by Cambridge lawyers".  I suspect those wishing to keep tabs on UK technology law issues will want to add this blog's feed to their aggregators.

Update:  Seems I posted this too fast.  I should have mentioned that the original tip came from Nick Holmes' What's New on the UK Legal Web.  Many thanks Nick. 

"The Future of Legal Blogging"

The ABA has published  Between Lawyers Roundtable: The Future of Legal Blogging, a good summary of the discussion that occurred recently at Between Lawyers.  It covers these questions:

  • What is the current landscape for legal blogging?
  • What are the three biggest benefits of blogging for lawyers?
  • Should every lawyer and law firm have a blog?
  • Do you think blogging is overhyped?
  • What makes a legal blog successful or unsuccessful?
  • Let’s expand on some earlier thoughts about what will be more important in the future. Will it be RSS, blogs or collaborations among bloggers?
  • Will you be blogging in five years?
  • How, if at all, will blogging change the practice of law?
  • Ernie, Do You Want to Wrap Up This Discussion for Us?

Those contemplating getting into legal blogging can learn quite a bit from this discussion.  Very helpful.

Bill Gratsch on the frequency of blog posting

In a recent post entitled As Blawgs Evolve, 21st Century Nutshells? Bill Gratsch, of Blawg.org fame, makes this particularly valid remark when discussing the issue of the frequency of blawg updating:

"... On the other hand, a handful of two-year-old posts from a law professor or other legal expert who offered thoughtful, learned analysis of a key court case may be worth linking to for many years after the fact. The mere fact that the blawg containing the analysis has not been updated in a long period of time, does not necessarily mean it has no value. In fact, if the analysis is particularly well-stated, I would argue that it should continue to be referenced via links indefinitely. Deleting the blawg would only serve to eliminate the analysis from the larger discourse on the matter it covered."

I agree. As a quality-filled blog is updated, the better its repository of information, its database, becomes. But not updating it 3 or 4 times a week doesn't necessarily mean it's not a valuable resource or somehow necessarily inferior to blogs which are more regularly updated. It's that good old quality versus quantity issue.

Holmes and Venables "Whither the Legal Web?"

Those interested in the world of legal publishing, whether by third party publishers or via new technologies such as blogging and RSS, may be interested in a new electronic publication called Whither the Legal Web?, a set of articles written and/or edited by UK based Nick Holmes and Delia VenablesWhither the Legal Web? consists of two parts, the first on Legal Information, the second (to published in or around September) on Legal Practice.

I have had the opportunity to review Part 1 and was interested in some of the articles it contains.  It contains 5 chapters on the following topics:  (1) The Law, (2) Government, Parliament and Justice, (3) Scotland and Wales, (4) Legal Information Services, and (5) The Web.  Each chapter contains a number of articles. 

To me, the most interesting chapters are 1 and 5, on The Law and The Web respectively (others will doubtless have their own "most interesting" chapters). Chapter 1 contains these articles:

  • "Towards more accessible law" by Nick Holmes 
  • "The vision for BAILII" by Sir Henry Brooke 
  • "Current developments on BAILII" by Joe Ury 
  • "Freeing the law in Ireland" by Dr John Mee 
  • "Global legal research: WorldLII and the long-term vision" by Prof Graham Greenleaf 
  • "The Statute Law Database" by Nick Holmes 
  • "EU law and the Europa site" by Sue Pettit 

Chapter 5 contains these articles:

  • "The core web technologies" by Nick Holmes 
  • "The blogging phenomenon" by Nick Holmes 
  • "A blogging case study: the IPKat" by Jeremy Phillips and Ilanah Simon
  • "Webfeeds: pulling the news that matters" by Nick Holmes
  • "Wikis: wacky or wonderful?" by Nick Holmes 

Those familiar with the world of legal publishing will be familiar with some of the content, but in all likelihood there is content with which readers will not be familiar.  For example, the chapter on BAILII (the British and Irish Legal Information Institute) by Sir Henry Brooke makes for an interesting read. And those wanting an introduction, from a legal perspective, to blogging, webfeeds and wikis will probably find the articles in chapter 5 a worthwhile read.  The 2 page case study on the blog "IPKat" is also interesting (those who follow the IPKat will know that its two authors are prolific bloggers). 

As an aside, the authors of the IPKat case study make the statement that "you can't make money out of blogging".  I wonder whether, at least in the future, such a statement may need to be qualified.  Were it not for the IPKat, I would not have heard of its lawyer authors.  In a competitive legal market, their names are now in my mind when otherwise they would not have been;  their blogging efforts have generated some mindshare, which I would have thought is itself a valuable commodity (generally speaking that is, not in respect of a share in my mind!), and one which ultimately could generate financial reward, either through direct instructions or referrals.  It's early days for such talk because the corporate world has not yet fully awoken to blogging and RSS feed technology;  let's see what happens when it does.

To close, Whither the Legal Web? contains a timely and interesting set of articles.  My thanks to Nick Holmes and Delia Venables for the opportunity to review it.

PHOSITA blog generates business

I've written about PHOSITA before because I was impressed not only by the blog itself but by its creator's open and sharing experimentation with technology such as screencasting, experimentation which as readers know has extended to, among other things, both podcasting and automatic posting of del.icio.us links. 

Now I'm writing about PHOSITA because there's an interesting article on the blog at PM Forum (Professional Marketing North America) entitled IP Blog Wins Business Award - and New Clients.  This passage caught my attention:

"While there was plenty of support for the project, some of the senior partners—who have live largely computer-free lives—didn’t quite follow the rationale. Thought leadership and online marketing sounded reasonable, but what was the point? They were soon convinced of the blog’s marketing value, though. “The first client referral from the blog really solidified things,” Sorocco reports."

Let's be frank.  There are those who undermine blogs and doubt their utility, usually through perhaps subconscious adherence to stereotypes of what a blog is and the uses to which it can be put.  It's refreshing, therefore, to read an article like that in PM Forum which obtains first-hand information from a leading blawg which, it would seem, is paying dividends for its creators. 

IBM's Blogging Policy

Firms or companies wishing to implement blogging policies now have another useful precedent to work with from no less than IBM.  Before we get to the policy, the following passage in a post from 16 May on an IBM website is interesting in and of itself:

"As has been reported on a variety of blogs around the net, IBM today is publishing an announcement on its Intranet site encouraging all 320,000+ employees world wide to consider engaging actively in the practice of "blogging".

As for the IBM Blogging Policy and Guidelines themselves, you can find them by clicking right here.  Many thanks to Denise Howell (among others) for spotting these.

Between Lawyers' "Future of Legal Blogging"

For those not familiar with what's going on at Between Lawyers right now, the Between Lawyers bloggers (Denise Howell, Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighell,  Marty Schwimmer and Ernest Svenson) are compiling an article of sorts online on the Future of Legal Blogging.  Not only is the format of what they're doing interesting, but there are some great posts being written on all manner of issues surrounding legal blogging.  Particularly interesting, for those considering getting into legal blogging, is Denise Howell's recent post answering the question Should Every Lawyer and Law Firm Have a Blog?  She provides a useful checklist of questions to ponder and comments on additional issues facing law firms as opposed to individual lawyers.  Check it out.

Joy London on blogging/blawging as a knowledge-sharing tool

In her interesting article "Blogger in the house: The rise of 'blawging' as a knowledge-sharing tool", published recently in Managing Partner magazine, Joy London, a knowledge and training manager at an international law firm, discusses the nature of blogging and its utility for knowledge management.  The article's many insightful comments include this one:

"A well-designed blawg can serve as a critical document-management tool for organising and archiving legal information. The very act of trading relevant links and useful ideas electronically, via blog posts and reader response, captures crucial matter-related content automatically, rendering it searchable and browsable. ... the firm acquires a valuable, annotated repository, user-friendly and equally accessible to individual lawyers, internal practice groups ... and organisational departments ... . Not incidentally, both productivity and information exchange increase through better time management and resource allocation."

Joy's closing paragraph includes the observation that blogging has demonstrated its viability as an adaptable online force and that, as the blogosphere continues to mature, more lawyers will implement blawgs in unexpected ways.  I wholeheartedly agree. 

I don't know Joy, but in this observer's humble opinion, her firm is fortunate to have a knowledge and training manager on board who completely gets this technology (and who evidently "got it" a long time ago) and the efficiencies it can bring to the capture and utilisation of intellectual capital to the benefit of internal and external clients alike.  (For the avoidance of doubt, my own firm is equally fortunate for the quality of its KM and training staff but it would be imprundent to name them here.)

Ben Cowgill's Legal Ethics Blog

I just had the pleasure of taking a peek at Ben Cowgill's Legal Ethics Blog.  Not only does it appear to be packed with interesting and well-crafted content (if I may say), but it has a great design, all within the framework of a Typepad blog.  What Ben has done will, I'm sure, be of interest not only to legal bloggers and those interested in legal ethics, but to a whole heap of people who use Typepad. 

LexBlog just keeps on rolling out great-looking legal blogs

Just checked out Kevin O'Keefe's blog thanks to Typepad's trackback feature and noticed that LexBlog has surreptitiously added some great new legal blogs to its stable that until now I hadn't noticed:

I don't want to sound like a record stuck in a groove (I guess that expression is on its way out...), but these are great looking blogs/legal blogs/blawgs - call them what you will.  This little blog's shade of green is getting more pronounced.

For what KM will clients pay?

Ron Friedmann of Prism Legal Consulting has a particularly interesting post, here, on what types of knowledge management a particular in-house counsel (Christian Liipfert of BP America) would and would not pay for. When asked whether he would pay for a firm providing updates on important legal developments, Mr Liipfert said:

"May be worth something; the more general, the less value. If specific to my industry, possible value. People pay firms for tracking specific issues."

The perhaps obvious message for legal bloggers (and I'm saying nothing here about charging) is that the more specific the focus the better. I know that's been said before, but it's a point I believe is worth bearing in mind when crafting a legal blog.

That thought brings a related issue to the fore, namely, the frequency of posting. There are many in the blogosphere who argue that really good blogs are updated frequently.  Personally, I think there's a natural limit to the frequency of posting, not simply due to one's time constraints but, at least for truly niche blogs, due to the fact that there's only so much new information out there. Of course, if a blogger wishes to talk about things past, present and future, then there's likely little limit, but if the focus is on bringing new developments to light (and of course no one (not me at least) is saying a great blog has to limit its focus in this way), there will be a natural curb. For my part, I would rather read an on-point blog with less posts than a purportedly on-point one which strays from its stated purpose due to a perceived need to post every day.

Dennis Kennedy's tips on blogging mistakes to avoid

Most if not all those who subscribe to feedmelegal will also have subscribed, and for much longer, to Dennis Kennedy's aptly named blog.  As a result, they will probably already have seen his new series of "All Request Tuesday" posts.  Those new to legal blogging who haven't yet discovered Dennis Kennedy's blog might want to check out one of those posts in particular, namely, What are the most common mistakes a new legal blogger makes?, which contains a very useful (if feedmelegal may say) collection of tips  for new legal bloggers.  If the tips were a test, feedmelegal would fail at least tip no. 6 (albeit for good reason), but hopefully scrape through with more than 50%.  Thanks for the tips.

New LexBlog blogs hatched

For those who haven't seen them yet, there's a new batch of LexBlog blogs in town:

South Carolina Trial Law Blog

Arizona Family Law Blog

LawBiz Blog

The Legal Marketing Blog

Nice work.

Increased probing into law firm blogs?

There seems to be a subtle but noticeable trend arising in the blogosphere: people are seeing corporates (including some big name corporates) and individual lawyers (for example) getting into blogging and RSS, but with a few notable exceptions they're not seeing it on the part of that many law firms and they're wondering why that is. See, for example, Prism Legal Consulting's post Large Law Firm Blogs - Update and Blawg.org's post Wall Street - Weblogs and Syndication and Making Money.

Law firms who have considered or are considering this newish technology may have understandable reasons for treading carefully.  Some, no doubt, want to make sure they "get it right" the first time round. Whatever the case, feedmelegal is content to share in Prism's prediction that there will be significantly more law-firm-branded blogs in 2005.

Should law firms blog?

Information Overlord Scott Vine does it again, referring us to an interesting sounding piece in the 1 January 2005 issue of Partner's Report for Law Firm Owners by the Institute of Management & Administration entitled "Should your law firm start a blog?" (available by subscription or pay per view).  The answer in the article is said to be yes. See what Scott has to say here. Feedmelegal agrees wholeheartedly with him.

Law in Hyperspeed

Law in Hyperspeed is a new lawyer-written blog by someone wishing to share his experiences of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) with lawyers and others of similar disposition. A rare example of a lawyer bearing his soul. Feedmelegal wishes LIH all the best.

"The Business of Blogging"

As some will have seen, there's an article at BusinessWeek Online on The Business of Blogging. The passage that caught feedmelegal's eye was this:

J. Craig Williams, whose blog, mayitpleasethecourt.net, is part of the law network, says he expects his monthly traffic of 100,000 page views to rise substantially.

100,000 page views plus per month? Sounds like a pretty decent hit rate doesn't it?  Feedmelegal wonders how many traditional law firm websites without RSS feeds could boast such activity.

"Maximizing Your Law Firm's Internet Marketing"

That's the title of an interesting sounding webinar LexBlog's Kevin O'Keefe delivered on Wednesday for the Legal Marketing Association.  He has kindly made his Powerpoint presentation available for all to see.  You can check it out here.  As you'd expect, some interesting topics appear to have been covered in the webinar.  Among many other things, the Powerpoint has some interesting facts and figures.  One slide in particular caught feedmelegal's attention.  It's headed:  "Large law firms (Am Law 200) very attracted to blogs".  Would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall when this slide was discussed.

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