The November edition of Litigation News, a publication of the ABA Section of Litigation, highlights the emergence of law blogs. The article, which available online as a PDF file, is mostly favorable, and even ends with a link to my outline of law blogs. But the article quoted one lawyer whose observations I found rather provocative.
Steven A. Weiss, a Chicago lawyer and Co-Chair of the Section’s Technology for the Litigator Committee, said that “blogs tend to be too informal for the exchange of detailed information” and thus he does not believe that “blogs will have a significant impact on the legal profession.”
Well, I agree that blogs won’t have a significant impact on the legal profession. But not because they are informal and lack detailed information. Weblogs are already of great use to many lawyers. For example, Howard Bashman seems to have bolstered his well-deserved reputation through his weblog. However, Howard’s weblog is not only beneficial to Howard, it is also of great benefit to the many lawyers, law clerks, and judges who read it for timely and informed discussion of breaking legal news. Is Howard’s weblog too informal? Does it lack detailed information? Has Mr. Weiss even heard of Howard Bashman or read his weblog?
Has Mr. Weiss considered that a law firm might use a weblog to market itself as having expertise in an area of law, and thereby attract clients and boost its reputation? Consider Wiggins & Dana’s weblog on Franchise Law. I know of at least one General Counsel of a Franshisor company who reads it regularly. What if only 15 corporate general counsel read that weblog daily? Is that insignificant to Wiggins & Dana?
Marty Schwimmer’s Trademark Blog has helped him market his trademark law practice and brought him clients that he might not otherwise have had. Perhaps Marty’s weblog would attract more clients if it were filled with detailed and boring descriptions of trademark law, rather than down-to-earth commentary and humorous asides.
Mr. Weiss apparently is a litigator. Therefore he must know about the Daubert case that prescribed the limits on the use of expert testimony in federal courts. But I wonder if he knows about blog 702. Maybe he doesn’t do the kind of litigation that would cause him to benefit from reading that weblog. If he doesn’t care about a blog on Daubert issues, then he probably wouldn’t care about sites like the Daily Whirl and My Detod, which provide a compendium of information from various legal weblogs.
All of that having been said, Mr. Weiss may be completely correct in his view that law blogs are not all that significant. Of course, what is “significant” pretty much depends on how you look at the world. For example, a caveman wouldn’t regard a cellphone as a particularly significant tool, unless maybe he could use it to smash rocks.