LOMA : Articles
Beware the Blogosphere
By Patricia Yevics
Director, Law Office Management
Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.
In June, 2005
I did an article (http://www.msba.org/departments/loma/articles/techstuff/blawgs.htm)
on legal blogs or blawgs. In the article, I discussed how it easy it was
to set up a blawg and how they could be used by practitioners. I did not
necessarily recommend that practitioners create blawgs then and I am not
recommending it now. I have mixed feelings about whether they are worth
the time and effort. However, I do believe that they are another tool in
the legal tech tool box. In this article, I am going to give information
about some of the blawgs worth noting and how you can use them in your
quest for information.
In August, 2005, Technorati,(www.technorati.com)
the "official" blog tracker, determined that there were 14.2 million blogs.
According to a report from the BBC, it stated that one blog was being
created every second and "on average, the number of blogs is doubling
every five months." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4737671.stm).
In the State of the Blogosphere in February, there were 27.2 million blogs
and today (March 19, 2006), Technorati site says that it is tracking 31
My point - the numbers are staggering. In the time that it
will take me to write this article, there will be 200 new blogs. Many of
these are just the musings of young adults and fringe elements but many
are being done by professionals with valuable information to share.
Before listing some valuable blogs and then websites, let's
discuss the difference between a blog and website. They are similar but
not the same. Both provide information - lots of information -on the
internet. The main (but not only) difference is that websites require
some technical skill to create and are usually designed to provide
facts/information about a company, organization/institution. Blogs
require no technical ability and are designed to allow a person or
organization to share information about particular topics. It allows
people to give opinions as well as facts. Unlike many websites, they are
updated daily and can discuss many topics or focus on just one topic.
The value of blogs to practitioners is that many professionals
are putting out valuable information on many areas of law, technology and
management and sharing it with the rest of us.
As it was with the internet and websites, finding the valuable
blogs and once you find them, remembering to go to them. Unlike websites,
which do not change constantly, blogs add information on a daily or weekly
basis. The best way to get that information is to subscribe to the blog(s)
of your choice using RSS or Really Simple Syndication.
In order to receive RSS feeds, you need an RSS reader. You
then subscribe to the Web site or blog from which you want to receive
content, and the information will be delivered automatically to your RSS
reader. To subscribe you need to use a piece of software referred to as a
news or RSS Aggregator. They range from free to about $30.00 and the
search engine Firefox has a RSS reader built in.
"There are two main types of aggregators: web-based
aggregators and desktop/software aggregators. Web-based aggregators (e.g.
Bloglines - www.bloglines.com)
allow individuals to sign up for the service and read their feeds online
in just one site. There's no need to download and install any programs
Desktop/software aggregators require individuals to download and install
a program to the computer. This type of aggregator usually has a lot
more functions available to the user." (From
Since this article is really about how some blogs (blawgs in
the legal community) can be valuable for practitioners, I am going to list
some that you might find helpful. As with early websites, you need to be
careful with the information that is in the blog but they can be extremely
useful in many areas.
I will be putting links to all these blogs at the MSBA Blog (http://loma.typepad.com/)
and at the Solo and Small Firm Section Home Page (http://www.msba.org/sec_comm/sections/solo/)
and will add to them as I find them.
If there are
some that you find helpful, please forward them to me at
Places to Go
websites for reviews and comparisons of News Aggregators are
PC World (http://tinyurl.com/g7fdh)
(www.blawg.com) is the best place to
start if you want to get an idea of the legal blogs. This site is serious
about presenting quality blogs.
Aggregators - The Daily Whirl (www.dailywhirl.com)
and Detod Blawg Watch (www.blawgs.detod.com)
Blogs worth reviewing:
Svenson, a Louisiana attorney
Dennis Kennedy - an early legal blogger and technology consultant
Legal Research Sites
Alia from a Texas attorney (and tech guru) Tom Mighell
Supreme Court Coverage - from the law firm of Goldstein & Howe -
Appealing - Billed as the first blog devoted to appellate litigation
from Pennsylvania attorney, Howard Bashman -
Intriguing Websites for Legal Profession by Robert Ambrogi, a
Massachusetts lawyer. http://www.legaline.com/lawsites.html
In preparing this article, I have spent two days in blogosphere and there
is a lot of stuff out there, some worthwhile and some not. I am not sure
that all of these blogs will be able to maintain the daily updating and we
could end up with cyberspace litter. Until then, viewing and subscribing
to blogs can be helpful to practitioners.
information from blogs and blogs worth monitoring