From this Friday I will be doing a weekly round-up of UK legal blogging for The Lawyer. This will not be some earnest clinical exercise based on aggregate counts of page views, number of commenters, or any other statistical basis or social media metric.
From this Friday I will be doing a weekly round-up of UK legal blogging for The Lawyer. This will not be some earnest clinical exercise based on aggregate counts of page views, number of commenters, or any other statistical basis or social media metric. Instead it will be subjective, based on blogposts that have either caught my eye or have been sent to me on Twitter – @davidallengreen – or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The simple purpose of this round-up will be to promote what appears to me to be good and lively legal blogging to a wider readership. It will include posts on the new The Lawyer blogging site, but it will cover posts wherever they are published.
So what, then, is good legal blogging? There is actually no straightforward answer to this question, as there are many different types of legal blogs. However, good legal blogging – like good blogging generally – invariably provides useful information on your computer screen that is not readily available from any other medium. A blogger can also link to sources – especially case reports and codes of practice. This makes blogging especially attractive to those writing about law – it is like having electronic footnotes.
A blogger can respond immediately to emerging events or legal stories in the news, with no need to ’file copy’ with a set word-count for some delayed press publication. This ease and immediacy can have a correcting effect on news stories developing on the internet. And a blogger can – in certain circumstances – self-publish what they see as the truth of a legal matter in a way that would not really be suitable for general publication in any other form.
Only a fool would miss out on what can be gained – usually without any cost – from good legal blogging.
By way of illustration, some of the most compelling legal blogging at the moment is coming from in-house lawyers. Last week, general counsel Tom Kilroy posted a powerful critique of private practice lawyers and their sometimes casual attitude to confidentiality. And Tim Bratton, general counsel at the Financial Times, recently posted a scathing and insightful post on the fees charged by large law firms.
Law firms often employ consultants so as to understand their customers’ demands, but the posts of Kilroy and Bratton are perhaps more helpful in communicating hard truths about how the business of law works or should work. As such, this is legal blogging at its best, and this is the sort of blogging that should be read avidly by those concerned with the sale of legal services.
There is good legal blogging also coming from external lawyers (especially barristers), and from students, lecturers, compliance officers, business people, legal journalists, and many other pundits. And there is no inherent bias to the ’top firms’ or ’top chambers’. On average, one can see a couple of interesting legal blogposts every day, each warranting a wider audience. Some blogposts may be detailed expositions of the law, while others can be brutal analyses of legal matters in the news, or accounts of the realities of professional life. Each will be worth the effort to read.
Legal blogging may still be relatively novel. However, it could soon become a mainstay of all those interested in law and those who practise it. My first round-up will be on Friday.
David Allen Green is media correspondent of The Lawyer.