That was the future of legal blogging

18 February 2011 by

Last night, 35 legal bloggers, tweeters and journalists descended on 1 Crown Office Row chambers to debate the future of legal blogging. Twitter was abuzz with the event, and you can read the tweets even if you are not signed up to a Twitter account.

The panel was made up legal bloggers David Allen Green (Jack of KentNew Statesman), Carl Gardner (Head of Legal) and Adam Wagner (UK Human Rights Blog), and was chaired by Catrin Griffiths, editor of The Lawyer.

The event was a great success. I will write about it in more detail soon, as I hope will others. The one and a half hour discussion was always interesting and animated, and continued in earnest over drinks and substantial nibbles afterwards. There was also a complete reversal of the usual protocol that mobile phones should be turned off, and many people tweeted from the event. One of our editors even made a successful eBay bid.

A common sentiment was that legal blogging complements and can work alongside legal journalism. The audience was a genuine mix of what one might call, non-pejoratively, the “traditional” media and the “new” media. Many spoke of the public interest of fact-checking coverage of legal news, which bloggers and tweeters were well placed to do, being enthusiasts with quick fingers and no sub-editors.

Another was that although legal tweeting had marked the end of a few legal blogs, in fact it is just another form of legal blogging and certainly one which could live alongside it.

We discussed hot topics such as whether anonymity has a legitimate part to play: yes it does, but legal job-seekers need not necessarily be afraid of revealing themselves. Also, the vexed question of commenters, and whether they should be pre-moderated or not. The panel all said that the commenters to their sites were usually extremely helpful and constructive.

By the end of the seminar, we had spent so much time discussing the present and all of its challenges that we had barely mentioned the future.

I will write a fuller account soon, and an audio podcast will be available in the next few days. In the meantime, you can read the detailed and interesting discussion which happened during the event on Twitter here (#lawblogs), with thanks to Isabel McArdle who live tweeted for us. You don’t need to be signed up to Twitter to read it.

On the basis of last night, legal blogging and tweeting undoubtedly has an exciting future. With so many enthusiastic and dedicated people involved it is hard to see how it couldn’t.  We are almost certainly aiming to organise a bigger event in the next few months. Watch this space.

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  1. Social media is unstoppable and looks as though it has no signs of slowing down. It is good to see that everyone is starting to accept the idea instead of challanging it.

  2. jtownend says:

    @Nick Homes:

    “Unfortunately, too often these days blogging (and Twitter) are seen simply as marketing channels which rather reduces the average quality and utility of the media.”

    That’s what I’ve seen a lot of too, and was a little apprehensive that’s what this event would be full of. Fortunately not… I think it could be a very productive community in which to discuss issues like freeing legal data, digital open justice etc…

  3. […] UK Human Rights Blog […]

  4. thincat says:

    Weird that there is no mention of legal aid blogs given that this is the absolutely key issue in legal circles at present with the proposed legal aid cuts- see ilegal

  5. Nick Homes says:

    Sorry to have missed this event, not least the opportunity to meet virtual friends and contacts. It’s good to see the enthusiasm and dedication evident in those who tweeted and have subsequently blogged about it.

    I’ve been blogging and commenting on law blogging since 2004 when there were less than a handful of blogs. Unfortunately, too often these days blogging (and Twitter) are seen simply as marketing channels which rather reduces the average quality and utility of the media. That’s to be expected and we can’t be too precious about what is a blog. But it’s great that LawBlogs has highlighted some of the best and I look forward to LawBlogs II.

  6. […] his post entitled¬†“That was the future of legal blogging”, Adam Wagner of the UK Human Rights Blog gives a good run-down of what was […]

  7. jtownend says:

    thank you Adam & the others at One Crown Office Row for hosting the event. I think there’s still lots of meaty stuff to discuss, especially in terms of ethics and regulation. It inspired me to rant about locked up legal data & how legal blogging helps plug a gap between expensive paywalled legal material and ordinary people, here:

  8. Carl Gardner says:

    It was terrific event. Thanks for inviting me! And I look forward to the podcast.

  9. Looking forward to hearing the podcast but I suspect the market has massive room for expansion and I hope that lawyers see the tremendous opportunities and don’t get too bogged down in analysing the risk but look at the upside. I fear that if law firm management starts to play too big a role that it will end up like reading a whole bunch of me too websites, and just another self-promotional tool. We need also to educate our clients as to how to consume the content. At the moment there is still too much ignorance around aggregation – RSS or a reader. iPads will help but there is no point generating content that only a few read.


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