September 17, 2010

Wisconsin Law Journal Redesigns Website - with New RSS Feed Links

The Wisconsin Law Journal recently launched a website redesign. The layout is very clean and attractive and offers lots of web 2.0 features such as alerts, RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook feeds and more.

One thing to note, however: If you previously subscribed to any of the WLJ RSS feeds, you'll need to resubscribe now since the links have changed. See the list of feed options.

Hat tip to my colleague and WLJ blogger, Bev Butula.

October 27, 2009

New FTC Guidelines to Affect Bloggers' Product Endorcements

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45).

For the first time, the guidance covers blogs and other social media platforms:

The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

The guidelines offer several illustrations of endorsements that do and don't fall under the Act. This one specifically speaks to bloggers.

  • A consumer who regularly purchases a particular brand of dog food decides one day to purchase a new, more expensive brand made by the same manufacturer. She writes in her personal blog that the change in diet has made her dog's fur noticeably softer and shinier, and that in her opinion, the new food definitely is worth the extra money. This posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.

  • Assume that rather than purchase the dog food with her own money, the consumer gets it for free because the store routinely tracks her purchases and its computer has generated a coupon for a free trial bag of this new brand. Again, her posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.

  • Assume now that the consumer joins a network marketing program under which she periodically receives various products about which she can write reviews if she wants to do so. If she receives a free bag of the new dog food through this program, her positive review would be considered an endorsement under the Guides.

"Practices inconsistent with these Guides," the FTC notes, "may result in corrective action by the Commission under Section 5 if, after investigation, the Commission has reason to believe that the practices fall within the scope of conduct declared unlawful by the statute."

Source: Wisconsin Law Journal

October 23, 2009

WLJ's 10 Terrific Law Practice Management Blogs

Jane Pribek at the Wisconsin Law Journal has compiled a list of 10 terrific law practice management blogs.

She's grouped them by Up and coming, Big names, and Home-grown talent. I'm honored to be included in the latter group.

September 10, 2009

2009 Legal Educator Blog Census Results

Colin Miller at the EvidenceProf Blog has compiled the results of the 2009 Legal Educator Blog Census. Here are some of the findings:

June 29, 2009

WI Dept of Justice RSS Feed

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has set up a RSS feed.

From the Press Release: You can currently subscribe and receive all press releases and media alerts. Other information, such as Attorney General Guest Columns, featured topics of interest, and missing children alerts will be added in the near future.

Source: The Wheeler Report

April 1, 2009

Law Library of Congress Hosts Archive of Legal Blogs

Earlier this week, the Law Library of Congress released an archive of legal blawgs dating back to 2007. The collection includes more than 100 blogs categorized by topic covering a broad cross section of legal topics. According to Infotoday Blog, the library plans to increase that number to 200 by the end of 2009.

This is an important development. While blogs contain a wealth of information, their transient nature has been troubling to researchers and scholars. In harvesting content from these blogs, the Law Library of Congress has begun to address this concern by preserving the content for future researchers.

According to Infotoday, blogs were selection based on variety, authority (frequenty cited, widely read, awards won, and scholarly nature) and user nomination. Blogs are monitored regularly to ensure that they continue to fit the selection criteria.

Future enhancements include improved searching and browsing of catalog and bibliographic records and better integration with other collections.

Thanks to the Hon. Daniel Anderson for alerting me about the Legal Blawgs archive.

January 14, 2009

Law Library Blogs List Tops 150

I'm pleased to report that my list of law library blogs has recently reached 150. It's wonderful that law librarians are so active in the blogosphere.

If you know of any blogs that I've missed, please contact me and I'll add them to the list.

December 3, 2008

Blogs Increasingly Popular Among Law Firms

Blogging continues to increase in popularity among large law firms according to LexBlog's, Kevin O'Keefe. His November 2008 State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere reveals the following:

Growth highlights:

  • Over 35% of AmLaw 200 law firms have blogs.
  • 12% of AmLaw 200 law firms have more than one blog.
  • 32% growth in last 8 months in the number of AmLaw 200 law firms publishing blogs.
  • 39% growth in last 8 months in total number of blogs being published by AmLaw 200 law firms (some firms have more than one blog).

And in the numbers:

  • 72 of the 2008 AmLaw 200 firms were blogging.
  • Those 72 firms were responsible for a total of 159 blogs.
  • 122 of the 159 blogs were firm branded; the remaining 37 blogs were not branded. 'Firm branded' blogs are those where the firm's name and/or logo are prominently displayed, indicating that the blog is more a product of the firm than of the individual author writing it.

See the full results, including a list of law firms with blogs or lawyers blogging at Real Lawyers Have Blogs.

November 19, 2008

New Wisconsin Law Blog

There's a new addition to the Wisconsin blawgosphere - Wisconsin Lawyers Blog. Welcome!

From the Wisconsin Law Journal:

With 8 Wisconsin attorneys blogging at the site, in the categories of civil litigation, real estate, business law, personal injury, and intellectual property, it will be a great addition to the legal community.

November 6, 2008

WisBlawg Featured at

I'm honored to report that WisBlawg is one of the featured blogs over at

If you're not familiar with it, Blawg is a portal of legal blogs. It features a search engine for legal blog content, as well as a directory of individual legal blogs. Very useful when you want to find about the buzz about a particular legal topic or for discovering new blogs in your practice area.


October 17, 2008

$10K Scholarship for Student Bloggers

Know any students who write a great blog? Direct them to The Blogging Scholarship from Collage Or nominate them yourself. Last year's $10,000 scholarship winner was a law student from Loyola.

September 22, 2008

Advice on Blogging for Attorneys

Kevin O'Keefe, Wisconsin native and president of LexBlog, has written an excellent article on blogging in this month's Wisconsin Lawyer. He discusses the benefits of blogging, offers advice for how to get started and what to write about, tips on designing a blog, and more. Definitely worth a read if you've been thinking about starting a blog.

Kevin will be the plenary speaker at the Solo & Small Firm Practice Convention, October 23rd in Wisconsin Dells.

September 19, 2008

SnackUpon Creates Suggestions RSS Feed Based on Delicious Bookmarks

SnackUpon creates a customized RSS feed that delivers content you might like based on your Delicious bookmarks. Read more at Lifehacker.

I was curious about this so I created and subscribed to a feed based on my Delicious account. I was surprised by the volume and variety of the sites that it suggested. Nothing particularly noteworthy yet, but it definitely has the potential to uncover some interesting stuff.

September 2, 2008

Tracking Blog Posts & Comments about You, Your Firm, Clients, Competitors, Employees, Jurors, Experts, & More

Tracking what people say on blogs can be important to legal professionals for a number of reasons:

  • Image Monitoring - What are people saying about you, your firm, your clients?
  • Competitive Intelligence - What are people saying about the competition?
  • Personnel - What is being said by and about potential employees?
  • Litigation - What is the buzz about your case and your clients?; are your jurors or expert witnesses blogging or commenting on other blogs?

Fortunately, there are some tools you can use to track this information.

Google Blogs is a search engine for blog content. Using the subscribe options on the left of the search results page, you can set up an email alert or RSS feed so that you'll be notified if your search terms appear in any new blog posts.

That works well for people who have their own blogs, but what about those who leave comments to other people's blogs? That is a bit trickier - or at least it used to be.

I just learned about a new comment search engine called BackType. backtype.gif
With BackType, you have two search options:

  • Search People - search blog comments from all over the web or search for comments left by individual people. Think of this as comments "from"
  • Search Comments - search blog comments matching any keyword, including a name. This of this as comments "about"

To track future comments, subscribe to the RSS feed on your BackType search results page.


May 15, 2008

State Bar Convention Session Generates Discussion on Blogs as Legal Scholarship

Last week I had the honor of presenting at the State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Convention here in Madison. I spoke at a Litigation Section program entitled "This Blog's for You" along with Mark Herrmann of Drug & Device Law and Anne Reed of Deliberations.

In my part of the presentation, I discussed blogs generally - what are blogs, how are they being used by legal professionals, how do you find legal blogs, and how do you read them. I developed this quick handout which is available at Scribd.

Anne Reed offered some insights on why litigators, especially, should be aware of blogs. She stressed that because juries are blogging, it's important for lawyers to understand blogs. Mark Herrmann spoke on the whys and hows of writing a blog as a legal professional.

One thing that was mentioned by all three of us was the relationship between blogs and law reviews. Jack Zemlicka has expanded on that in a recent Wisconsin Law Journal article. Here are some highlights from the article:

Attorney Anne W. Reed suggests that attorneys today are interested in obtaining relevant information in minutes, rather than weeks, and reputable legal bloggers provide that service...

It can take months to get an article published in a law review, but mere minutes for a blog post to go up on a Web site.

"Because blogs are so freely available, information can flow around the blogosphere very quickly, allowing lots of people to add to the conversation," Shucha said in an interview.

"Law reviews, on the other hand, are print-based and expensive -- two detriments to the easy flow of information."...

"The idea that I can put something about a recent case in a law review and have people read it 8 to 10 months from now? Those days are gone," said Herrmann during the panel discussion.

The article also offers the perspective from Eric J. Weiss, editor-in-chief of Wisconsin Law Review, who believes that law reviews still have plenty to offer.

During an interview, he conceded that blogs can instantly offer brief insights into current legal issues, but readers still seek out law reviews for fleshed-out perspectives, and that will never change.

"Blogs are short and quick," said Weiss. "They can present analysis during oral argument, but they are not thoroughly researched like law review submissions."...

He also picked up on something I said in defense of law reviews:

One potential pitfall of legal blogs is the credibility of the writer, something which is generally not an issue with law reviews.

"Unlike a law review article where the reader can be fairly certain that the author is knowledgeable and the information is accurate, blogs have no such assumption of authority," said Shucha.

The article concludes with some wise words by Weiss:

Regardless of an attorney's motivation for reading a blog rather than a law review, Weiss said the two information outlets can be more collaborative than competitive.

"Even though they may be serving different purposes, at the end of day, both expose more readers to more legal info," said Weiss, who added that the law review may integrate components of a blog in the future.

February 28, 2008

Really Useful Law-Related RSS Feeds

Court Documents

  • CCAP - Notification of new WI Circuit Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court cases by party name and/or all filings for an individual case
  • Wisconsin Courts - All new Court of Appeals and Supreme Court opinions, oral arguments, certifications, etc.
  • Justia - Receive new full-text U.S. District Circuit Court opinions and filings by type, keyword, or jurisdiction
  • Seventh Circuit - Track the latest opinions released by the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Cornell Supreme Court Collection - Monitor recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions

Legislation & Regulations

  • GovTrack - Track U.S. Congressional bills - new bills by subject or representative, or by action on individual bills
  • Justia Regulations Tracker - Track new Federal Register documents by agency, type of document or keyword

Legal Scholarship




  • PubSub - Customized SEC filings [not currently available]


RSS for Law School Faculty & Staff

Last week I gave a presentation to the UW Law School faculty and staff on the legal applications of RSS. I've posted my slides and handouts on Scribd and thought I'd share them here.

Read this doc on Scribd: RSS for Law School Faculty & Staff

Related handouts:

February 25, 2008

Cool RSS Tools

RSS aficionados will appreciate 14 "Other" Ways to Use RSS Feeds from With these tools, you can do all sorts of interesting things with RSS feeds, such as:

  • filter feeds by keyword
  • send feed content to email, cell phone, chat, etc
  • combine multiple feeds into one
  • format feed content for print
  • display feed content on a Web page
  • convert text based feeds to audio

February 19, 2008

Law Library of Congress RSS Feeds

The Law Library of Congress is now offering a handful of RSS feeds.

  • News & Events
  • Research Reports
  • Webcasts
  • Global Legal Monitor

Source: AbsTracked

January 15, 2008

UW Law Library Recent Acquisitions RSS Feed

Last week I announced that MadCat, the UW Madison Library catalog, had added RSS feeds for new items from various campus libraries and subjects, including law.

I also noted that the Law Library is continuing to produce our Selected Recent Acquisitions list which is much more detailed. Customized email delivery is available and I'm pleased to announce that we've just added a RSS feed.

Unlike the previously mentioned MadCat generated feed, our Selected Recent Acquisitions feed only lists titles which are truly new. Because it is tied to our acquisitions system, the MadCat generated feed lists everything we've received, like new supplements of long held titles, older items that have just been retrospectively cataloged, etc.

So, if you're interested browsing new items received by the UW Law Library, I recommend that you subscribe to our Selected Recent Acquisitions RSS feed or customized email service.

If you would like to request one of our recently acquired titles, or any other title for that matter, you may use our Outlaw Document Delivery service. (See our fee schedule.)

January 14, 2008

Bella is Bewildered About Blogs

Bev Butula, law librarian colleague and blogger over at the Wisconsin Law Journal, shared with me a fun story she created to illustrate how useful blogs can be to legal professionals.

The story is entitled Bella is Bewildered About Blogs. Think Wolf v. Pig, but about blogs.

All silliness aside, this story is a great way to learn more about blogs and how you, as a legal professional, can use them to stay current with a very small investment of your time. Several Wisconsin-related blogs are featured, including WisBlawg.

January 3, 2008

RSS Feeds for New Items from Law Library & other UW Madison Libraries

I'm pleased to report that MadCat, the UW Madison library catalog, now features RSS feeds for new items. New In MadCat is a list of books, journals, and titles in all media that have recently been cataloged by campus libraries. The list is updated every Wednesday.

You may subscribe to RSS feeds for particular Subjects and Campus Libraries.

Law-Related Subject feeds

* All
* America. North America
* Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
* Canada
* Europe
* History of canon law
* Islamic law
* Jewish law
* Latin America. Mexico and Central America. West Indies. Caribbean area
* Law of nations
* Law of the Roman Catholic Church. The Holy See
* Religious law in general. Comparative religious law. Jurisprudence
* South America
* United Kingdom and Ireland
* United States

A feed for all newly cataloged items from the UW Law Library is also available. However, we will continue to produce our Selected Recent Acquisitions list which is much more detailed. Customized email delivery is available.

December 18, 2007

Movable Type Goes Open Source

Last week, the popular blogging software, Movable Type announced that they are now open source. This means you can freely modify, redistribute, and use Movable Type for any purpose you choose. Read more at the Movable Type blog.

Source: Boing Boing

November 2, 2007

Some Bloggers = Journalists According to SC Federal Judge

A South Carolina District Court judge has ruled that bloggers may have the same rights as journalists, depending on the content of the blog. The complete case, BidZirk LLC v Phillip J Smith, is available at Justia. Justia rocks!

From Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr.'s opinion:

However, in determining whether Smith was engaged in news reporting or news commentating, the court has applied the functional analysis suggested by commentators and the Plaintiffs in their memorandum in support of a preliminary injunction, which examines the content of the material, not the format, to determine whether it is journalism... In addition, the court has considered the intent of Smith in writing the article. The court agrees that not all bloggers are journalists. However, some bloggers are without question journalists.

Source: What I Learned Today...

September 13, 2007

Converting a Newsletter into a Blog

Real Lawyers Have Blogs has some good advice on converting a law firm newsletter into a blog.

September 12, 2007

E-Book on Law of the Blog

There is a new e-book available called Law of The Blog, which according to author Nicholas Carroll, is "about bloggers' legal rights and risks in the U.S.A." The table of contents is available on the Web site.

Source: Slaw

September 6, 2007

Blogging Workshop at WI State Law Library

The Wisconsin State Law Library routinely offers a great slate of workshops. Looks like there is a new one coming up in November called, "Using Blogs to Promote Your Law Practice."

Here's the description:

Blogs can be used to inform, communicate and network. How can you use a blog to connect with clients? Learn how attorneys and law firms are using blogs and how easy it is to maintain a web presence without a website, or enhance an existing website. Attend this two hour session to learn how to create and market your blog. Watch a demonstration of how to set up a blog using a popular blogging tool.

August 6, 2007

NewsGator Webinar - "Enterprise RSS for the Legal Profession"

NewsGator, a company specializing in information delivery via RSS, is offering a free Webinar titled "Enterprise RSS for the Legal Profession" on August 21st, 2:00 ET.

I expect they will be demoing NewsGator Enterprise Server which according to their Web site "helps organizations take news and updates from the Web, the blogosphere, premium content providers and internal applications and systems and automatically deliver it to places where their employees can easily find and use it ? portals, mobile devices, their desktops or preset folders in Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes."

August 3, 2007

RSS Feed for New Digital Collections from the UW

Over the last few years, I've featured a number of online collections produced by the UW Digital Collections Center, such as Wisconsin Blue Books, the State of Wisconsin Collection and the University of Wisconsin Collection. Now you can find out about new collections directly with the UWDCC's new RSS feed.

About the UWDCC: In the spirit of the "Wisconsin Idea," the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (UWDCC) creates and provides access to digital resources from a variety of original formats including books, photographs, archival materials, audio, and video. These resources are freely available to the general public via the World Wide Web.

August 1, 2007

BlawgWorld 2007 - I Finally Get It

This Monday marked the release of BlawgWorld 2007, an eBook featuring the best posts from "77 of the most influential blawgs." I'm very honored that WisBlawg was selected for inclusion again this year.

I have to admit, though, that I until today, I didn't really see the point of BlawgWorld - of gathering tiny snapshots of blawgs into an eBook. That's why I read with interest Robert Ambrogi's "BlawgWorld 2007: I Still Don't Get It" post over at Ambrogi echoed my thoughts:

But the premise of this book is that is serves as the best way for lawyers to discover legal blogs and choose the ones they might regularly read. I still don't see how it does that. Myself, I am able to evaluate a blog only by reading several postings over a period of time.

But then I read Ross Kodner's comment to Ambrogi's post and I finally understood the value of BlawgWorld:

What I find is that the majority of lawyers still barely know what a blog is, no less subscribe to multiple blogs and actually learn from all the valuable content that's out there. So the point I think you didn't bring up is that the 77 essays - cherry-picked by their authors to represent self-perceived "best of" content - present a tremendous amount of useful information that thousands of lawyers and their staff will read and benefit from.

I still have the sense that some bloggers are still so caught up in the mechanism of blogging and being part of the blawging world that it's easy to forget what I personally think is the only thing that matters: education.

Education - Bingo! So BlawgWorld is all about educating non-blogging legal professionals about blogs. What are they?; What do they have to offer?; Which ones match my interests? Hopefully, then, some of these readers will be intrigued enough to venture out into the blogosphere. As a someone who has devoted a lot of effort to educating legal professionals about blogs, I feel almost embarrassed that I didn't get it before now.

So, if you haven't already looked at BlawgWorld 2007, I highly recommend it. If you're new to blogs, it will introduce them in an easy to use eBook format. And, if you're a blog expert, you may still find a few new ones that you'd like to read.

BlawgWorld is completely free to download - no registration hassles. I warn you that it is quite large and will take a while to download. You can also watch the press conference video which consists of three parts: (1) a behind the scenes look at what makes this eBook noteworthy, (2) a guided tour of the eBook and its features, and (3) a Q&A session with those who attended the press conference.

July 27, 2007

5 Tips to Increase RSS Subscribers

Do you or your organization offer any RSS feeds? If so, take a look at 5 Tips to Increase RSS Subscribers which I learned about today over at LibrarianInBlack.

The tips include:
1) Make it stand out
2) Offer a full feed
3) Subscriber count
4) Multiple buttons
5) Email Subscription

I agree with LiB that they are all good tips except for #3. I'm not big on subscriber counters either. If you have a high number of subscribers, it just seems like you're showing off. If your subscribers are few, it just looks sad.

But I can enthusiastically endorse the others, especially tip #5. Not every potential reader is into RSS so it makes tons of sense to offer an email subscription option also (it's really easy - check out FeedBlitz). More than half of those who subscribe to WisBlawg do so via email.

July 23, 2007

Today in Legal History

A collaboration between FindLaw and Justice Talking brings us Today in Legal History. This blog shares a daily legal history factoid along with links to related resources.

Source: Law Dawg Blawg

July 19, 2007

Wisconsin Union Blend Blog Discusses Instructional Technology at UW-Madison

Wisconsin Union Blend is a new blog where "members of the UW-Madison teaching and instructional technology communities to come together and talk about the campus issues that impact our respective fields."

I learned about it this morning when my "ego feed" picked up a comment about WisBlawg. So far the posts have centered around Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, podcasting, RSS and wikis. Explanations and suggestions are offered on how to use these technologies for instruction.

July 13, 2007

Proof & Hearsay, New JS Blog, Offers CCAP Search Tips

Proof and Hearsay is a new blog from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "devoted to law-and-order issues in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin, with occasional ventures farther afield for legal matters relevant to the way justice is carried out around here."

Check out yesterday's post, CCAP hints and tricks #1: Mass searches made easy. Two tips are offered: how to figure out a courtroom's schedule on CCAP and looking at all the new prosecutions filed each day.

If you're looking for search capabilities beyond what is offered on CCAP, check out the fee-based CourtTracker service.

May 21, 2007

Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium - Web 2.0, Teaching Cost Effective Searching & Evaluating Subscription DBs

I'm back from Chicago Kent where I attended the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium. I was unable to live blog the afternoon sessions, so I'll share a few thoughts now.

Right after lunch, I participated on a panel with Professors Doug Berman of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University (Sentencing Law and Policy Blog & Law School Innovation) and Richard Friedman of University of Michigan Law School (The Confrontation Blog). The session, which was moderated by Debbie Ginsberg, was on Web 2.0: New Tools for Doing and Teaching Legal Research. The panel began with each of us discussing how we got into blogging and the place of blogs in legal scholarship. I then explored a number of Web 2.0 technologies and discussed their role in legal research. They included:

I created a handout which defines each of the above with links to examples. There is also a wiki for the panel to which you are invited to contribute

Later that afternoon I attended two more sessions. Alison Julien & Kira Zaporski from Marquette University Law School, Rosalie Sanderson of New York Law School and Sarah Valentine of CUNY Law School gave an interesting presentation on Being Research-Selective for Efficiency and Economy. They shared the strategies that they use for teaching law students cost-effective legal research strategies. I was particularly impressed with the time sheet exercise used at Marquette.

The last session I attended was on Evaluating Subscription Databases. Julie Jones from Cornell Law School began with an explanation of how the eye tracks a web site. Then she offered suggestions on how Westlaw and Lexis might improve their search interfaces so that law students could learn to use them more efficiently and cost effectively. I was glad to see that there were representatives from each vendor in attendance because she had some great suggestions.

April 27, 2007

"State of the Law Library Blogosphere" Named ALL-SIS Outstanding Article

I recently been notified that my article on the State of the Law Library Blogosphere was chosen as the winner of the ALL-SIS Outstanding Article Award. I'm very honored to receive the award.

Here's the abstract:

Although the legal and library literature is filled with information about the theoretical pros and cons of blog publishing, little has been written about actual blogging experiences. Who is blogging? What are they blogging about? Who reads blogs? What technologies are being used? Have blogs been successful? What lessons can be shared? These are the questions explored in this article. Through this study, potential bloggers will better evaluate whether this technology is right for them and veterans will gain insight into their own blogging experience in comparison to their peers.

April 3, 2007

RSS Tracking for Canadian Bills

From Library Boy:

LEGISinfo, the Library of Parliament's legislative research website, has started offering RSS feeds since the beginning of this parliamentary session to help people track bills before the House of Commons and the Senate.

In the lefthand column on the LEGISinfo home page, simply click on any of the links to Senate or House of Commons bills from the 39th Parliament.

March 30, 2007

A New Law Librarian Blog: All-Purpose BiblioBlawg

Meg Kribble, a new law librarian at Nova Southeastern University Law Library in south Florida, has recently started blogging at All-Purpose BiblioBlawg.

In addition to law, librarianship, and legal research, Meg also blogs about such things as Second Life, Macs, cool YouTube content, and sci fi TV shows. Yay - someone else to talk Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica with. What is it with law librarians and sci fi?

March 23, 2007

Track Federal Regulations with Justia

Justia just keeps getting better and better. The latest addition, Regulation Tracker allows you to search, browse, and track Federal Register documents. justia.png

Not only is there a RSS feed for every agency, but you can customize them by type of document or keyword. I just had someone ask me whether a product like this existed - and at the time it didn't. Very cool.

Source: Law Dawg Blawg

LC Subject Headings RSS Feed

Beginning with Weekly List 1 for 2007, the Library of Congress Subject Headings Weekly Lists and Library of Congress Classification Weekly Lists are now available as free RSS feeds.

Thanks to my colleague, Cindy May for the tip.

March 21, 2007

Another New WI Blawg, Deliberations Focuses on Juries

Anne Reed, trial lawyer and jury consultant in the Milwaukee office of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, SC, has started a very well done blog entitled, Deliberations. The focus of the blog is juries, jury trials and jury selection.

Not only is the blog well written, Anne does a great job of using images to attract attention. The photo of the child watching the Teletubbies caught my eye. And I was rewarded by reading the interesting accompanying post comparing jurors to adults who can't understand what little kids say --because they lack the context to do so. Unless you've seen the Teletubbies, you won't understand when a toddler describes what Tinky Winky did today. Now just try to explain Boobah.

Thanks to Judge Richard Sankovitz for the tip.

March 15, 2007

Quick Video Explaining RSS and Debunking Hurdles for RSS Adoption in Law Firms

Thanks to Blawg for the link to the Practical RSS video clip, An Introduction To RSS... In just seven minutes, the video does an excellent job of explaining what RSS is and how to use it. Well worth a few minutes of your time if you've been wanting to learn more about RSS.

And after you've learned about RSS, head over to Vancouver Law Librarian Blog for a debunking of the Biggest Hurdles for Law Firm RSS Adoption.

February 21, 2007

ABA Books RSS Feed

The ABA Web Store is now offering a RSS feed with information about new books available from the ABA. News Feed will include new titles and other Web Store information.

February 20, 2007

American Assoc. of Law Librarians Annual Mtg Blog

The Second Line Blog is the official blog for the American Association of Law Libraries' (AALL) 2007 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. It features current announcements, news, photos, informal reports from conference goers, and all sorts of important items of interest. Both a RSS feed and email subscription are available.

If you wish to contribute to the blog, contact the editor for an invitation.

January 4, 2007

Article on Filtering RSS Feeds

I'm please to report that my article, Too Much Information: Filtering RSS Feeds, appears in the Winter 2006 issue of Connecting..., the newsletter of the AALL Computing Services Special Interest Section.

In the article, I offer instructions for:

December 27, 2006

Legal Blog Awards

Tis the time of year for blog awards. Here are two which honor legal blogs:

WisBlawg Named Top 100 Education Blog

oedbtop100big.png I'm very honored to learn that WisBlawg has recently been named as a Top 100 Education Blog by the OEDb: Online Education Database. Not bad considering there are over 30,000 education blogs.

The list is not ranked but rather is ordered alphabetically within each topic. WisBlawg is one of four specialty blogs.

December 19, 2006

Library of Congress & Copyright Office RSS Feeds

Looks like the Library of Congress is offering a handful of RSS feeds. There are general feeds about library news and events, as well as feeds from the U.S. Copyright Office. The latter features feeds for current legislation, federal register notices and more.

Source: Library Stuff

November 20, 2006

"Blawg," Directory of Legal Blogs, Makes Some Improvements

If you've visited Blawg lately, you've probably noticed a few changes. The directory of legal blogs has updated it's look and added some useful upgrades.

  • The first change is the url - the central domain is moving from .org to .com. has long redirected to, and now the relationship will simply be reversed.
  • Blawg's Blog is also moving to a new platform and address. You will find the new Blawg's Blog at
  • The new Blawg directory automatically sorts each category (or subcategory), top to bottom, by a blawg's popularity.

Also interesting - Blawg developer, Bill Gratsch, shared with me that the category Law Libraries & Research is one of the largest, most active categories in the directory. "Law libraries are clearly one of the dominant forces out there with regard to law blogs."

He goes on to say in a recent blog post:

[I]t is readily apparent that they are offering a valuable service to the legal community at large. . . For example, attorneys could clearly benefit from subscribing to the content from their local law school's or bar association's library blawg. These research professionals are often well-versed in recent legal developments in the state or city where the library is located. Just tapping into these daily updates for information of import to the local Bar could be a valuable time saver.

Glad to hear that our efforts are being appreciated.

November 16, 2006

Blawg-only Search Engine has recently launched a legal-blog--only search engine. Blawg Search offers both a search engine for blawg posts, as well as a directory of legal blogs. Very nice.

Source: Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites

November 14, 2006

Web Site Doesn't Have a RSS Feed? Create Your Own

I'm a big RSS fan. It's a wonderful technology for current awareness, networking, benchmarking, and image monitoring. But, unfortunately, not every Web page that I want to monitor offer a RSS feed.

That's where "html scraping" services like FeedYes & Ponyfish come in. They allow you to create your own RSS feeds from almost any regularly updated web page.

"Html scraping" services "scrape" the links and text off a Web site and save the links and text into an XML document. See Wikipedia if you want to learn more.

Of the two, I prefer Ponyfish because it's a bit more user friendly. Here's how it works:

1. Enter the URL of the page you want to create a feed for. I chose the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance web site. There may be some new papers or minutes that I want to know about.

2. In the window containing the web page, click on the links that you want to include in the feed (you have to choose at least two). For the Joint Comm. on Finance, I chose Minutes and Papers.

3. Continue to generate the XML document. (You can skip Ponyfish's step three)

4. Add the feed to your Feed reader. Now anytime the committee posts new minutes or papers, I'll be notified.

Public Radio Segment on Legal Blogs

Earlier this week, Minnesota Public Radio featured a segment on the extent to which legal blogs are making their way into judicial opinions.

Source: Real Lawyers Have Blogs

November 9, 2006

When is Employee Blogging Protected?

There is an interesting article in the October issue of the Duke Law & Technology Review entitled, When is Employee Blogging Protected by Section 7 of the NLRA? (2006 DUKELTR 17)

From the article:

Blogs present courts with a new context in which to strike the balance between employee and employer rights. This iBrief focuses on employee blogging during personal time without the aid of an employer's property. The iBrief recommends that courts recognize employees' criticisms of their employer on blogs as protected concerted activity, and argues that existing case law examining unfair labor practices readily applies to the blogging context.

November 7, 2006

State of the Blogosphere, October 2006

Some data from the latest State of the Blogosphere, October, 2006 from Technorati.

  • Technorati is now tracking more than 57 Million blogs.
  • The blogosphere is doubling in size approximately every 230 days.
  • About 100,000 new weblogs are created each day
  • About 55% of all blogs are active, which means that they have been updated at least once in the last 3 months
  • Total posting volume of the blogosphere has leveled off somewhat, showing about 1.3 million postings per day

Automated Web Surfing for Lawyers - Article on RSS

Tom Mighell and Dennis Kennedy have compiled a good list of RSS Resources You Can Use: Automated Web Surfing for Lawyers in November issue of Law Practice Today.

The article begins with an introduction to RSS and how to monitor information via RSS feeds using a newsreader (a.k.a. feed reader or aggregator).

For the more advanced RSS user, I thought that the section on Generating Your Own RSS Feeds and Other Advanced RSS Tools was particularly useful. They described tools for customizing, filtering and creating your own feeds.

Source: VLLB Linkblog

November 3, 2006

Article: State of the Legal Blawgosphere

This morning, Westclip picked up on Federal Lawyer article on The State of the Legal Blawgosphere. (Westlaw: 53-OCT FEDRLAW 14)

According to estimates from Bob Ambrogi and Tom Mighell, there are at least 1000, but probably closer to 2000 legal blogs in existence. Also mentioned was the list of 100+ law library blogs which I maintain.

From the article:

Should We Care?
Now, as if making the argument over sheer numbers somewhat irrelevant, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a published order denying a motion for en banc reconsideration. A fairly substantial portion of the dissent (written by Judge O'Scannlain, with Circuit Judges Kleinfeld, Tallman, Bybee, and Bea concurring) consists of a block quote from a blawg. (See Harper v. Poway Unified School District, 455 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. July 31, 2006.) Can an avalanche of blawgs be far behind?

October 27, 2006

Blogger Outages - Telling It Like It Is

Legal blogging expert, Kevin O'Keefe had this to say about the recent Blogger outages:

I'd hate to be the law firm marketing professional telling the managing partner in a 500 lawyer firm with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues that 'our 5 blog sites have been down for the day - but we got them for free.' Looks great to clients paying the firm $350 to $500 an hour.

Kevin certainly does tell it like it is - and quite often he's right. If you are running a professional blog, there are better hosting options than Blogger, even your organization isn't bringing in hundreds of millions in revenues.

October 25, 2006

Podcast: This Week in Law

"Join Denise Howell and the TWiL panel, including Cathy Kirkman, Ernie Svenson, and John Palfrey as they discuss breaking issues in technology law including patents, copyrights, and more." What's TWiL? This Week in Law, a new legal issues podcast.

Two New Law Blogs

Two new blogs:

LexLibris, University of Minnesota Law Library Blawg

Law School Innovation, A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

October 20, 2006

Screencast Tutorial on RSS for Legal Professionals

From Real Lawyers Have Blogs:

Jason Eiseman, Computer Automation Librarian at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, has produced an excellent 3 part screencast tutorial on RSS:

1. Introduction of RSS discusses importance of RSS and looks at an RSS feed.
2. How to set up an RSS aggregator and subscribe to RSS feeds.
3. Specific tools law librarians may use to set up RSS feeds.

Jason says it's for law librarians, but anyone learning RSS would benefit from his instruction.

I agree and highly recommend this tutorial to any legal professional interested in learning more about RSS. It's one thing to read about a technology like RSS, but following along as someone walks you through the tools is even better. You can see just where to click and why. I thought that screencast #3 was particularly useful - I even learned a thing or two myself.

October 5, 2006

Lawsuits Against Bloggers

From BoleyBlogs:

The Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) provides a unique list of lawsuits against bloggers. The list comes complete with annotations, links to decisions, case documents, related web sites and news stories. The range of cases is impressive, from Apple suing over trade secrets, to actresses protecting their reputations, to judges taking on local critics, and to principals suing over false MySpace pages.

September 29, 2006

Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms, or Why You Can't Afford to Ignore RSS

Steve Matthews of Vancouver Law Librarian Blog has an excellent list of the Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms. There are some wonderful ideas here on how to leverage this technology for current awareness, marketing, image monitoring, communication and more.

If you are new to RSS, see my article in the August Wisconsin Lawyer entitled, RSS: Making the Internet Subscribeable.

September 19, 2006

Mapping the Diversity of the Blogosphere

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a survey on the diversity of niche bloggers. The results of the survey appear at Mapping the Diversity of the Blogosphere: A Bloggasm Case Study. Interesting stuff.

Here's a sampling of the results:

The Blogosphere as a whole: (These are the results if you add all the niches together)

Male: 74%
Female: 26%
White/Caucasian/European: 73%
Black/African: 9%
Asian: 10%
Middle Eastern/Arab: 1%
Latino/Hispanic: 6%
Native American: 1%

Law/Legal Blogs:

Male: 74%
Female: 26%
White/Caucasian/European: 94%
Latino/Hispanic: 6%

Interesting that both categories show an identical ratio of male to female - 3 to 1. I wonder how many other law library bloggers were surveyed. Given that librarianship is a female dominated profession, I suspect that many - at least half? - of law library bloggers are women.

The author finds that the only niches where females outnumbered males were Sex Blogs, Gossip/Fashion Blogs, Feminist Blogs, and Food Blogs. The first category comes as a surprise to me.

Article on the Legality of RSS

EContent has an interesting article on the legality of harvesting content from RSS feeds for publication on your own site. The author explores both sides of the debate about whether it's legal/ethical for "non-content creators reap some of the value of others' content-creation labor."

Source: Real Lawyers Have Blogs

September 6, 2006

Free Webinar on RSS for Legal Professionals

I received a postcard in the mail today for a free Webinar from Newsgator entitled, "RSS: The Future of Legal Information Delivery" It is scheduled for September 26th at 2:30 pm and September 27th at 12:30 pm.

- Learn more about RSS
- Discover how leading law firms and legal departments are using it to improve information delivery and collaboration
- See a demonstration from both the library and the attorney's perspective

To register, contact (The URL listed on the postcard to register by Web was wrong and I couldn't find it on their web site. Not so good.)

Not sure what RSS is? See my article in the Wisconsin Lawyer this month, RSS: Making the Internet Subscribeable.

September 1, 2006

Ross Kodner's New Legal Tech Blog

Ross Kodner, legal tech guru and founder of Milwaukee-based MicroLaw, Inc., has a new blog called Ross Ipsa Loquitur.

In the blog, Ross and colleagues Renee Kodner and Abraham Liebsch will blog about:

  • law practice management and technology issues
  • product reviews
  • latest articles and CLE materials
  • Renee's Techno. Updates
  • corporate legal department technology
  • mobility lawyering
  • Paper LESS Office(tm) developments
  • case/practice management system comments/tips/ideas
  • document management
  • legal billing
  • interesting utilities
  • product announcements
  • a place to find out what's happening at MicroLaw

August 25, 2006

Article on the Law Library Blogosphere

At long last, my article on the Law Library Blogosphere has finally seen the light of day. A big thanks to Sabrina Pacifici for publishing it in LLRX. The article is based on a survey I did last fall of law library bloggers and those developing blogs.


Although the legal and library literature is filled with information about the theoretical pros and cons of blog publishing, little has been written about actual blogging experiences. Who is blogging? What are they blogging about? Who reads blogs? What technologies are being used? Have blogs been successful? What lessons can be shared? These are the questions explored in this article. Through this study, potential bloggers will better evaluate whether this technology is right for them and veterans will gain insight into their own blogging experience in comparison to their peers?

August 24, 2006

Monitoring What Students Are Saying About the Library in their Blogs - A How To Guide

Here's a tip for Academic Librarians:

Inspired by Rob Hudson's article, Law Students Write About Law Libraries (or, What Students Really Think: A Survey of Student Blawgs)*, I thought that someone should be monitoring what our law students bloggers are saying about the law library.

Since I don't want to read every post (especially those about trips to the local tavern, etc.), I figured out a simple way to just subscribe to those posts in which the library was mentioned. Here's what I did:

  • First, check the list of Law Student blogs by university compiled by Clever WoT. Make a note of the URL.
  • Then, go to the Google Blog Search advance search page. In the "with at least one of the words" box, enter the words "library" and "librarian" (or whatever terms you choose). In the "at the URL" box, enter in the URL of the law student blog. Run the search.
  • In the search results page, see the "subscribe" section on the left. Add the RSS or Atom feed to your aggregator and you are all set.
  • Repeat for each our your law students' blogs.

Of course this works for faculty blogs, too.

* To learn more about Rob Hudson's research, you can watch his presentation at CALI via Apreso.

Mike Schramm over at WisPolitics had a great follow up tip:

At, you can enter in multiple feeds and the site will publish them as one. So you could get the individual search feeds, enter them in at feedjumbler, then give that single feed to anyone else in the library system who might be interested.

Thanks, Mike!

August 23, 2006

Seventh Circuit Offers RSS Feed of Opinions & PodCast of Oral Arguements

The Seventh Circuit is now offering opinions and audio oral arguments via RSS feed. It is the first federal court of appeals to do so.

The Seventh Circuit's Web site makes a combination of feeds available: one RSS feed of text opinions and two podcast RSS feeds of oral arguments. One podcast feed is a standard audio MP3 podcast the other is an i-Tunes optimized audio podcast. Although you can download a podcast to your MP3 player, you can listen to it right from your computer - most people do, in fact, as studies show.

Read more in The Third Branch, the Newsletter of the Federal Courts.

Source: Legal Dockets Online

Wisconsin Lawyer Article on RSS - Save Time & Money on your Internet Research

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've often heard me extol the virtues of RSS. But if you still aren't sure what RSS is or how it can save you time and money, take a look at my article in the August Wisconsin Lawyer entitled, RSS: Making the Internet Subscribeable.

In the article, I describe RSS and its connection with blogs, introduce the different types of RSS readers, describe potential drawbacks, and list some great RSS feeds for legal practitioners. A tech glossary and Bloglines (a RSS reader) quick guide are also included.

August 10, 2006

Blogosphere Reaches 50 Million Blogs

According to Sifry's Alerts' August 2006 State of the Blogosphere, the blogosphere now measures over 50 million blogs (and counting!). Here are some other interesting findings:

  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 1/2 months
  • More than 2 blogs are created each second of each day
  • There are about 18.6 blog posts per second.

July 28, 2006

The True Cost of Attorney Blogging? At Least $20,000 Per Year

From Larry Bodine's Professional Services Marketing Blog:

My esteemed colleague Ed Poll of Venice, CA, author of the LawBiz Blog, calculated what may be the true cost of a lawyer writing a blog: $20K a year in time.

[Ed warns that] "blogging is certainly not "easy" in the sense that it takes commitment to be consistent and meaningful in the posting. I suspect it's a commitment worth making for many lawyers, but a commitment nevertheless, as is any marketing effort. Measuring the return on investment - ROI - of blogging is difficult. But never forget that there should be a return in order to make your blog work for you, and not the other way around."

July 24, 2006

LawClinic.TV - A Video Blog About Legal Clinical Education

From BoleyBlogs:

Fordham University School of Law has recently created LawClinic.TV, a video blog whose purpose is "to showcase the clinical community and provide a place for one piece of our ongoing conversation about legal education, justice, community, equality, the rule of law and so much else." (via About LawClinic.TV)

Each blog entry contains brief, high-quality videos of clinical faculty and students speaking about their experiences with legal clinical education. Each of these videos is complimented with a text summary.

LawClinic.TV is an exciting and innovative experiment that takes advantage of the the newfound ease of providing video online. We (the oft-vacationing very many editors of BoleyBlogs!) expect to see many other new and unexpected uses of this technology from other law schools in in the near future.

Listening to Podcasts from Bloglines

Bloglines has recently announced that you can now listen to your podcast subscriptions directly in your list of feeds. This is pretty handy for the occasional podcast listener who either doesn't have an iPod or other MP3 player or prefers not to download them.

One thing to note, however: if you navigate your browser away from Bloglines, you'll lose the audio. Just make sure that you open a new window before you start multi-tasking somewhere else.

July 17, 2006

Law Library Blogs List Tops 100

Thanks to some great new blogs I learned about at the AALL Annual Meeting, the list of Law Library Blogs and Blogs by Law Librarians or Law Library Associations now stands at 102!

July 14, 2006

Kentucky Bans Blogs for State Employees

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Kentucky has blocked state employee's access to "blogs as well as humor, religion, and online auction websites after it was deemed that [they] were spending too much time on the Internet."

This is a bad idea. Granted, there are lots of blogs that do nothing to advance work flow and productivity - BUT there are plenty of others that do - including WisBlawg. Reminds me of the debates a few years back about blocking employee's access to the Internet as a whole.

Regardless of the lost potential for research value, blacklisting blogs is simply harmful to workplace morale according to those interviewed for the article.

  • "Whether in [private or public] workplaces, are you going to create a culture of mutual trust or a Big Brother 'we're watching your every move' environment?" says Zachary Hummel, a workplace attorney at Bryan Cave LLP in New York.

  • "It looks petty, and it's probably ineffective," says Glenn Reynolds, author of "An Army of Davids" about the rise of a tech-enabled entrepreneurial class.

  • "We try to treat people as adults," says Otto Doll, South Dakota's chief information officer.

Source: Law Librarian Blog

June 27, 2006

The Truth About Blogging

Connie Crosby has a nice article on The Truth About Blogging. Although it is aimed at librarians, the truths she shares are universal.

She notes that "We often hear 'to be seen as an expert, write a blog,' but how quickly this medium opens doors has really been a great surprise to many." I absolutely agree with her on this. Blogging has definitely opened doors for me personally - I've had more invitations to speak and write articles than I can accept. And it's pretty cool to go to a conference and have people recognize you from your blog - I've met more great people through blogging than I could have otherwise.

June 26, 2006

What is a Blogger Worth to a Law Firm?

In the wake of moves by two big-name tech bloggers, has an interesting article on how to value a law firm blogger.

Note the response by Kevin O'Keefe:
"These recent moves should be wake up calls to law firms with high-profile lawyer bloggers. Many of your high-paid marketing and PR people have not a clue about the power of blogging and the marketing value of these blogging lawyers.

"Not only are such lawyers a source for new work, but they can also bring the firm into this century when it comes to effective Internet marketing by being a mentor to other lawyers learning to blog. Don't appreciate what these bloggers are bringing to the firm and you are going to loose them, their rainmaking and much more."

June 22, 2006

Article on the Ins and Outs of Blogging for Legal Professional

A while back I mentioned that I gave a talk about blogs at the Association of Legal Administrators Annual Meeting in Montreal last month. Upon the request of the editor of the Risk Management Memo, I've turned that presentation into an article entitled, Blogs: The Hot New Technology for Communication and Information.

The article discusses how legal professionals can use blogs in their practice. Here's the outline:

- What is a Blog?
- Establishing a Blogging Policy
- Reading Blogs
- Creating a Blog (for internal and external communication)
- Is Blogging Right for You?

I also give a brief run down of blog software and hosting options.

Over Twenty Percent of Execs Read Blogs Weekly

From Kevin O'Keefe's Real Lawyers Have Blogs:

21% of senior executives reports are reading business-related blogs at least once a week. This per a 2006 State of Corporate Blogging Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Makovsky + Company, one of the largest global independent public relations firms in the U.S. Here's a pdf file of the report.

Strange thing is Kenneth D. Makovsky blogs the finding's as demonstrating that corporate executives are slow to adopt to corporate blogs. I look at the world as a glass half full, not half happy.

21% of corporate exec's reading blogs is a big deal. And it's unlikely they're reading teenage diary blogs. The execs are obviously finding valuable information and insight not available elsewhere. The execs are reading blogs to stay ahead of their competition because of the timely info in blogs.

I agree with Kevin on this. It's significant that corporate execs are beginning to see the value of blogs. I suspect that this number will grow.

June 21, 2006

Let a Law Librarian Guide You Through the Blogosphere

Here's the title of a recent post over at Human Law:
Discuss - Librarian law bloggers are more astute than top law firms marketing departments about the blogosphere

Enough said, I think.

Source: Blog Network

June 5, 2006

Best Practices for Legal Blogging has created a guide to Best Practices for Legal Blogging.

Why should you care? From the article:

As the use of blogs as a marketing tool proliferates among lawyers, differences in quality between blogs covering the same topic will become evident. There are only so many blogs that prospective clients can read on a daily basis, and as the number of choices grow, readers will become more and more selective. It is therefore critical for any lawyer launching a blog to consider best practices that will set his or her blog apart from the pack.

Source: Law Librarian Blog

June 1, 2006

MADreads, A Book Review Blog from MPL

Looking for a few good titles to add to your summer reading list? Check out MADreads, a new blog from the Madison Public Library.

Each day they'll feature a new fiction or nonfiction book review from a Madison Public Library staff member. Reviews are archived by genre.

May 15, 2006

Blogs as Evidence

Ken Strutin, Director of Legal Information Services for the New York State Defenders Association, has compiled a nice summary of how blogs have been considered by the courts.

The article, "Blogs Raise New Questions About the Line Between Public and Private," appears in the Technology Today section (page 5) of the May 9, 2006 New York Law Journal. It is also available by subscription and Westlaw.

Source: New York Supreme Court Criminal Term Library Blog

May 11, 2006

Blogs v. Intranets for Internal Staff Communication

As a follow-up to my presentation on blogs at their annual meeting last week, the Association of Legal Administrators invited me to participate in a forum on blogs. I'd like to share one of the questions I received:

Question: If a blog is as good as an intranet for communicaions with staff, why not stick to an intranet? The intranet seems to have more potential for storing information for staff like policy manuals. [In the presentation, I mentioned that blogs could be used for internal staff communication.]

My response: An Intranet is a tool for internal communication - a blog can be also. They are not mutually exclusive.

If your Intranet is serving your needs, then stick with it. But there is no reason that you couldn't incorporate a blog into your Intranet if desired. Not every firm has an Intranet. Because blogs are very easy to create/maintain, and very inexpensive, they might offer a smaller firm a nice way to create an internal communications tool.

Blogs are hot right now in the legal community. Some folks want to jump on the bandwagon while others want nothing to do with what they see as a flash-in-the-pan fad. A blog is simply one of many communication tools at your disposal.

As I mentioned in my presentation: Don't rush out to create a blog just so you can say you have a blog. BUT - conversely - don't avoid this potentially useful technology just because it's a blog.

Take a step back from the hype before evaluating whether this tool is right for you.

May 3, 2006

Blogging Presentation at Association of Legal Administrators' Annual Meeting

I'm just back from Montreal where I had the pleasure to speak at the Association of Legal Administrators Annual Meeting on Monday afternoon. As promised, here are the PowerPoint slides from my session. "Blogs: The Hot New Technology for Communication and Information."

I thought that the session was very well attended and was pleased to learn that it was the session of the day. There were some great questions from the audience members, which included none other than Nathan W. Burke from Larry Bodine of Larry Bodine's Professional Services Marketing Blog.

In a post on his blog, Larry picked up on something that I said in the session: "Blogger is being overrun with spam blogs and readers avoid it." That sounds a bit more controversial than I meant it to be. While it is true that "splogs" (machine generated spam blogs) account for 9% of all new blogs created, and that most of these take advantage of Blogger because it is free, I didn't mean to imply that Blogger was "bad."

Before I explain, I'd like to make the distinction between blogs that both use the Blogger "software" AND are hosted by Blogger (look for "blogspot" in the URL) versus those that only use the Blogger "software" while being hosted elsewhere. As Bob Ambrogi points out in a comment to Larry's post, the latter is not problematic. My concerns about Blogger apply to those hosted by Blogger using the blogspot domain. I apologize that I didn't make that clear.

I simply meant that blogs hosted by Blogger have a harder time establishing credibility than those that don't. The fact is that some readers are put off by the blogspot url either because they have been scared off by too many Blogger "splogs" or, more likely, they believe that "if this blogger was serious, they would have shelled out a few bucks on their blog." Valid or not - there it is.

Are they some very popular, professional blogs that are hosted by Blogger? Yes. But, I still contend that if you created one today, you'd have a more difficult time being taken seriously than if you hosted it elsewhere. Why take that chance when there are other relatively inexpensive (or free in the case of WordPress), more respected alternatives?

How's that for a long-winded explanation?

ALA members who are interested in learning more, I invite you to participate in the post-conference forum about blogs and their place in the firm. You ask questions and I'll (try) to answer them.

April 27, 2006

LA Times Pulls Columnist's Blog for Faking His Identity

Reuters reports that the Los Angeles Times has suspended the blog of a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who posed as an Internet reader to defend his own column and attack his conservative foes.

Source: TVC Alert

Panel Discussion on Ethics of Blogging

From the Capital Times:

UW-Madison journalism students will present a panel discussion about blogging and the ethics of blogging at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 2195 of Vilas Hall.

The discussion will be titled "Connect or Compete: How do bloggers fit with traditional media?" The panel will discuss ethical issues related to blogging and take questions from the audience. The presentation is expected to focus on anonymous bloggers, reporters who blog and blogging legislation.

Panelists will include Wispolitics' Jeff Mayers, WORT's Nathan Moore, UW-Madison Law School associate professor David Schwartz and Channel 3 reporter Colin Benedict. The moderator will be Dietram Scheufele of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Journalism School.

The free program will be presented by the student chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists, which has designated this as Ethics Week. The Madison Professional Chapter of SPJ will provide refreshments.

April 25, 2006

Blogging Can Help (or Hurt) Your Career

According to the Boston Globe, blogs are essential to a good career. In a nutshell, the article advises that blogging helps a professional stand out among her peers.

Employers regularly Google prospective employees to learn more about them. Blogging gives you a way to control what employers see, because Google's system works in such a way that blogs that are heavily networked with others come up high in Google searches.

And coming up high is good: "People who are more visible and have a reputation and stand for something do better than people who are invisible," says Catherine Kaputa, branding consultant and author of '"Blogging for Business Success."

While I agree that blogging can be a wonderful career booster (it certainly has been for me), the article failed to warn that blogging can backfire also. The strong political opinions or startling confessions on your blog might not complement your resume very well. Go ahead and blog, but be careful about the self-image you are presenting.

April 24, 2006

Corporate Blogging Best Practices

The UW E-Business Consortium's Corporate Weblogging Best Practices is a must for any firm or business that has a blog or is thinking about starting one. Actually, it's worthwhile for any firm or business wanting to protect its reputation in the blogosphere.

This paper is intended for various audiences including executives faced with the decision of whether or not to implement blogging at their company, human resources professionals who will need to handle blogging-related incidents involving company employees, and marketers looking for ways to leverage blogs without damaging the organization's credibility in the fickle "blogosphere."

The guide describes the types of blogs (internal v external), offers ten best practice tips, and provides good and bad case studies. I think that the latter were the most instructive. Take, for example, the Mazda debacle. The car company created a fake blog promoting the car supposedly from a 23 year old car enthusiast. Other bloggers quickly called the blog into question and it was taken down within hours, but not before Mazda's reputation was severely damaged. According the UW E-Business report, Mazda broke the first rule of blogging: being open and honest.

Perhaps more troubling is the Kryptonite example, not because of what the corporation did, but what they didn't do. When bloggers discovered that the bike locks could be picked with a pen, news traveled fast. Because Kryptonite had no staff who monitored its online reputation, reaction from the company was slow and full of denials.

Kryptonite was unprepared for the media, tried to cover their mistakes, and initially denied their shortcomings. In addition to the 10 million dollar expense of replacing their faulty bike locks, the company suffered humiliation on the Internet as bloggers openly mocked the company's practices and policies.

The report concludes with tips on getting started, a blog glossary, and examples of blogs.

March 20, 2006

Smurfy Blogs

An observation by Jesse Russell of Dane101:

It occurs to me that the word blog is becoming to bloggers what the word smurf was to Smurfs.
"I saw the bloggingest blog the other day. It was bloggingly bloggy."

Read more about Jesse's bloggy thoughts on the blog summit.

March 13, 2006

What Happens When You Stop Blogging

Unshelved - Friday, March 10, 2006

March 9, 2006

WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit Next Weekend

Update 3/13/06:
Mike Schramm from informs me that the agenda has changed a bit from the original posted below. An addition: Panelists Owen Robinson of Boots & Sabers and Jay Bullock of folkbum's rambles and rants, joined by other citizen bloggers, will discuss "Why blog? Defining the phenomenon from a citizen bloggers' perspective''

See press release with new agenda
Jennifer Peterson, author of The Shifting Legal Landscape of Blogging which I posted about yesterday, informed me that there will be WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit in Waukesha next weekend. Attendance is free, but preregistration is required.

Jennifer will be speaking, as well as, UW Law Prof Ann Althouse and some other great bloggers. Additional details appear below.

Inaugural WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit
March 18, 2006
1 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Country Springs Hotel
Attendance is free and open to all interested parties, but they must register in advance by contacting

Schedule of Events:

**12:55 p.m. Short introduction by Mayers

**1 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. State of Blogging keynote by Ann Althouse

**1:25 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The Legalities of Blogging by Jennifer L. Peterson, attorney, LaFollette Godfrey & Kahn. Short speech and some question and answers from audience.

**Short break

**2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Moderated panel discussion: How will history view early blogging? An academic view. Jessica McBride, journalism instructor, radio talk show host and blogger, UW-Milwaukee; John McAdams, blogger and Marquette professor of political science; and Ken Mayer, UW-Madison political scientist.

**2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Moderated panel discussion: Impact of blogging on election 2006. Participants: Ed Garvey of, Charlie Sykes of WTMJ-AM, state Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Brian Fraley, GOP strategist and blogger.

**3 p.m. Presentation of the WisPolitics staff choice for 2005 Wisconsin political blogger of the year. TO BE ANNOUNCED.

March 8, 2006

Legal Aspects of Blogging

UW Law Alum, Jennifer Peterson has written a great article about the legal aspects of blogging in this month's Wisconsin Lawyer. The article is entitled, The Shifting Legal Landscape of Blogging.


The use of blogs as a forum for online communication is gaining popularity and their content is gaining influence. Yet the structure and nature of blogs raise a litany of challenging legal issues, including ones involving defamation, privacy, and copyright law. As the law catches up to this new technology, bloggers and their lawyers need to tread carefully in the shifting legal landscape of blogging.

I'm definitely going to consult this article the next time I do a blogging presentation and am asked about legal issues.

March 6, 2006

Most Major Newspapers Also Publish Blogs

In an interesting survey, found that all but fourteen of America's 100 largest newspapers also published one or more blogs. Most blogs are devoted to a specific topic, such as politics, law, sports, lifestyle, etc.

Locally, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blogs (#41) made the list. The Wisconsin State Journal also has a blog.

Source: ResourceShelf

February 20, 2006

Paralegal Blawg - The Estrin Report

There's a new blawg in town - The Estrin Report, "created for professional paralegals -- not of a certain level, specialty or firm -- but of a particular attitude."

The author is Chere Estrin, CEO of the Los Angeles-based continuing legal education organization, Estrin LegalEd.

Source: The Vancouver Law Librarian Link Blog

February 14, 2006

I Heart Tech Offers Tech Tips for Lawyers

In honor of Valentines Day, I recommend a great blog I recently discovered called I Heart Tech. The blog from Law Tech Partners has lots of good "Technology Tips and Advice for a Lawyer's Life and Business."
(See postcard auction)

February 13, 2006

Madison City Council - Does Blogging Violate Open Meeting Law?

Friday's Capital Times has a thought-provoking article on whether the proliferation of Madison City Council member blogs could violate Wisconsin's open meeting law. So far, four of the 20 council members are blogging.

February 9, 2006

State of the Blogosphere

    Technorati's latest quarterly State of the Blogosphere is out and findings show that the blogosphere is continuing to expand at an amazing rate.

    Some of the more interesting stats:

  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 5 and a half months
  • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
  • 9% of new blogs are spam or machine generated
  • There are about about 50,000 new blog posts per hour

Source: Depraved Librarian