October 11, 2002 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Blawgs: Blogs from the legal world. Lessig is not the only lawyer sharing his expertise in the blog format. Blawgs range from individual lawyers (Ernie the Attorney) to entire firms using a collaborative format to focus on a single practice area (such as the Supreme Court). "Almost every law firm is trying to build a knowledge management system for itself to take advantage of the expertise within the firm," Svenson says. "But with blawgs, it happens organically. If you gave your lawyers their own blawgs, pretty soon everyone within the firm could see who knows the most about different topics." Are knowledge management systems feasible or practical yet?
posted by ajr (12 comments total)
Likely a better spot for a thread like this: Blogroots.

There's a couple of different issues here. First, knowledge management is focused inwardly, while 'blawgs' (yeesh) are focused outwardly, and give the author a public profile which may feed back into his career. It's probably not coincidental that two of the top blogs are Eugene Volokh and Glenn Reynolds, both of whom are legal academics. It's helped both of them get more writing and talking head assignments.

But internal blogs for lawyers? Well, as I've noted before, Lotus Notes was the first killer app in this area, and I've never yet seen it used to full effect; more often it's a sad sidebar. Instead of people going there first for information, people are told to go there and find something. Internal blogs might do better, but adoption will probably be variable.
posted by dhartung at 10:11 PM on October 11, 2002

Blogs will remain popular with those in professional disciplines until work picks up again and they don't have so much time to waste.

And the best way of managing knowledge as you describe law firms are trying to do above, is not via blogs (since a blog is somewhat like a diary, and not really optimal 'knowledge management'), but via a system like AskMe, or heck, even with FAQs on common topics.
posted by wackybrit at 11:13 PM on October 11, 2002

Blawgs? Sounds like "blogs, Southern-style" to me...
posted by Wizzle at 11:27 PM on October 11, 2002

If the term "blawg" is actually adopted by more than a few people, it will mark another significant step in the fall of Western civilization.

And I thought "warblog" was tacky. Good lord.
posted by Epenthesis at 3:54 AM on October 12, 2002

Ok, I'll be the first to say, thanks for the links. I've bookmarked Ernie the Attorney-- it will be interesting to have his take on "law in the news" stories such as the Eldred Case.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:59 AM on October 12, 2002

Blawg is great. I check what Ian has to say several times a week.
posted by geekyguy at 9:06 AM on October 12, 2002

dhartung: excellent point on Lotus Notes.

Many law firms in the mid-90's invested large sums of money, and lots of time in mandatory training sessions, to adopt and utilize Lotus Notes and all its knowledge sharing capabilities ... which went (more or less) nowhere. The few adoptions of Lotus Notes and other kinds of "groupware" type features all were abandoned as the firms switched to Outlook.

wackybrit: you are so right about "knowledge management" initiatives being a response to slow caseloads and deal flow. One of the brightest stars of the bubble was Venture Law Group ... and it was taken as a sign of how far its fortunes had fallen that they chose to convert a bunch of young lawyers into a dedicated knowledge management team.

The real opportunity for knowledge management is in applying data mining / query tools to the large database of networked documents. This database, typically managed by Hummingbird's PC Docs program, already has a five or more year longer file of essentially every version of every document made by any lawyer or paralegal, together with a "profile" attachment of greater or lesser detail.

The Google enterprise search engine is something I've advocated my firm look into, along those lines.
posted by MattD at 9:15 AM on October 12, 2002

Snoop Blawgy Blawg.
posted by owillis at 9:55 AM on October 12, 2002

I'm not sure how much efficiency can be gained in the ways described above. Most of the time and resources spent in the legal profession are for activities which are fact-specific. And even if you were able to "find" what you were looking for via a colleague, rather than by starting from scratch, it would probably take as much time to determine/verify what you had found was the same as it would to do it from scratch--at least on average.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:07 AM on October 12, 2002

In the absence of a voting system... good post. thanks.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:44 PM on October 12, 2002

Great find on SCOTUSblog, which will assuredly hop onto my daily reads bookmark list.

Oh, and dhartung: I'm glad when things like this show up here. I don't like the notion of things being more appropriate for other MetaFilter-like sites; BlogRoots, SportsFilter, etc. aren't subcategories of MetaFilter, and it's nice to see varied content here, too.
posted by delfuego at 1:58 PM on October 13, 2002

Lawyers with blogs? That is just soooo 1999.
posted by mikewas at 6:20 PM on October 14, 2002

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