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June 07, 2004

Blogs and Law School

Perspectives Wanted: I'm working on a short article about law students and blogs. If you are a law student (or soon-to-be or recently-graduated law student) or a law professor and you have any thoughts about the relationship between blogs and law school that you'd like to share, please comment or drop me an email. I'm specifically looking for thoughts and/or anecdotes in the realm of the following:

  • Why do law students blog?
  • What can law students gain from blogging? (Does reading and/or writing blogs help you get better grades? Does it make school more fun or interesting? Does it make you feel less lonely/scared/anxious/etc? Does it add something to your law school experience?)
  • What do you find most enjoyable or valuable about reading or writing a blog? (If you're a reader, what are the best posts or blogs to read and why? If you're a blog author, what have been your best experiences with blogging?)
  • Have you made any contacts via blogging that have led to professional advancement of some kind? For example, has anyone gotten job leads via a blog that actually turned into a job? Or have you learned about any other opportunities via blogging that have somehow been good for your legal career?
  • Does your school have a "blog community"? By that I mean, do you know and/or interact with other bloggers at your school?
  • Do you have any thoughts about law professors who blog? Do you find law prof blogs interesting or helpful in any way? Would you like to see more of them? Or do you find law profs who blog generally talk about things that don't interest you?
  • If you're a law professor with a blog, why do you do it? What have you gained? Do you read student blogs? Do you think blogging is a valuable activity for law students? If so, why? If not, why?
I could go on, but you get the idea. I obviously have my own experiences and thoughts on all of the above, but the more perspectives I can get, the better. I look forward to hearing from you. (And for the few of you I've contacted already about this, I hope to follow up with you soon!)

Meanwhile, this project has provided a good excuse to do a little research into the nascent field of blog history. A few interesting tidbits: According to Matthew Haughey and Peter Merholz, the word "blog" was coined by Merholz in about May of 1999. Blogger was born in August, 1999. This FAQ by Jorn Barger on RobotWisdom also offers an interesting snapshot of where blogs were in September 1999. It suggests the What's New page at Mosaic may have been the first blog, way back in 1993. Dave Winer says the first blog was the first web site built by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. According to Rebecca Blood's history of weblogs, Barger was also the first to apply the term "weblog" to what we know today as blogs. The BlockStar Timeline puts all these pieces together.

According to this article, blogs are booming today:

Technorati, a San Francisco research company, says there are about 2.5 million blogs, with 10,000 being created each day.

The Pew Research Center estimates that between 2 and 7 percent of adult Internet users write a blog, and 11 percent visit blogs.

As for how many of those blogs are "blawgs" (or law-related blogs), the Legally-Inclined Webring currently has 449 members. If there's a better way to gauge the size of the legal blogging community, I'm not sure what it is. For comparison purposes, Denise Howell's blogroll at Bag and Baggage is quite extensive and clocks in at approximately 138 law student blogs (those "Learning the Craft"), around 52 "Academic" blogs (most of which are presumably written by law professors), and about 215 blogs in the "Practicing" category. So, according to these sources, the legal blogging community currently numbers

Posted June 7, 2004 05:47 AM | law school meta-blogging

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