Law professor blogs

Reading  “WTF is AALS,” in an Above The Law post by the Anonymous Law Professor last Tuesday was enough to catch my attention.

Turns out AALS is the American Association of Law Schools, an organization I hadn’t heard of before. They were having their annual meeting last week in San Francisco, including a Thursday morning session on how law professors were blogging for professional development.

Short notice, but LexBlog’s starting the Law School Blog Network was enough to get me to jump a flight down the next day.

The session on blogging, which took type form of three discussion groups of about fifteen was excellent.

My findings on law school blogging from the session (excuse the length – my notes for working with law schools):

  • Each of the law professors who were blogging felt they were making a strong name for themselves from blogging.
  • At least one law professor would not have gotten her job as a professor without blogging. She was practicing law, had not attended a tier 1 school, but whose goal in life was to be a law porofessor – her blog got her in.
  • Their networks were growing among influenential legal and business professionals worldwide.
  • Blogging professors were getting invited to speak at events worldwide.
  • Law professors view favorably the free and open legal publishing that blogs bring.
  • Concern was expressed about LexisNexis’ acquisition of SSRN, an historically open body of scholarly publications, because LexisNexis is now limiting some open access. Blogging provides an alternative.
  • Media loves law professors blogging as evidenced by blogging professors regularly finding themselves being contacted and quoted by reporters.
  • Law schools look favorably on blogging professors. Deans and administrators like the media coverage, court citations, advancement of legal scholorship and readers, including judges and alumni.
  • Law professor blog posts, like law reviews, get cited by the courts.
  • Judges read law professor blogs as a form of legal scholorship and dialogue on the law.
  • Law professor blogs influence the ABA’s committees, rulings and policy making.
  • Conensus of professors in the session was that 10% of the professors at their law schools were blogging,
  • Law school deans like their law professors blogging because of the notoriety it brings the professors and the schools.
  • Blog posts need not be a thousand words or more. Though some posts may be longer in nature, 400 hundred to 600 words is fine.
  • Law professors, like practicing lawyers who blog, like to follow stats and traffic. Who’s reading, how many are reading and where readers are located.
  • Law professors were in 100% agreement that blogs belong separate and apart from a law school website – a blog is an independent publication and a law professor needs to maintain ownership of their blog.
  • Being recognized as a top 100 legal blog in the annual Blawg 100 by the ABA Journal is valued by law professors.
  • The blog publishing platform, TypePad, not used by many professionals, was used by some of the professors, by virtue of Professor Paul Caron’s Law Professor Blog Network using Typepad.
  • Law professors use other social media as an adjunct to their blogging, just like practicing lawyers who blog – Twitter and LinkedIn, more than Facebook.
  • Law professors who do not blog and use social, but whom show an interest, are as lost as to what it’s all about as practicing law students.

I enjoyed attending, met a professor or two who is interested in blogging with LexBlog’s Law School Blog Network and will make it a point to attend AALS in the future.