Our post last month commenting on the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 has generated some serious discussion around the blogosphere.
Legal bloggers from across the spectrum have offered their two cents on the issue, each offering a very different – and, more often than not, insightful – response to the criticism found in our November 28 post. Even Ed Adams, editor and publisher of the ABA Journal, touched on the matter when we spoke with him for a recent LexBlog Q & A (Ed’s interview was featured on December 12).
Below, we’ve gathered together some key quotes from a few industry leaders. Among the responses:
- Sam Hasler at the Indiana Divorce & Family Law Blog: "Blogs provide lawyers the best means ever to demystify the legal system for the general public. Looking at where my traffic comes from, I think the potential for blogging has not even begun to be realized by the general public and by only a few of our fellow attorneys. From what I see of how people use this blog, they do not understand how to use its internal resources. I doubt most understand that a blog is not static but dynamic and so they do not use the subscription service or the RSS feeds."
- Charon QC at The Blawg… : "Kevin O’Keefe writes: ‘Why not have a contest as to which blogging lawyer looks best in a swim suit?’ Now… that is something I feel I can relate to! Do you think I have a chance? I’ve gone for pink this year."
- Mark Bennett in his blog, Defending People: The Art & Science of Criminal Defense Trial Lawyering: "If other things were judged by such polls, Toyota would be recognized as the best carmaker, ground beef as the best cut, Gallo as the best wine, and Thomas Kinkade as the best painter. China would be accepted as the best country, Christianity as the best religion, Windows as the best operating system, and ignorance as the best mental state (coincidentally, George W. Bush would be president)."
- Nathan Dosch at The Dreams of a Solo: "It is always an honor to be included on lists or recognized for the things that you do. It is kind of like being picked first for the game of kickball on the playground. I just hope we can all reach a point where we realize that these sorts of rankings will come and go. It would be pretty foolish to hang your hat on a Blawg 100 ranking if you fail to deliver solid content or if your readers go elsewhere."
- David Giacalone at f/k/a: "There are many, many blawgs that did not make the ABA Journal Blawg 100 that are well-worth the attention of the general public, the legal profession, and especially the narrowly-focused seeker of legal information (which might be why the ABA Journal’s Blawg Directory includes thousands of weblogs in about 80 categories). No Best of List is immaculately conceived and none will ever be miraculously perceived as perfectly executed nor universally acclaimed."
- Nick Holmes at Binary Law: "Blogging, and Web 2.0 in general, is not about publisher A or B selecting and promoting what is best; it is about all the Xs and Ys contributing to the conversation in their field of interest and the Zs voting with their mice. The best will rise to the top and we don’t need anyone to select the short-list."
- Eric Turkewitz at the New York Personal Injury Law Blog: "It’s not a question of one blog being picked over another since this is, after all, just another vanity contest that small niche blogs don’t have a shot of winning. No, the significant thing is that the vaunted American Bar Association simply doesn’t think that this field of law is relevant. The decision to ignore a vast segment of the law speaks volumes about the organization."
- Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice: "As for me, there is no award that the blawgosphere has to offer that is more important than the community of the blawgosphere. The friction that has developed around these awards, and surfaced with this ABA Blawg 100, isn’t worth it. More importantly, the awards aren’t real. They don’t mean anything."
There was also quite a bit of chatter generated in the comments section of our original post. A couple of highlights:
- "I don’t read a law blog to hear whether the blogger went to Starbucks or Jamba Juice this morning on the way to court. I want to hear how they analyze substantive topics — as someone said, "to hear a lawyer think out loud." To me, those are the "best" law blogs. […] And having browsed the ABA’s "100" list, there are only a few entries fitting that criteria, sadly." – Robert Thomas of Inverse Condemnation
- "[T]hough many solo bloggers with "how to" sites like mine made the list, one true oversight are the "niche based" solo and small firm blogs that cover topics like Maryland Personal Injury Law or California Trusts and Estates or New York Business Law. These are real lawyers sharing real information and making it both accessible to lay people but sophisticated enough for lawyers. None of these blogs made the cut." – Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle
- "Sure, if you or I had picked a Top 100 or a Top Ten, we might have selected different blogs. But I do not really get why it is "wrong" for anyone or any group to pick their favorites. People love lists, whether it is Ten Favorite products or the BCS bowl ranking. They love to agree and disagree and argue and debate the selections." – Jim Calloway of the Law Practice Tips Blog
We’ve gotten word that print editions of the most recent ABA Journal, featuring the Blawg 100 prominently on the cover (see above), has started arriving in homes. It would be interesting to see whether any of the bloggers included on the list have started to notice any increased traffic to their sites…