As blogging is all about joining a conversation, it’s important to identify the top conversationalists or thought leaders in your niche.

The question is how to find the top law blogs. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb posted six ways to identify top blogs in any niche and asked readers to suggest others.

The outcome is nine ways you may wish to try in identifying the top law blogs in your niche. Note that the legal industry lags other professions, so user generated offerings, i.e. del.icio.us, do not offer as much in the law.

  • Del.icio.us. ReadWriteWeb previously wrote about how to find top niche blogs using Del.icio.us. At the simplest level, go to http://del.icio.us/tag/topic+blog. Helpful features include RSS feeds, user comments, and information about the people (users) who have done the classifying.
  • StumbleUpon. Though there’s a huge number of users, it’s more fun than business. There’s no clear way to look at top sites in any category, the search results page is really random looking. Good for stopping by and doing some searches just to see if you’ve missed anything, but nothing you’d do as part of a structured search.
  • Google Reader Recommendations. Google Reader’s new recommendations are very high quality, in tech at least, because they have a large number of web savvy users. You may wish to start a dedicated Google Reader account filled just with some known feeds in a niche, so you can receive recommendations of other top sources in that same niche.
  • Technorati. Technorati’s blog finder, organized by user tags, and ranking by authority is not what it used to be. But it still warrant a look in hunting for top niche blogs.
  • AideRSS. Though it may be slow at times, it’s really useful in lots of contexts. In theory you can plug almost any RSS feed, including search feeds, into AideRSS and it will score items in that feed for popularity based on number of comments, diggs, del.icio.us saves and inbound links. You could put feeds from a blog search for niche specific language into RSS and find some niche hotness. Once you identify top niche blogs you can also run their feeds through AideRSS.
  • Ask.com Blogsearch. Ask has the best blogsearch on the web, it uses Bloglines subscription numbers as a big weight in spam control. There’s very little spam. You can search for niche specific language or a key niche link and sort by popularity of source. Because it gets overlooked by others, do not use it alone.
  • Google Blog Search. Search for keywords and key phrases related to your niche. Subscribe to the search and RSS feeds from bloggers writing on the subject will be fed to your newsreader.
  • Google. Google’s basic search is the place I begin every time. Search relevant terms and add the term ‘blog.’ Browse you’re findings. Subscribe to what look to be relevant blogs and do the same for blogs those blogs cited by the blogs you first found. In a week or so, you’ll flush out who is at the top by seeing who is in the center of discussion.
  • Navigating blogrolls. Not always kept current by bloggers, but as you see the same blogs repetitively listed on blogrolls, you can guess they’re the top ones.

These are just tools. The bloggers you’ll want to follow and reference in your posts (so as to enter the conversation) will be ones you’ll identify over time. I’ve been blogging for over 4 years and regularly find what I consider to be top bloggers.