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The fourth wave of legal blogging welcomes real lawyers

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Long time blogger and New York Criminal Defense Lawyer, Scott Greenfield, continues the fourth wave of law blogging discussion in his announcement that there won’t be a J-Dog Memorial Prize, awarded the last five years to the Best Criminal Law Blawg Post. The award is named after criminal attorney, Joel Rosenberg.

There have been occasional blawg posts from the elders of the crim law blawgosphere, but only a few, and only occasionally. It’s not that these aren’t good and worthwhile posts, but you already know their work, read their brilliance, and don’t need me or this contest to spread the word.

The J-Dog award need not be over.

Last month, Greenfield and I had lunch back in Oyster Bay and and agreed the time was ripe for a fourth wave of blogging. Real blogging by real lawyers, as opposed to lawyers and law firms throwing up “blogs” to grab attention and web traffic. Some even written for the lawyers by “ghost bloggers” and marketing companies.

The “blogs as advertising” approach used by so many lawyers opens the door for real lawyers to shine in their blogging.

{T]here is a huge opportunity here. There are still people whose brains desire more than an insipid twit filled with emotional angst. There are people who want to think, to engage with others who want to think, and there are few places to go to do so.

Don’t whine that no one will see you when you start blogging and that everything in the world has already been blogged about. Get over it.

Start a blawg. Let me know about it. Let others know about it. If you have the chops, word will spread. Keep it up. Engage with serious people about serious things. Recognize that there was a blawgosphere before you got here, but also know that old subjects and issues keep arising again. For people who didn’t see the ubiquitous discussions the first time, or second, or tenth time around, they’re brand new.

Law blogging is more important than most lawyers and marketers understand. With the decline of legal journalism and legal commentary moving online and away from traditional law reviews and journals, it’s blogs where much of the law gets reported and legal dialogue is advanced.

Veteran legal journalist and blogger, Bob Ambrogi, in his announcement that he’s joining LexBlog as editor-in-chief and publisher, made clear the importance of law blogs.

[T]here is one area of legal publishing in which coverage and analysis is increasing, in which key legal developments are regularly tracked, and where all of the content is free, no subscriptions required. It is a medium in which leading lawyers, academics, technologists, law librarians, consultants, vendors and other legal professionals are regularly contributing their insights and knowledge. It is, without doubt, the most vibrant area of legal publishing that exists.

I’m talking, of course, about blogging.

Sitting in my garage fourteen years ago, I ran across this blog thing. Wow, perfect for lawyers. Lawyers who are passionate about what they do, no matter whether a solo or a in a large law firm with a big marketing budget, could offer their commentary on the law.

Legal publishing had been democratized. Blogging lawyers could build a name for themselves in the same way the big name lawyers and scholars always have.

There was no way lawyers could turn blogs into advertisements beckoning a call or a chat in a pop-up chat window. Blogging took some thought, some passion and a little work. No lawyer would try and fake that. I was wrong.

Real blogging is far from dead though. There are plenty of good passionate lawyers who have something to offer. Real law blogging is too important not to encourage and grow.

From Greenfield:

The blawgosphere may not be vital, as it once was, but whether or not it’s dead is up to all of us. And if it’s dead, thought dies with it, and we’re left to the insipid twitter stars whose appeals to emotion will replace nuance, thought and serious debate. Don’t let that happen. All you have to do to prevent this catastrophe is to start thinking, start writing and stick with it.

Greenfield’s hit on something. We’re here for you if you want to start law blogging. Veteran law bloggers will not only help you blog, but get you known by sharing and referencing the thoughts you’re sharing in your blog. That’s what we do.

Veteran law bloggers welcome new bloggers in their field. It makes for a more vibrant discussion. Blogging is not a zero sum game.

Law bloggers take pride in the collective work of bloggers. As Ambrogi says, blogging is the most vibrant legal publishing taking place. Those of us out here want to grow law blogging.

Start a blawg (law blog), as Greenfield says, and engage with real lawyers about real things. Word will grow, so will your reputation and so will legal dialogue and publishing.

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