By Kevin O'Keefe

It’s Time to Democratize Creation of Secondary Law

The creation of secondary law has long been the province of legal academics and elite legal minds.

Publishers of treatises, law reviews, law journals and legal periodicals have long served as the gatekeepers, deciding who gets to contribute as an author, and on what topics.

With the Internet, and particularly, WordPress and legal blogging, publishing has been democratized.

More authors and more topics covered, in a much faster fashion, and open to the public.

Legal professionals with niche expertise and practical experience publish from their laptop or iPhone.

Their work is published and preserved on their blog or another open platform.

With all this insight and commentary on the law, why not widely recognize it as secondary law law?

Legal academics, legal publishers, and many of the authors who have been approved by the gatekeepers, are quick to argue that there is no editorial control of this material. No vetting. How do we know it is realiable and trustworthy?

They do not realize that this commentary is being more critically reviewed than the closed publishing in their law reviews, periodicals and treatises.

Legal blogs and open legal publishing by law professors and practicing lawyers are widely read by experts in the relevant niche. Articles and posts are read within minutes of being published.

If a law professor from Northwestern or a lawyer from Norton Rose is publishing something unfounded or unreliable on a blog, they’ll be called on it. And not privately, but on the open web where seen by all.

Arguably, there is greater incentive to publish what is sound and reliable in open publishing than in closed periodicals.

I don’t expect those with the keys to the castle or with conflicting interests to soon accept open publishing as reliable and authoritative secondary law, but the day will come.

Disruption happens in the day of the Internet.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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