In the interest of full disclosure, I am a technology early adopter. If I don't buy the newest Treo or TiVo, my friends are genuinely surprised. So I pose the following questions not as a Luddite-like rebellion against technological advancement, but rather as an interested observer of how technology can help or hurt the legal industry.
Do blogs, or blawgs (law-focused blogs), matter to the legal industry? What about podcasts?
Podcasts are an efficient way to get radio or video content on demand in a digital format. I download my morning NPR stories of the day and news updates to my iPod and listen to them when my schedule permits. Most in-house lawyers, though, aren't keyed into the convenience of podcasts. In a recent online poll we conducted, 57 percent of the visitors to our site had never listened to a podcast, and 30 percent didn't know what a podcast was. That may change as law firms get into the business of publishing podcasts. You can now download client briefings onto your iPod. You also can send them as e-mail files to your co-workers.
In contrast, blogs give me cause for concern. Because blogs are self-published missives on every subject from celebrity gossip to corporate law department management, they vary widely in quality and accuracy. And they aren't journalism. Some state opinions as facts and make assertions with little to no research or support.
The other reason I don't like them is that there are few filters to help you as in-house counsel figure out which blogs actually give you access to good ideas and trends. Sorting through the vast number of legal blogs to identify the useful and accurate ones can be incredibly time consuming.
Certain law firms are creating useful blogs, but because firms are already feeding you information through e-newsletters, client briefings and other conduits, law firm blogs become just one more source to evaluate and cull through.
You are already inundated with information about all things related to your job as well as your personal interests. Sorting through the data is an immense challenge. When we update the InsideCounsel Web site this month, we hope to help you tackle that challenge by filtering some of that information for you. We plan to add a blog directory to our site in the near future, and we hope that filter will turn the vast wasteland of blogs into an organized, streamlined and valuable resource.
Let me know what your favorite blogs or podcasts are by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.