It was interesting for me, as a relative newcomer on the ‘legal blog’ scene – and as someone with a journalism, rather than legal, background (I currently float somewhere in between).
While I may have arrived late to the legal blog, or heaven forbid, ‘blawg’ party, it turns out that many lawyers are only really discovering the fun of social media now (they’re rather more cautious than journalists – there’s a bit more at stake, I suspect).
Fortunately there wasn’t too much of the sycophantic ‘thanks for the follow!’ type stuff, and it was good to hear David Allen Green dismiss corporate social media ‘strategies’.
We did touch on legal blogging’s future, advertising, marketing etc. but it wasn’t too painful. Important points were raised by the audience. Hugh Tomlinson QC from Matrix talked about the demise of the newspaper legal correspondent; Siobhain Butterworth provided useful insight into the Guardian’s comment moderation process; and I also enjoyed the discussion around anonymity – and the risk of blogging as a student after a training contract.
It was only the start of the conversation, however. There are very serious issues to consider, as lawyers increasingly take to social media and online activity. Ethics and regulation, for example…
The value of legal blogging, in my view, is that it plugs a gap between the ‘locked up’ legal data behind enormous paywalled businesses and the ordinary people outside the profession.
Blogs enable us to find simple explanations and examples of case law that would previously be secreted internally.
Locked up legal data is one of my bugbears and something I’d like addressed. Why is so much stuff inaccessible until you get expensive subscriptions?
Everyone waxes lyrical about Bailii (it’s very useful, I agree) but that’s partly because there’s a dearth of other open, useable databases for UK law.
I hope that some of the legal bloggers will join in the conversation about how to free more of our courts data. I’m hoping to talk to the Ministry of Justice about this soon.
Thoughts and suggestions welcomed, either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or below. Thank you. And thank you One Crown Office Row for the event!