Things come together

By Nick Holmes on February 27, 2007
Filed under Blogging, Law blogs

A number of bloggers have commented on the number of new blawgs that have recently appeared. So we are it seems progressing predictably faster along the lower reaches of that bell curve.

In typical fashion Geeklawyer welcomes more law bloggers … cautiously:

He’s sympathetic to free markets to a point and he welcomes, at an abstract level, competition even while recognising, on the other hand, that it means he has to work harder to keep readers. He’d like to pretend he blogs just for personal release but there is a tiny tiny kernel of ego here: the blog is popular and he wish it to remain so, and while that is not even a large part of why he does it it’s a factor.

One new blogger, BabyBarista, has gained rapid visibility with what Nearly Legal describes as “a textbook campaign”:

As thoroughly enjoyable as the blog is, I think I was more impressed with the stealth publicity campaign, adroitly using the vanity click-back to build up what passes for a publicity storm in the smallish UK blawg world. To which, of course, I [and, of course, I – Ed] have just contributed. It is a very good example of how to work a blog circuit. Of course, it helps if the blog is actually worth reading.

The blog is a fictional diary of a pupil barrister, and – he has to remind one of his commenters who fears he may be opening himself up to litigation – is not based on fact. His expressed aim (tongue in cheek, I’m sure not) is to land a book deal.

All was not as it seemed elsewhere in the blawgosphere. Wilbur Parry of Law andstuff is in fact the alter ego of the young businessman David Mytton who runs Olate, a software development company. An ex- and soon-to-be-renewed law student, he set up Law andstuff to blog about law “without worrying about discussing topics that might offend the readers of my main blog”. This explains why Binary Law and a few other blawgs appeared in his blogroll at some time ago. No offence taken, David!


One interesting question, to my mind, is what exactly constitutes a “blawg”? Very few legal blogs actually discuss issues of substantive law; instead, the onus is usually on personal commentary of one’s experience in the legal profession or system (like BabyBarista or Pupilblog, etc). We don’t really have a British version of The Volokh Conspiracy, for example, and I do think there is a gap in the market for a blawg like that.

As an extension of this, the variations in readership are also a source of interest., for example, receives hits from people who surf the site for research material or topical news on their specialism (it is, however, confined to a subject that comparatively few people are interested in.) That is not the purpose of a blawg like Geeklawyer’s.

I think the latter type of blawg is growing fast in the UK, but the former is still in its infancy. If we could get a Volokh Conspiracy or Balkinization equivalent going, I would agree that the winds have changed when it comes to British blawgs.

by Martin on 27 February 2007 at 2:20 pm. #

I used to loathe the term “blawg”. But I have grown rather fond of it and it is certainly more convenient to use than the alternatives.

What constitutes a blawg? It’s simply a blog concerned with law or legal practice. People will use blawgs for what they will: serious discussion (like you), as updaters to showcase expertise, for fun, to spray scorn and invective (oops sorry Geeklawyer) for nakedly commercial purposes. All valid uses.

When there were few, I looked with interest at each to see how the whole was developing; now there are many more I concentrate on those serious ones in my immediate field of interest, some significant/popular others and a bit of fun on the side.

by nickholmes on 27 February 2007 at 3:34 pm. #

I like to think mine has a slightly commercial element – e.g. the Google ads Martin hates so very much. And while I do not go to the lengths of conflictoflaws I do leaven the invective which occasional (very occasional I admit) issues of substantive law where this seems interesting.

by Geeklawyer on 27 February 2007 at 5:21 pm. #

Geeklawyer, we luv ya and value your (very occasional) legal wisdom. Don’t change a thing.

BTW notice how Conflict of Laws has those sneaky Google ad “link units” that fool you into thinking they’re menus.

by nickholmes on 27 February 2007 at 7:08 pm. #

I think I’m with Martin on this. I mix specialist case law from my area and personal comment on my blawg, but it is definitely a personal blawg. What posts get attention and from whom is interesting, but the blawg is, by its nature, never going to be an authoritative resource (that said, the housing law posts are as accurate as I can make them).

A high end, quite possibly collaborative, ‘statute ‘n’ case law’ blawg or several is a marked absence in comparison with the US. I think we have a need for one or two.

BTW, I’m staying google ad free, having weighed income versus discomfort (and what ads google adds to other’s blogs).

by Contact on 27 February 2007 at 10:27 pm. #

The Google links ads are slightly sneaky, I admit. I decided to try them out for a week, and I can’t say I particularly like them, so they’re going to be removed. Good riddance…

I think Nearly Legal and I are very much in agreement on this one. I’m not sure, however, whether I have the time or inclination to start a UK collaborative uber-blawg. I think it will happen eventually, as soon as the blawgging ethic is entrenched in UK academic life.

by Martin on 28 February 2007 at 6:08 pm. #

On the issue of Google ads, I’ve decided to put it to a vote:

by Martin on 28 February 2007 at 6:47 pm. #