Commercial Accidental Censorship: Legal Blogs

July 12, 2021

Printed law journals are going the way of the printed newspaper, and legal blogs are taking their place. Kevin O’Keefe, LexBlog founder and host of Real Lawyers Have Blogs, is concerned that the ephemeral nature of blog posts poses a real problem for the law field. In his succinct post, “Where Will All the Legal Blogs Go?” he notes when a lawyer leaves a firm their posts are usually either deleted or recredited to the firm itself. We learn:

“Courts are more apt to cite blogs than a law review or law journal. As the New York Times has written on a couple occasions, law reviews are becoming largely irrelevant. Citations will lead to broken links. Legal blogs play a significant role in legal research. Lawyers looking for information on a subject turn to Google and find helpful blog posts. Law is for the long term. Lawyers use law from years ago. Law is advanced by dialogue and writing on the law. You eliminate the long term and a useable dialogue and writing on the law, and you have a problem.”

Yes, citations to nowhere are of no use to anyone, and posts credited to a firm rather than an individual become cannot be referenced, cited, or footnoted. The remedy, O’Keefe insists, is that legal blogs be aggregated, archived, and made accessible. Will his fellow legal bloggers listen?

Are Reed Elsevier and Thomson Reuters failing its legal users?

Cynthia Murrell, July 12, 2021

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