Cross-posted from Legal Blog Watch:
I think this legal blogging thing might catch on -- how about you?
So I've made a decision to hand over the reins of my Law.com blog, Legal Blog Watch, to two brilliant blawggers: Carolyn Elefant and Robert Ambrogi. I'm resigning to work full-time on this little project.
More on that in a minute. First I want to say a few words about Law.com's blogging experiment to date. On Nov. 19, 2004, after three months of working with my old friends, Editorial Director Jennifer Collins and VP Stacey Artandi, I recruited most of the bloggers you see in the blogroll on Legal Blog Watch, plus The Volokh Conspiracy and Matt Homann, and launched.
The blog hit the Internet about the same time a few of my mainstream media colleagues had worked their panties into a serious wad over blogs. (Let's just say we took the plunge waaaaaay before The Wall Street Journal 's law blog was a line-item in anyone's projected editorial budget.) I rolled my eyes in response. "Why blogs?" I snarked. "Didn't ALM get the memo? And why should you carve out precious billable minutes to read blogs?"
Why indeed. Turns out that we were right: Legal bloggers really are on to something editorially exceptional. In the past 15 months, Law.com blog affiliates have earned awards, recognition of their peers, new writing gigs and new billable hours, too. Meanwhile, the Law.com blog network has driven hundreds of thousands of page views and thousands in revenue. No, we haven't bought anyone a new car. But we haven't pulled the plug, embarrassed ourselves or fronted a cost-center either. Just ask BusinessWeek and BtoB.
I'm no attorney, but I've known all along why I was here: As a journalist and a media strategist, I considered the Law.com Blog Network an important next step in sponsored journalism. Why? Because of the role bloggers were already playing in providing news, information and cutting-edge analysis, as I wrote here on Surfette. In other words, legal journalism could be enhanced by having the same people who argue in front of the Supreme Court and advocate for civil rights and settle corporate cases and build solo practices share their experiences here at one of America's leading legal presses.
Rocket science? No. Brave? Yes. Courage is the other reason I joined the effort. ALM and Law.com got it journalistically: Bill, Stacey and Jennifer were willing to affiliate with blogs in a way that preserved the bloggers' editorial integrity.
What I didn't anticipate was how much enjoyment I'd get out my place in this courtside catbird seat, watching the legal blogosphere explode as some of the best new voices in media -- blawggers -- took on everything from wiretapping, medical marijuana and Harriet Miers to the bugaboos of legal practice management and the grind of everyday criminal defense and sentencing. I have had terrific colleagues on this trip: Every single blogger you see in the blogroll on this page. Even when we agree to disagree, they are great bunch of brains and friends. I need to reserve special thanks for Scott Martin, the ALM editor who suffered through my blog every day and who is responsible for the Law.com home page. Beware, Scott: Your fabulously snappy writing is going to keep you sucked into this project, if I know Jennifer!
I'm particularly gratified to be handing over the reins of my Legal Blog Watch baby to Carolyn and Bob, whose exceptional writing is known to many of you. I can hardly wait to watch the Web's leading solo blawgger, Elefant, mix it up with the blogosphere's ultimate blend of journalist and lawyer, Ambrogi. That tension should lead to some fun repartee about the future of lawyering and the law. But they won't be alone: Law.com has some exciting things planned for this spring, so stay tuned.
You can find me here and at BlogHer, another little experiment I launched a year ago with Elisa Camahort and Jory Des Jardins: A conference for women who blog. BlogHer Con '05 was made possible by four landmark sponsors: Google, Yahoo, Omidyar and Law.com. Since then, BlogHer has ballooned into a media network: On January 30, 2006, we beta-launched a site where 60+ editors write about what's hot on blogs by women across 20+ popular topics. On July 28-29, BlogHer will hold a second annual conference with national press and sponsors for an estimated 750 women bloggers.
I'm excited. You're invited.