As someone who writes a blog that deals with many legal issues, it is clear that the vast majority of law-oriented blogs, or blawgs, are targeted not at consumers, but attorneys and legal scholars.
However Findlaw, a legal information site and attorney directory that is targeted at consumers, has decided to change that by announcing the opening of its new blog index, which includes nine different blogs by its own editors and authors, all of which are targeted at consumers and not attorneys.
Though many of these blogs have been going on for some time on separate corners of the mammoth site, this is the first time that they have been brought together for one easy-to-navigate resource.
What’s In the Network
The network has three different categories of blogs. The first is General Interest, which deals with a variety of “day to day” legal issues including criminal, family and consumer law. The second is Legal News, which covers a variety of legal decisions and changes to the law. Finally, there is Business of Law, which covers the law as it deals with business, marketing and technology.
Within those categories is fourteen different blogs on a variety of topics including the following:
- Common Law: A blog about the law as it pertains to consumer protection.
- Injured: A blog that deals with personal injury and tort law.
- Legal Grounds: A more humorous blog dealing with “odd” legal stories.
- Courtside: A blog that covers breaking legal news.
- Technolgoist: A blog that covers the law as it pertains to technology.
All of the blogs on this index are written by Findlaw’s authors and editors, making them very solid resources in their categories. Best of all though, they are each targeted at consumers and end users, not at other attorneys. They are all very easy to read, avoid using excessive legal terminology and should be approachable by just about anyone.
If you’re interested in law, even casually, you should probably check out the site and see what it has to offer.
As great as the actual blogs are in the network, there doesn’t seem to be much consistency between the blogs themselves. For example, some of the blogs have partial RSS feeds, others have full ones, some use FeedBurner to manage their feed, others do not. The blogs even have very different posting schedules with some being almost daily and others being only a few times per month.
Also, if you visit the sites themselves, they have very different layouts and looks, even though they are all on the Findlaw network in some capacity.
If all of these sites were not links on this one page, it would have been easy to mistake them very sites under different editorial direction. This makes them feel less like a network and more like a a semi-random grouping of blogs.
The other criticism I would have is that the feeds themselves tend to be fairly bland. The ones I checked out, though very few used any images or visual items in their articles, making their feeds very lengthy, albeit interesting and useful, chunks of gray text.
Despite these issues, the blog network at Findlaw remains something of an oddity. A series of law-oriented blogs that are approachable by laypeople.
It may not be the first time that law blogs have been targeted at everyday people, but it is the first time I am aware of where an entire network of law blogs, under one company, has been as such.
All in all, the Findlaw blogs are a great collection of blogs targeted at everyday Web users. Though the business blogs may still be over the heads of many, the general interest and legal news blogs should not be and they provide a great way to stay on top of legal news in your area of interest without having to pull out the legal dictionary.
These blogs are a great way for people with a passing interest in the law to keep on top of what is happening. Even if you don’t have any interest at all in the legal system, the Legal Grounds column will likely be a good, light-hearted blog to keep in your RSS reader.
If you haven’t subscribed to one or more of these blogs, seriously consider doing so. I’ve added both Legal Grounds and Technologist to my feed reader and could certainly see, for example, how readers of The Consumerist might want to also read Common Law.
It might be a daily dose of legal news, but it is not a bitter pill to swallow.