No Longer Isolated

Blog-Comments from Cortega9 on Wikimedia Commons. Used under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 License.

Jorn Barger, the artificial intelligence enthusiast and essayist, first coined the term “weblog” in 1997. Two years later, Evan Williams, founder of the Internet companies Twitter and Blogger, turned the phrase into the now-preferred term “blog.”

Since then, society has embraced the blog as a personal and professional outlet. Anyone with an email address can write a blog. There are online-diary blogs, political blogs, military blogs, “how-to” blogs, business blogs, automatic blogs, cat blogs, and yes — as Arrested Development’s own Bob Loblaw knew well — there are even law blogs, sometimes called “Blawgs.”

The value legal blogs have provided to the profession is an evolving history in itself. Blogs can serve as a valuable shorthand legal research tool, a marketing tool, and can even be persuasive authority in support of a legal argument. It is widely accepted that the first recorded citation in a judicial decision to a blog was in 2004 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeal (375 F.3d 238, 247, n. 9). And the Nineteenth Edition of the Bluebook — a “A Uniform System of Citation” since its inception in 1926 — now has its own rule — Rule 18.2.2(c) — for citing to a blog. (The format for citing this blog post, for example, according to the Bluebook is this: Trent Latta, No Longer Isolated, October 15, 2012, URL.)

The U.S. Supreme Court even considers some blawgs worth reading. In January 2005, Justice John Paul Stevens cited a blog in his dissenting opinion in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 277 n.4 (Stevens, J., dissenting). The ABA Journal also publishes an online list of the 100 Best Blawgs.

Now, the WSBA has its own legal blog that we believe will be worth your attention. We intend to provide regular content on a variety of issues facing Washington’s legal community. We promise to be brief, yet meaningful. And we encourage your feedback: this blog aims to help you be a better practicing attorney and legal scholar, so if we are not hitting that mark, please let us know.

For now, I will leave you with this quote from Blawger Colin Samuels, which is published on the BlawgReview:

Where once we were isolated legal students, practitioners, and academics who could share our thoughts only with those in proximity, blogging and social media have turned us all into a kind of ‘other memory’ for one another. The knowledge, experience, and insight we are able to access here, within our ever-expanding networks of colleagues and friends, colleagues-of-colleagues, friends-of-friends, is nothing short of amazing. By participating, we are able to give and receive and grow beyond ourselves while allowing others to grow as well. Thanks to our tools, these memories need not fade or become inaccessible, but we should always keep in mind that tools do not create — we do.

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