Hey law students, I just learned from the weblog of Andrew Sinclair (a 3L at Boston University Law School), that lexBlog is looking for volunteer interns. An April 13 discussion board posting by Kevin O’Keefe asks: “Have other paying employment and looking for ways to enhance resume or to work towards part-time employment?” And replies: ”Doing virtual volunteer work for new Internet company in the business of helping lawyers help people could be the answer.”
LexBlog interns would be:
“helping publish content to blogs and in effect creating online magazines/broadcast channels for leading lawyers around the country.”
I know using volunteer interns is not inconsistent with creating high-quality content, but it does shed a different light on the lexBlog claim that “All content is regularly revised, updated and improved by a staff of lawyer-editors, to make sure that it’s the best it can be.“
I’m not sure why, but this week-long angsting over the implications of lexBlog’s services reminds me of the cliche about making laws and sausage. Like Peter Merholz, who coined the word by cruelly butchering “weblog”, I continue to believe that “blog” sounds far too much like the reaction one might have to watching sausage being made. Now, “lawBlog” is giving me agita, too.
Yesterday (04-16) Denise Howell at B&B updated her posting on ghost-weblogs. Denise added: ”I’m happy to say the conversation continued in my comments, where Kevin clarified that weblog material purchased from lexBlog appearing on its clients’ sites will be identified as such, so it won’t be anonymous ghostwriting but more like ‘value added.’ That’s great, as is Kevin’s likely well-founded hope that once his clients experience blogging for themselves their garrulous nature will take its course.”
I agree with Denise that this is good news, if third-party content is clearly designated as such — that is, in a manner that will not leave the ordinary consumer confused as to the source of the materials. [See the discussion earlier today on this page, in response to Jerry Lawson's Comments and post.] I’m looking forward to seeing how lexBlog sites look and feel in operation. If any already exist, I hope Kevin will point us over.
I wonder what my good friend foolEsq would do after a week like this? . . . . (or, any week?)
Update (04-18-04): Check this thread for another good debate between Jerry Lawson and your Humble Editor. For example:
Jerry Lawson: Criticizing the practice of lawyers taking personal credit for ghost-written materials, could serve a useful purpose, but please don’t leave the impression that the phenomenon is somehow new and exclusive to blogs. It’s been around a long time.
Your Editor: Far from saying that lawyer ghost-writing is particularly a weblog problem, my entire point is that it has not previously been a problem with weblogs — which is why I want to help stop that practice before it becomes entrenched or accepted
If you are too busy to actually maintain a weblog, you perhaps shouldn’t try to become a weblog editor-poseur
I’m also pleased to note that 3L Andrew Sinclair has accepted my invitation to join this discussion, with a thoughtful post at his weblog. Andrew opines, inter alia, that:
“I might not want to see how Hillshire Farms makes their delicious Polish Sausage, but I want to see the ingredients listed on the package, and I definitely want food inspectors in there checking things out. The same is true for web site content. I expect a certain amount of labeling (who wrote what) and I expect checks against misrepresentation of expertise. It doesn’t sound to me like O’Keefe plans to dodge either of these.”
Update (04-22-04): “Delete Key Neg” I’m pleased to report that Kevin O’Keefe has re-written the lexBlog premium services page, removing a quotation from author Rebecca Blood, which we have noted was taken out of context (leaving out the importance of hands-on weblogging for achieving expertise and authority status), and which seemed to suggest that Ms. Blood endorsed lexBlog’s services.