The Time Blawg – One Year On

The Time Blawg - One Year On
The Time Blawg travels back to the start of its time – 1 January 2011

One year ago yesterday, on 1 January 2011, The Time Blawg materialised.

I blogged then:-

I look forward to posting on The Time Blawg in 2011 and beyond, inviting guest bloggers, receiving comments and encouraging debate at a time when the legal profession is going through many changes.

I was not entirely sure where my TARDIS would take me during 2011 but it became an exciting journey with very interesting (sometimes quite heated) debates flowing in the comment sections of the blog.

The first main post of the year was Future Law: IT Predictions for 2011. I looked at 6 possible areas for IT development within law firms.

1. Social Media

Nicole Black had predicted a move in 2011 by lawyers away from Twitter and towards Facebook and LinkedIn. I have not seen any real evidence of this and, if anything, there has been a greater take up in 2011 by law firms of Twitter. However, many are still using it just to broadcast and not getting their lawyers involved, as I think they should, to use it as a networking tool. The benefits of this can be seen in Twegal Tweetups which took off after Linda Cheung and I organised the Lex2011 Tweetup in London where virtual became IRL (in real life). These have now become regular monthly events in London under the stewardship of Shireen Smith with the next one, which I hope to attend, being scheduled for 17 January 2012. Further benefits of social media use by law firms were explored in my post on Key Lime Pie Law Firm Marketing Strategy. That was about things that stick in your mind. Another post on that theme was Dubrovnik, Ice Cream and Lawyers.

Charon QC has sent me to deal with the Twitter lists

In 2011 there appeared to be great interest in lists of who was supposedly doing better than who in social media in the legal world. Most of these lists were ill conceived  and appeared to be created for publicity by the authors rather than for any other sane purpose. The Lawyer was foolish enough to publish not one but three of these throughout the year. This gave The Time Blawg fodder for three blawg posts, all of which created much debate:-

The simple bottom line message to all of this is forget the lists. I will again quote (the now sadly late) Trey Pennington who said:-

Don’t worry about increasing your Klout score (or twittergrader ranking or whatever comes next). Just use whatever gifts you have to help other people accomplish their dreams. If you’ll help enough other people get what they want, you’ll have all the influence you’ll need.

I would not like to predict that The Lawyer will not publish another such spurious list or two in 2012. The Time Blawg will be watching!

Staying on Social Media I asked, in February 2011, should lawyers have their own Paper.li? For me the jury is still out on this one. I plan to do a follow up post, perhaps in February 2012, with my further thoughts on this.

2. Blawging

The second prediction for 2011 was that I believed in the UK blawging was just about to mushroom and as @WardBlawG Tweeted to @TheTimeBlawg “2011 shall be the year of the Blawgs”.

Well I am not so sure it mushroomed as such. Some new blawgs may have arrived but on the whole the old stalwarts kept law blogging going in 2011. In April I had the privilege to host UK Blawg Roundup #6: The Time Travel Edition and took a good look at the healthy state of UK law blogging at that point in time (with a little look back in time to the very early days of UK law blogs).

Perhaps 2011 will be remembered as the year of navel gazing about law blogging (with two #lawblogs debates in London) and the great flawging debate. I was brave enough to put my head above the parapet and suggest there might be some business advantage to be gained by blogging: The Elephant in the #LawBlogs Room. This was scorned by many ‘purist’ law bloggers who could not imagine anyone blogging other than out of the sheer love of it. If you did you were nothing but a flawger. However, was it as simple as I Blawg. You Flawg. Period? As I concluded in that post:-

I think that ultimately most, if not all, blawgs result in selling of a sort (even if that is just the blawger themselves rather than a legal service). Some blawgers protest too much on this issue me thinks. If you don’t want to flog don’t blog.

I fully expect some of those law bloggers who resolutely believe that they do not flog themselves by blogging to put themselves up for The Orwell Prize in 2012. Oh the irony if they do! For an on point and very recent blog post (from yesterday) on this topic do see Charon QC’s: The Ducks wish all…..HNY 2012.

Dr. Watson Blogs
Blogging is elementary my dear Holmes

Only last night on Sherlock – A Scandal in Belgravia (BBC One) it was revealed that Sherlock Holmes gets most of his clients from Dr. Watson’s blog.

Sherlock Holmes:

Do people actually read your blog?

Dr. Watson:

Where do you think our clients come from?

Sherlock Holmes:

I have a website.

Dr. Watson:

In which you enumerate 240 different types of tobacco… no one is reading your website.

I looked at the question of Do Clients search [online] for a Lawyer? in May. I maintain, from experience, that they do. Others disagree. Sherlock Holmes did not disagree with Dr. Watson on this one, other than to point out the exact number of different types of tobacco enumerated on his website (243 not 240)! Indeed Sherlock has now deleted his post on Analysis of Tobacco Ash. Whilst Dr. Watson’s blog goes from strength to strength including his latest post on Sherlock’s number one fan, Jacob Sowersby.

The heated debate on Flawging resulted in me moderating comments a little more carefully as discussed in I thought the Blawgosphere was a friendly place 🙁

Connected to this are two later posts on blogging by lawyers-

In 2011 I was very pleased to welcome two assistants into my Police Box as Guest Blawgers. First through the door was Miriam Said with her law time: from the outside looking in. I had planned to develop this into a more regular guest spot on ‘Your Law Time’ where Guest Bloggers will tell you about their personal past, present and future in or associated with the Law. I simply did not get around to asking anyone else to blog on their law time in 2011. I will endevour to do so in 2012.

The second assistant to enter my Police Box in 2011 was Adam Manning with the Dr Who Christmas Special: Jottings for the Time Travelling Lawyer. It was nice to end 2011 with such a fun blog post.

3. Video

The third IT prediction from a year ago was that we would see an increase in online video usage by law firms in 2011. Not much of that has been seen as yet to be honest. Maybe 2012 will be the year for it to take off a little bit more. The nearest The Time Blawg got to video in 2011 was producing a Jib Jab video as a tribute to John Harman’s #FollowFriday videos: #FF Jon Harman (@colmmu) this Christmas.

4. Legal Documentation Online

I commented last year:-

This is an area I have not seen much in the way of predictions on. I think 2011 will see an increase in the use of online production of legal documents to allow clients to input information themselves through platforms such as Direct Law.

However, what will be important is how law firms actually utilise this technology themselves and work it to best advantage. It will I believe be a little further into this decade before we really see the impact of this particular technology.

My views on this remain the same – but certainly an area to keep an eye on. It may even be an area that The Time Blawg will blog specifically about in 2012.

5. Cloud Computing

Law Firm in the Cloud
Which cloud is my law firm’s server in?

I predicted that in the UK we would see a greater take up amongst lawyers of cloud computing in 2011. This has begun to happen. Indeed, my own law firm, Inksters, moved all our IT systems to ‘the cloud’ in 2011 leading to three blog posts on that topic at The Time Blawg:-

I will be speaking in London on 21 March 2012 about Inksters experiences of ‘the cloud’ at the ‘Law and Technology Forum – Re-thinking legal services in a competitive marketplace’ organised by The Law Society of England & Wales.

6. Mobile Devices

As I said last year the rise in the use of mobile devices will, I believe, be partly linked to the take up of cloud computing. I remain of that view and may well blog on this topic at The Time Blawg in 2012.

The Future at The Time Blawg

So that was 2011. What does 2012 have in store for readers of The Time Blawg? Well as you know my TARDIS can be a bit unpredictable in its travels. But you can be certain that we will still be looking at the past, present and future practice of law. There will no doubt be more about social media and lawyers (generated perhaps by posts from other blogs), I expect to look at Alternative Business Structures, law firm marketing and plan to encourage some more assistants to join me in the Police Box as guest bloggers. Wherever we go I hope you will join us in the blue box for the ride.

Happy New Year!

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