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April 27, 2009

Digg This: Leading Law Reviews Collaborate to Introduce Online "Legal Workshop"

As Doug Berman has written, seven law reviews form the founding membership in a new online forum, a "Legal Workshop" that allows one-stop-shopping for cutting-edge legal scholarship.

The founding members:

Cornell Law Review
Duke Law Journal
Georgetown Law Journal
New York University Law Review
Northwestern University Law Review
Stanford Law Review
University of Chicago Law Review

Some have worried about the initial set of papers posted to the forum and to the perhaps over-ambitious hope to reach the general public with bite-sized versions of scholarship. But I want to make two different observations about the Workshop's ability to circulate scholarship among the smaller universe of potential readers of legal scholarship, a function that Larry Solum's blog and other blogs also serve.

First, this workshop marks a technological innovation that may prove significant: it seeks to introduce social networking tools to legal scholarship.  It allows readers to "Digg" an article or share it on Facebook or LinkedIn.  

While it is hard to imagine law review articles displacing interest in Britney Spears or iPhone news or "64 Things Every Geek Should Know" (one of the top five items on Digg in the last week), it seems quite likely that readers will find it useful to highlight legal scholarship in this way. I suspect that readers will run across work of interest that they would not have otherwise found through this method.

Second, this Workshop by its very nature has an open access quality. It does not hoard information, limiting it to paid subscribers only. Rather it offers easily accessible, one-click reading of the nation's top scholarship.

We law professors often have the privilege of having the nation's top law reviews hand delivered to our office by our librarians.  Now the world can share in this privilege.

Anupam Chander

April 27, 2009 | Permalink


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Great points, Anupam, but I fear that the (so far) imperfect execution of The Legal Workshop may end up giving all these innovations a bad name. I found it hard to find content on the site, and I also could not find a way to get info via e-mail without being a Digg or RSS guy. But maybe I am silly to want my online scholarship to be as user-friendly as I find blogs....

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 27, 2009 10:05:41 AM

The articles are still written in lawyer gibberish. Lawyer language is a form of bad faith. It requires that one hire one to translate. No one cares about the garbage in this web site. However, in real world documents, any utterance rated above the sixth grade reading level should be voided for fraud and lawyer rent seeking, a synonym for armed robbery.

When one does make the effort to understand them, there is no way to rebut their misleading, self-serving, lying lawyer propaganda. They do not allow comments.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 27, 2009 9:55:57 PM

Doug, the great thing about the Web is how quickly one can correct early missteps (if one's readership allows). I'm sure that the Legal Workshop editors will recognize your (and other people's) constructive suggestions.

I too do not have a Digg account, but maybe I should finally do it--largely to Digg pieces by Berman.

Doug--imagine if we had had this when we were co-clerks for Chief Judge Jon O. Newman of the Second Circuit in '93-'94, you sitting in the New York chambers, and Adam and I in the Hartford chambers. We could have used the social networking tools to discuss law review articles (eggheads that we are).

Posted by: Anupam Chander | Apr 28, 2009 1:30:45 AM

Imagine a time when every page of every lawyer utterance would no longer contain a supernatural assertion. When will the lawyer get tired of unlawful supernatural garbage from 1250 AD?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 28, 2009 7:03:04 PM

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