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RSS Feeds Are Changing The Way Lawyers And Law Students Learn About The Law

Most people who spend any time on the internet know what an RSS feed is.

“RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed," "web feed," or "channel") contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays.”

As the volume of great lawyer blogs within niche practice areas continues to grow, it has become increasingly easy to follow the hottest issues within almost any area of law.  Once I have identified 5-10 feeds from top legal bloggers within a practice area, I can stay on top of the latest legal developments within that area.  One unexpected benefit is that you can expand your knowledge of a particular area of law in ways which were simply previously not possible (at least outside of law school).

One missing piece of the puzzle, however, is a single website which accumulates the feeds from the best blogs within a specific practice area so that you can set up a single feed to capture multiple blogs.  Wouldn’t that be great?


Grant D. Griiffiths

Actually you can do that with Justia's Blawg review. I captured all the RSS's for family law and put them in one folder in NetNewsWire. Worked great. Not sure if the same can be done with LexMonitor, Lexblog's great new service. But, knowing Kevin and his crew, I bet you can.

Enrico S.

Hey Grant: Thanks for the comment. I have always been frustrated by Justia's lack of feed directly on each category page. Having to create a folder then add or drop feeds is an added task if all feeds were simply feed to a category page then made available by RSS.

Had no idea Kevin had launched LexMonitor. Very cool. Looks like he has some limited categories and is pulling all posts from certain blogs into his system. I was happy to see my blogs in the directories as well, although I had no idea I was also included. (don't think I have any traffic from them yet). In any event, what Kevin is doing fits a need. Information needs to be niche and vertical. And being able to obtain multiple vertical blogs in a single feed is a big step forward.

We are launching a service which will take Kevin's model to the next level. Stay tuned!

Enrico S.

The problem with pulling all posts from a particular blog, as opposed to hand categorizing them, is that you end up with posts that don't belong in that category. Not every post is worthwhile on a blog. But Kevin's is by far the best feed aggregation 'by category' I have seen yet.

Dan Schwartz

I actually disagree with your premise that most people know about RSS feeds. I did a presentation to a group of lawyers and was astonished at the numbers of people who didn't use them (much less know what they did).

But I would suggest the Lexmonitor feed. The other suggestion is to create your own "Google Blog Reader" feed on a particular topic. Just type in the words to the Google Blog Search and then click on the link that says something like "Do you want to save the search as an RSS Feed for Google Reader". Great use for terms. I use it for "employment law" to keep up on employment law articles I may have missed elsewhere.

Enrico S.

Dan: Thanks. I actually agree on your point on RSS. I should have said most bloggers understand RSS feeds. Most lawyers don't even understand what a blog is!

I have lots of Google feeds set up as well. They work pretty well, although you still end up with junk and my guess is that their database of blogs is incomplete. I see blog posts using keywords I chose which don't show up in my Google returns.

But the point is a good one. We need a better way to categorize, rate and follow RSS feeds. As with everything else "internet" and at risk of violating H&R Block's trademark, "My People Are Working On It."


Justia only categorizes and ranks blogs, not posts. I would welcome a system that ranks posts by category and filters content that should not be in that category. A lot of posts in the Lex Monitor categories don't belong. But I guess that is what happens when you pull in every post from a feed. Most blogs are not exclusively category based.

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