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The Influence of Law Blogs (2006-Present)

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is a James E. Beasley Professor of Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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12 Responses

  1. Max Kennerly says:

    I disagree with your “dashed off thought” that, if a blog “provid[es] useful information to courts,” the court will cite it. My search logs are loaded with hits from “gtwy.uscourts.gov” that were referred in from Google searches on legal issues like “plain meaning.”

    I presume most of those searches are done by clerks trying to figure something out; maybe they aren’t impressed by my thoughts, but at the very least they’ll be informed by my citation/quotation of a given case, and thereby I will have “provid[ed] useful information to courts.”

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    Max,
    So maybe it would be more correct to say that courts are uncomfortable being seen to rely on the dashed off thoughts.

  3. Keith says:

    This is a great resource. I am a rising 1L, and had no idea there are so many terrific legal blogs out there. I systematically made my way through the list you provide above, and got excited enough about what I was reading to bookmark about half of them. Great way to separate the wheat from the chaff; no offense intended, but great to know that there are active legal blogs out there with more meat on the bones than ATL.

  4. Have you ever studied whether practitioner blogs are cited in court cases or journal articles? I know that my renewablesoffshore.com blog has been cited in some student law review notes, but I wondered how common that is.

  5. Todd Klimson says:

    Wow concurring opinions more citations than Becker-Posner, Impressive. Kinda tells you something?

  6. TOTM says:

    Your numbers are wrong for truth on the market. Searching http://www.truthonthemarket.com in JLR yields 23 hits. Your spreadsheet has zeros across the board.

  7. dave hoffman says:

    TOTM folks: we’ll check into it and make corrections!

    Carolyn: Is there a repository where we could see the names of a large set of “practitioner” blogs?

  8. Orin Kerr says:

    Measuring the influence of law blogs on legal opinions by counting judicial citations to law blogs doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. There are two problems. First, there is a lot of influence without citation: Most judges are very cautious about what they cite, and blogs are not yet on the list of “standard” sources. Second, there is a certain amount of citation without influence. Some of the citations to law blogs in judicial opinions are actually citations to third-party documents that happen to be hosted by blogs. The blog is merely part of the URL where the document can be found in such cases, not actually a source of authority, and yet I gather it counts as a citations.

  9. Orin Kerr says:

    One more thought: I don’t know how much it matters, but if you’re counting the blog citations, it may help to include now-defunct blogs not on the 2009 census. (I’m aware of that possibility mostly or only because my own solo blog orinkerr.com was cited in a Sixth Circuit case in 2007, although the blog itself is long defunct and therefore not on any census.)

  10. dave hoffman says:

    Orin,
    I agree with you — citation as a measure of influencing courts is a terrible metric. Can you think of something better that is objective & relatively easy to collect? (I can’t.)

  11. Orin Kerr says:

    Dave,

    I’m not sure, but one idea might be to poll recent law clerks on the question.

  12. dave hoffman says:

    It’s an interesting idea. Though I bet that you are more likely that I am to have access (through the vast-VC conspiracy) to a sufficiently large sample of clerks.

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