It was a much-different world in 2002. A Republican occupied the White House. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, led by a quarterback named Tom Brady. At the box office, a Spider-Man movie was a big hit. And the news cycle was taken up with talk of whistleblowers.
But one thing has not changed: This blog. It was born exactly 17 years ago today, with the goal of keeping readers up to date on the latest in legal websites and technology.
I was inspired to start it by a book. Shortly before, the second edition came out of my book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web. No sooner was it out than it started to fall out of date. I had wanted it to be the definitive source of legal resources online. But that pesky Web kept evolving. New sites kept springing up. Older sites kept improving.
A book, I realized, was not an appropriate medium in which to track a technology world that was constantly changing.
I was already a fan of several early legal bloggers, such as Denise Howell, who started Bag and Baggage on Nov. 28, 2001; Ernie Svenson, who started Ernie the Attorney on March 2, 2002; and Tom Mighell, who started Inter Alia on Aug. 18, 2002. And blogs — or weblogs as many still called them — were prominent in the news that year, as bloggers broke the story that brought down Senate majority leader Trent Lott.
A blog, I decided, was the only medium suited to the kind of reporting I wanted to do. With a blog, I could keep my readers continually up to date on new developments, in real time. So I swore off any more books and signed up with a fledgling company called Blogger, which a year later would be acquired by Google.
Believe it or not, 17 years later, I’m still at it.
In the technology world, 2002 was a time of transitions. Google was gaining greater steam, having just received a patent for its PageRank technology. The virtual world Second Life was first demonstrated publicly. The Friendster social network turned down a $30 million purchase offer, two years before the launch of Facebook. And Sanyo released the first cell phone with a build-in camera.
Seventeen years later, the pace of change in legal technology has accelerated exponentially. Here at LawSites, I’ll keep at it, trying to cover it the best I can.