As the legal blogosphere goes from childhood to adolescence to (eventually)
full-throated adulthood, I’ve enjoyed not just contributing my own small
efforts to that process, but also being able to be an armchair observer of
other developments having nothing whatsoever to do with me. 

this stems from my endless fascination with the proliferation of business
models the online world has spawned, and with luck will continue to spawn.   Partly
it stems from my wanting to vindicate—or invalidate—a theory
of mine to the effect that any new media channel begins life by imitating
the closest analogous old-media channel, and that it takes an explosion of
experimentation before the new media understands "what it wants to be when
it grows up."  Thus radio began by staging plays and running vaudeville
acts years before discovering its real home in news, talk, and music.  Likewise,
TV began by imitating radio before it found its strength in late-breaking
news, sports, and series. 

And yes, thus the web began imitating print and has evolved roughly as

  • Web 1.0
    • revolution = hyperlinks
    • static content ("brochure-ware")
    • activity = surfing
  • Web 1.5
    • revolution = self-contained portals
    • dynamic content (Salon, Nerve, Slashdot)
    • activity = search
  • Web 2.0
    • revolution = collaboration
    • user-generated content
    • activity = share

Today I’m here to report on an emerging category of legal sites targeting
micro-communities with micro-focused content. 

The best example I’ve seen, which I just learned of this week, is Drug
and Device Law
, which is—yep!—about pharmaceutical and medical
device product liability.  Its founders and co-hosts are Jim
, with
Dechert in Philadelphia, and Mark
with Jones Day in Cleveland.  (Careful readers will recognize
mark as the author of The
Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law
)  Their goal for the
site?  As Mark put it to me, "Jim and I would be quite happy with a “fit
audience, though few”: inside counsel at drug and device companies and sophisticated
lawyers who act as outside counsel for those companies."

Why is this different than, say, a three-ring binder treatise on the same

Look back up at my bullets under "Web 2.0:"  The potential
is for "Drug and Device Law" to become essentially home-base for a community
of practice, exchanging ideas, analyses, and even briefs (well, OK, we could
start with string cites).  Now imagine trying to replicate the robust
functionality of that same potential community in the off-line world.

I rest my case. 

So Happy Zero Birthday to Drug and Device Law.

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