when steve mcqueen announced in papillon that he was still alive despite the battering he’d received at the hands of his captors on french guyana, he was standing up for everyone who had persevered through hard times. of course that may be a tad melodramatic, but consider that this very blog got off the ground in 2005 and we’re still around despite every level headed prediction to the contrary. thanks for another great year and for your continued support.
and now the real issue: what were the standout developments in 2006 and what can you expect in 2007? glad you asked. based on posts to this blog and reader responses, the top issues this year were:
mcle: mandatory continuing legal education finally caught on in Illinois. spurred by forward thinkers like the 18th Circuit’s favorite son and Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, Robert “Bob” Thomas, mcle is now a part of doing business. let the parade of vendor-driven hoopla continue.
e-filing: first the federal district court, then the bankruptcy court, and this year the 18th circuit along with a few other state courts in illinois. in the end the state court came up short despite the efforts of gifted and hard working judges and lawyers. what is in place at the moment is a permissive system understood by few and used by fewer. if it weren’t for the bonanza that vendors like Lexis-Nexis see on the horizon, e-filing in the state courts would be a dead issue already, instead of merely being on life support where it remains.
e-discovery: the 800 lb. gorilla of rule changes, and a candidate for first place on this list. note that it is not at the top of the list however. that follows of course; because the changes that made e-discovery such a buzz word this year were federal while most small and sole practitioners stick to state courts. and most of the profession consists of small and solo shops. so until the changes wash up on the virtual shores of the state courts, practitioners will continue to keep e-discovery on the back burner. after all, few lawyers and even fewer judges that we know of like the idea of dealing with more change.
web 2.0/law 2.0: the lifespan of the average cultural phenomenon follows the familiar bell-curve. it comes out of nowhere, peaks for a while, then peters out. people who’ve been around the block will warn against jumping on such trends. most of the time they’re right. on the other hand there will be that occasional sea-change that alters the rules so completely that it is no longer on the same curve. whether web 2.0 and the inevitable law 2.0 hybrid fall into this category has yet to be determined — but our money is on the likely permanence of what web 2.0 has done for our profession as well as what it will bring down the line.
seo and sem: a big issue this year was the accelerating pace of search engine marketing (sem) and search engine optimization (seo). in 2006 this phenomenon overtook even the most robust predictions, and shows no sign of slowing down in 2007.
2006 – most cited sources
coming soon: a sneak peak at 2007
(send in your predictions and we will print the best)