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A few months ago, we wrote about Casetext, a nifty little platform that seeks to essentially democratize/wiki-fy/open source the law, allowing users to annotate cases and share comments. Casetext recently expanded on that open source idea and launched LegalPad, which is WAY cooler. LegalPad is basically the legal equivalent to Medium. However,where Medium is a publishing platform for everyone about everything, LegalPad is a publishing platform for law-related material only.
If you are not already familiar with using blogging platforms like WordPress and/or you just do not want to set up your own blog, LegalPad provides a relatively robust place for your legal writing. It comes with the usual blogging tools: the ability to use create headers, use basic HTML commands, create hotlinks to other websites, and embed documents and photos. However, where LegalPad excels is in its ability to integrate cases and other legal documents. You can bookmark cases already found in Casetext and import them into your post. While in the middle of a post draft, you can consult cases without hopping out. You can highlight quotes from a case and cut and paste them into your post and they will come complete with pincites – just like Westlaw.
When lawyers take advantage of those features, you find posts like this, which offer legal analysis and a wealth of links to past decisions. However, LegalPad can also be used to simply provide a teaser paragraph and link to your own blog (or someone else’s) for the remainder of the post, but frankly that sort of defeats the purpose of such a platform – and, unfortunately, that is much of the content that is currently there.
LegalPad will succeed or fail based on how lawyers leverage the platform. Using LegalPad as a space for vigorous and substantive discussions of the law, grounded in using Casetext’s law library, could create an entirely new space for legal scholarship and dialogue. Making it a glorified collection of links to other material will just be Feedly on steroids.
Featured image: “little cube with paragraph symbol on a keyboard” from Shutterstock.