In this Roundup: legal wikis gaining traction, more on individual lawyer versus law firm institutional branding of blogs, and a fascinating analysis of how crowds influence individual preferences. 

Wikis are an easy way to collaborate via the web. Bob Ambrogi blogs that the 7th Circuit has started a public wiki focused on procedure and practice. For more on legal wikis, see his article Legal Wikis Are Bound to Wow You (Law Tech News, May 2007). Courts rarely lead in technology so perhaps this will pave the way for practitioners. How long before a large law firm “own” a legal niche by hosting the definitive substantive wiki?

Individual v Institutional Branding in Blogging
Following up on a presentation I gave on blogging, I recently raised the potential tension between individual and institutional interests in branding. Two other bloggers picked up on this discussion and offer good analyses. See Steve Matthews’ post (Vancouver Law Librarian Blog) Associate Blogs & Law Firm Interests and Kevin O’Keefe’ (LexBlog) Branding of large law firm blogs : Law firm vs. individual lawyer and Branding of law firm blogs continued. (If a firm did start a wiki, presumably it would be firm branded).

Cool Stuff
Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage? (NY Times Magazine, 4/15/07) is a fascinating analysis of how popular culture choices are deeply influenced by the early/initial choices some people make. The so-called “butterfly effect” of chaos theory is part of the explanation. A short and highly worthwhile article.
Now ponder the implications of this for law practice…. “Standard” clauses in transactions evolve over time. Is it possible that new ones that become standard are merely an “accident” of being noticed and used initially by a couple of firms and then other firms noticing the initial re-use? And is that the same as a considered, collective judgement that the clause is a “best practice?”