FindLaw and Lawyers.com are among the most highly trafficked lawyer directories and consumer-facing legal sites. Now it appears that both are taking steps to beef up their coverage of legal news — no doubt in order to further beef up their traffic.
First came the announcement from Lawyers.com in September that it had hired well-known legal marketer and former legal journalist Larry Bodine as editor-in-chief. “In this role, Larry will be responsible for shaping and developing site content we produce around current legal news and topics of interest to consumers and attorneys across the United States,” said the announcement.
Now comes news from FindLaw that it has launched FindLaw Legal Pulse:
FindLaw.com is introducing FindLaw Legal Pulse, a new content area that offers continuously updated legal headlines from around the world, along with news, photo feeds and analysis from such sources as Reuters, the Associated Press, New York Times and Washington Post. The content covers a broad range of law-related topics-everything from Supreme Court decisions to legislative updates, everyday legal issues and even sports and celebrity news.
FindLaw has gained a reputation in recent years for aggressive SEO tactics. There are elements of this new section that suggest SEO is at least one reason FindLaw launched it. For example, the page contains a section titled “Popular Topics” where the listed topics include “Car Crash News,” “Child Custody News,” “Divorce News” and “DUI News.” While these are clearly popular phrases for legal SEO, are they really popular topics for legal news? Also, the page contains a section, “Other Legal Headlines,” that appears to consist solely of posts from FindLaw blogs.
That said, the two main sections of Legal Pulse, “Editor’s Picks” and “Top Legal Headlines,” contain newsworthy articles on a broad range of legal topics. The Editor’s Picks section appears to be just that, highlighting articles based on their content rather than on their timeliness. By contrast, the Top Legal headlines section highlights current news stories from AP, Reuters and other sources. Each of these sections has its own RSS feed.
It should be noted that FindLaw is owned by Thomson Reuters, which has its own Legal News & Insight site. The site features news from Reuters — which has significantly expanded its legal news coverage in recent years — along with features such as the On the Case blog written by Alison Frankel, a long-time writer for The American Lawyer, and analysis written by lawyers and others. Let’s hope there might be some symbiosis between the FindLaw and Reuters legal news sites.
There are any number of choices for sites that aggregate legal news. Two that I rely on heavily are Law.com and the ABA Journal Daily News. Still, no single source is sufficiently comprehensive to cover everything I’m interested in. That is why I track an array of blogs and news outlets. For now, I’ll add FindLaw’s Legal Pulse to my aggregator and see what, if anything, it adds.