The First-Ever Law Blog (Reconsidered)

In response to this blog’s 11th birthday yesterday, a couple of people asked me what other law blogs were around way back then. The question reminded me of a post I’d written in 2007 for Law.com’s Legal Blog Watch, Who Was the First Legal Blogger?.

After searching through the archives of some of the longest-running legal blogs that I knew of, I declared the first-ever legal blog to be Walter Olson’s Overlawyered, which started on July 1, 1999, and continues strong as ever today.

Turns out, however, that I was wrong. Walter was not the first.

Yesterday, in the course of searching for my 2007 Legal Blog Watch post, I came across an even earlier post of my own — one that I’d forgotten about entirely — addressing this very question. That 2003 post, The First-Ever Law Blog?, cited immigration lawyer Greg Siskind as the self-declared first-ever legal blogger.

In May 1998, before the term “blog” had even been coined, Greg set up something that walked like a blog and quacked like a blog. He explained in a 2003 post:

I actually had set up a blog back in May 1998 before there was even a term “blog.” In that year, we set up an “online diary” to keep readers apprised of legislative developments surrounding the H-1B cap. The page was extremely popular and in one day alone received more than 50,000 hits.

You can still see that page, courtesy of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

That means that Greg, not Walter, gets bragging rights as the first legal blogger.

If you’re curious about who else was blogging back then, that 2007 post includes a list of some of them (and read the comments for others). You might be surprised at how many of them are still around today.

The name “blog,” by the way, was first used in 1999, according to Wikipedia, as a contraction of “weblog,” a term which was coined just two years earlier, in 1997.