A Review of TechnoLawyer’s Free BlawgWorld 2007 ebook

PDF files can do so much more than simply display a brief or memo. The legal technology devotees at TechnoLawyer have once again demonstrated that a PDF file can deliver a versatile and engaging electronic book (ebook). On July 30, 2007, TechnoLawyer actually released two free ebooks in one appropriately entitled “BlawgWorld 2007 with TechnoLawyer Problem/Solution Guide“. The substance of both books is exceptional, while the ebook format is innovative and inviting.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a “blog” (a portmanteau of “Web” and “log”), but you may not be aware that a legal-flavored blog is affectionately known as a “blawg.”

If you’re curious about the content of a blawg, TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld 2007 ebook is an noteworthy place to explore the unique genre. Seventy-seven blawgs were invited to submit a post from their blog that represented the essence of their writings. All of the essays are reproduced in the BlawgWorld 2007 ebook along with additional information about the blawg and author.

The BlawgWorld 2007 ebook covers a good cross-section of the blawgs found on the Internet today. You’ll find entries from the most influential legal blawgs including May It Please The Court, Adam Smith, Esq., Overlawyered, DennisKennedy.blog, and SCOTUSblog. There are a few pleasant surprises like David Maister’s Passion, People and Principles and a good number of legal-technology related blawgs such as FutureLawyer, Jim Calloway’s excellent Law Practice Tips Blog, I Heart Tech, and Ross Ipsa Loquitor. The blawgs cover a wide range of material from legal news, legal marketing, law technology, and law practice management. It’s a good bet that you will find at least one blawg tailored to your specific interest.

Not only is each reprinted blawg posting helpful and informative, but the BlawgWorld 2007 ebook provides hyperlinks to each blawg. This is the prime feature of an ebook – the fact that you can incorporate hyperlinks directly within the text of the ebook allowing readers to enjoy a well-rounded reading experience.

PDF files have easily handled links for many years; it’s just that many folks don’t take advantage of the baked-in technology. Links embedded within a PDF file can take you to another page in the text, open a different file, or jump you to a page on the Internet. Both the BlawgWorld 2007 and the TechnoLawyer Problem/Solution ebooks take full advantage of the PDF linking technology which means you can click directly to a favored blawg on the Internet with a single click of your mouse button.

The interactive features of the ebook don’t end there. The TechnoLawyer folks designed a visually alluring layout for both ebooks that makes you feel as if you were thumbing through a coffee-table book.

First, the ebooks are positioned in landscape mode instead of the traditional portrait orientation. That means you get to see an entire page of text as soon as you open the PDF file. You don’t have to fool around with zooming in or out of the file to read it properly.

Second, every page of the ebooks contain navigational tabs at the top left corner so you can flip around the book easily. The three tabs are entitled “Blawgs,” “Problems,” and “Products.” You can think of these tabs as index “dividers” that you may find in the binder of a legal treatise. If you’re done reading one page of the ebook and want to explore another section, you can simply click on the tabs at the top to jump back to an index. If you prefer to turn each page, you can use the your up and down arrow keys, or your Page Up and Page Down keys to flip back and forth.

Both ebooks take up a whopping 366 pages. The first 20 pages contain the introductory material and indexes. The next 160 pages preview the blawgs, and the last 184 pages are devoted to the second ebook entitled “TechnoLawyer Problem/Solution Guide.” The good news is that with an ebook, you don’t have to read every single page. The main indexes allow you to jump directly to a page that you find interesting without having to flip through every page in between.

While TechnoLawyer has published previous editions of the BlawgWorld ebook, this is the first year they included the second ebook. The Problem/Solution Guide is actually paid content – many major vendors to the legal arena purchased the right to be a part of the Guide. But don’t let that fact deter you from the usefulness of the information provided. To participate in the Problem/Solution Guide, each vendor had to provide a targeted question and answer that was relevant to the practice of law. It wasn’t enough for a vendor to simply buy ad space, they had to work a little for the right to be in the ebook.

The Problem/Solution Guide is outlined by a Master Topic List that includes subjects like Case Management; Realtime Depositions; Digital Dictation/Speech Recognition; Fax Communication; Time & Billing; Case Analysis; Marketing & Billing; and Using Demonstrative Evidence in Trials. Clicking on one of these master topics take you to another page with the related question. For example, the topic “Litigation: Electronic Filing” asks “How Can I Exchange Litigation-Related Documents Between Attorneys?” and “Is There an Easy Way for Me to Deliver Pleadings, Motions and Briefs to a Court?”

When you click on the link for each question, you immediately jump to a page where you’ll find a several-paragraph answer. The answers are obviously biased towards the sponsoring vendor, but each page provides contact information for each vendor so you can obtain more information. You normally get a phone number, email address, and direct link to their Website.

In their usual flair and capacity, TechnoLawyer has created a unique and interactive ebook that brilliantly takes advantage of the technology found in PDF files. BlawgWorld 2007 was designed to open in just about any PDF viewer and it worked very well in my various tests.

The best part of the entire book is that it is free. Thanks to the paid content of the Problem/Solution Guide, both ebooks are entirely free to download from the TechnoLawyer Website. You aren’t even required to register, provide your name or e-mail address, or join TechnoLawyer (although you would be well served to do so) – you just simply click the link, download the book, and start reading.

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