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Say It Ain't So! Footnotes in a Blog

Lawyers are as reluctant to shed their footnotes as prudes are their clothes. In that sense, the legal blogosphere should be considered a footnote nudist colony. If you are unwilling to strip yourself of these linguistic overcoats, then go and publish elsewhere. Blogs are not footnote optional.

So I share Grant Griffiths's surprise, which he describes at his blog Home Office Lawyer, upon discovering, via his RSS reader, footnotes in a legal blog post. He overcame his initial instinct to unsubscribe from the blog's feed and instead gave the post's author the benefit of the doubt.

I decided that perhaps the individual who wrote this post did not understand that no one wants to read a post with footnotes in it. Get a clue, this is a blog post, not a law review article. No one is going to be impressed you know how to footnote. And quite frankly, you most likely will turn your audience off.

The offending blog is one well worthy of continued readership and hardly deserving of public ridicule. But having been an editor at legal publications and having spent years trying to disabuse lawyers of the notion that they must footnote everything they write, I fully understand how Griffiths felt. Footnotes often strike me as out of place, but nowhere more so than in the blogosphere. Let us, as a profession, agree to this pact here and now: Never again will we use footnotes in blog posts. Are you with me?

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 1, 2008 at 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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