Some revolutions begin with great fanfare; others start unnoticed. The rise of the blogger is perhaps the most heralded development in the world of legal education since the first rankings of U.S. News & World Report. The number of legal bloggers, as determined in the latest online census, stands at over 300. Symposia on the growth of legal blogs have been held, written about, and “live-blogged.” The focus on blogging within the law coincides with the larger cultural attention being paid to bloggers across the spectrum.
The new crop of law review online “companions,” in contrast, simply has been noted. When a law review launches a companion, the new site is mentioned in a blog post and may also be added to the blog roll. But there has been little attention paid to the overall phenomenon. In part, I believe this is because the role of the law review companion is still undefined and its future uncertain. These sites may simply become a repository for .pdfs
of published articles, along with a light garnish of commentary that “raises questions.” On the other hand, these sites may develop into online presences of their own—formidable players in legal cyberspace.
In this Essay I lay out a structural analysis of the online companion. I begin with a brief descriptive discussion of the companion, including its design, content, and readership. I conclude with suggestions for such companions to consider in developing their approach for the future.