Nov. 7, 2012 – Elists are easy-to-use Internet-based discussion groups of people interested in particular topics. They are often called listservs, but the term listserv is a registered trademark of the software that was developed to handle these email discussions. Many state bar associations, including the State Bar of Wisconsin, have multiple elists tailored to attorneys with common interests like family law, business law, and the like. There are also elists tailored to pro bono, solo/small firm, and other groups.
Once you subscribe to an elist, you can email a question to the list. Other subscribers may respond, and hopefully the discussion will quickly answer your question. The more active the elist, the more responses you may receive. Because subscribing to an elist can generate many emails, it is helpful to set up a rule to direct your elist responses to a specified folder. That way you can read the emails when you have time. Some people also use a separate email to subscribe to and monitor these emails.
Most lawyer membership groups have elists available to their members. If they are national organizations, many times there is a state-specific elist in addition to the national elist you can subscribe to.
The State Bar of Wisconsin has several elists available. You must be a member of some groups to access the elist. For more information or to join a State Bar of Wisconsin elist.
Social Media and Blawgs
While elists are popular and easy to use, there are also alternatives such as social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and others. LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to join various groups of like-minded people and then decide how you would like to be notified of postings to that group.
Don’t forget about the many blogs or legal-related blogs known as blawgs. The ABA publishes a list of blogs or blawgs (law related blogs) annually, including a subset of blawgs that deal specifically with Wisconsin issues.
About the Author
Carol Bannen is the Director of Information Resources for Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Milwaukee. Bannen is responsible for the firm’s research, records, and knowledge management operations. She formerly served as the firm’s head librarian.