Welcome to Lawfare's New Look

By Benjamin Wittes
Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 10:50 PM

Bobby and Jack and I started Lawfare a year and a half ago on a lark. We imagined it as a forum for incidental writing that did not quite rise to the level of an oped. None of us imagined the role Lawfare would come to play or the variety of content (book reviews, news roundups, podcasts, and litigation documents) we would be posting on a regular basis--much less the sheer volume of content or the fact that the site would become a research tool for a great many readers. We thus gave no thought to how to organize the blog's content and only a little thought to what Lawfare should look like.

A few weeks ago, at a meeting up in Cambridge, a mob of Lawfare's younger contributors--the spontaneous riot appears to have been led by Alan and Ritika--laid it on the line: We had outgrown the original design, and we needed to think more ambitiously about how to present what had really become a full-featured magazine. I protested. I asserted authority. I tried to quash the rebellion. But then Alan stood up, a manic, mad-professor gleam in his eye, and he started writing on the blackboard--and I knew it was all over and that I had lost. The Lawfare redesign process had begun.

All jokes aside, our new design, which goes live today, is the brainchild of Matthew Scarola, a third-year student at Harvard Law School with a flair for PHP programming. The idea is to remain true to Lawfare's original, text only, newspaper-inspired look, while using space more efficiently, organizing our content better, and improving traffic flow--particularly for the large percentage of Lawfare's traffic that involves brief visits triggered by links from other sites and readers who thus have no idea who or what we are. In Matt's design, Ritika's and Raffaela's "Today's Headlines and Commentary" posts will have their own permanent home in the upper right-hand corner of the blog. The latest episode of the podcast will always be available on the front page. The sidebar--including information about our growing list of authors--will be available in every post.

I am deeply grateful both to Matt for his excellent and thoughtful work on this project and, in all seriousness, to Alan for pushing me into undertaking it.

Please enjoy the new design, about which feedback is welcome and to which tweaks are still possible.