The 2009 ABA Journal Blawg 100
These are the 100 best Web sites by lawyers, for lawyers, as chosen by the editors of the ABA Journal.
Welcome to the third annual ABA Journal Blawg 100 - the best legal blogs as selected by the Journal's editors.
Our readers clued us in to a few law blogs we'd never seen before, and you'll find them among the 40 blawgs that are new to our list this year.
For a list of all 100 blawgs, complete with their companion Twitter feeds and extra quick takes, click here.
Readers who registered with ABAJournal.com were able to pick up to 10 favorite blawgs in the 10 categories below.
Click here for FAQ about the Blawg 100 and voting.
Voting is now closed.
Broc Romanek’s posts—which appear every weekday, usually before you’ve had your coffee—provide exhaustive coverage of corporate governance topics, the Security and Exchange Commission’s latest moves, and reactions of both companies and shareholders.
We’ve consistently heard from readers like Chris Holly who check Patently-O daily to keep up on developments (and jobs) in patent law. “I’m a patent prosecutor and reading the blog every day keeps me up to speed with what is going on in the patent world,” wrote Holly, an associate with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz in D.C. Co-authors Dennis Crouch of the University of Missouri School of Law and Jason Rantanen of the University of Iowa also have guest posts by other patent practitioners “that are insightful,” Holly wrote. We were excited to see a “Patent Ethics” corner started by Mercer University law prof David Hricik, but sorry to see it go on hiatus during his clerkship.
We couldn’t agree more with one fan who held up SCOTUSblog as “extraordinary,” a site that “sets the gold standard to which all blawgs should aspire.” Indeed, SCOTUSblog was on a roll in 2012 as it celebrated its 10-year anniversary, crossed over into pop culture as founder Tom Goldstein made an appearance on The Daily Show, and saw an astounding response to its live blog of the Supreme Court’s health care ruling. The coverage attracted 5 million hits and 1 million simultaneous users, including President Barack Obama.
A reader favorite, Dallas lawyer Michael P. Maslanka consistently produces thoughtful, insightful pieces breaking down recent cases and discussing employment law issues in the news for a blog hosted by Texas Lawyer.
HALL OF FAME Philadelphia lawyer Kelly Phillips Erb finds the tax angles of the day's major stories, sometimes consulting experts and sometimes sharing her own opinions on U.S. tax policy. Celebrities' tax woes often make appearances. This year, she also did a series of "back to school" posts that answered tax questions tied to the beginning of the academic year: Are tutoring services deductible? How do you document school-supply donations for tax purposes? Can you deduct expenses related to kids' sports?
HALL OF FAME "Gene Quinn is fearless. He is not hesitant to point out what he perceives to be injustices spawned by particular court decisions or other developments. Furthermore, when reporting on statistics concerning patents, he drills down to discuss the reasons why the numbers read as they do, or why there may be more to the statistics than meets the eye. IPWatchdog also hosts excellent guest posts on patent law developments." —Mike Cicero, Atlanta
You may never look at a produce aisle the same way again once you’ve read Seattle lawyer Bill Marler’s exhaustive coverage of food safety violations. Marler tracks food poisoning cases with a single-minded fervor, offering a valuable resource to trial attorneys, food producers and anyone sitting down to dinner.
HealthBlawg Health care law consultant David Harlow of Newton, Mass., covers health care legislation and regulations (both at the federal level and in his home state) as well as public health innovations in the private sector.
From one post: “We love finding fissures in the conservative movement and its generally disparaging views about the civil justice system.” Here, the plaintiffs-side Center for Justice & Democracy makes strident observations about newsy tort cases and never misses the humorous angles.
These bloggers, who cover legal news stories of interest to media lawyers and bloggers, are definitely writing pros who produce timely, fun-to-read posts. They also naturally cover the actions of Harvard’s Citizen Media Law Project, which, among other things, tracks copyright infringement lawsuits directed at online publishers.
Designer handbags and shoes sometimes need lawyers, too, a fact never forgotten by the witty Susan Scafidi, the first U.S. law prof to ever offer a fashion law course. Scafidi highlights IP fights in the fashion and advertising worlds with such verve that at times you’ll feel like you’re reading Vogue (which is always in Scafidi’s briefcase).
"The Drug and Device Law blog is the most timely, comprehensive blog I have found on prescription drug and medical device litigation. For recurring issues, the blog updates its scorecards and cheat sheets. For other issues, it offers in-depth summaries with thoughtful analysis. The quality of writing is excellent. As a result, despite its defense slant, the blog has garnered a diverse readership." —James M. Sullivan, Hollingsworth, Washington, D.C.
At Green Building Law Blog, Philly’s Shari Shapiro digests legislation and research on green building law and explains its significance with enough personality and clarity that a layperson can understand and stay interested. Occasionally, she snags an expert interview for a post.
"I really enjoy posts from this blog as the authors manage to extract the essentials and present them in layman's words for all to understand. We all have access to similar information from the government (e.g., FDA draft guidances, etc.) but this blog not only explains the changes well, it also analyzes the parallels with similar previous situations—and references! This is the one blog that I read every day." —Jennifer Ng, Abbott Point of Care, Ottawa, Canada
Last year, the Recording Industry Association of America trials consumed Ben Sheffner’s blog. This year the pro-copyright-owner blogger stuck to his original plan: spotting and debating cases of possible infringement in political ads.