ABA Journal Blawg 100
Posted Dec 1, 2007 11:21 AM CST
By Molly McDonough, Sarah Randag
When we set out to name the ABA Journal’s inaugural Blawg 100, we knew we were up for a challenge. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 legal blogs—what we call blawgs. How many of those are worth a click? Turns out, quite a few.
The trick is fitting them neatly into a category. By their very nature, bloggers defy categorization. What in one week is a blog devoted to the black-letter practice of law is the next week a heartwarming chronicle of a baby’s first steps or a devastating battle with cancer.
Our Blawg 100 bloggers fill their posts with chatter about work, gossip, helping hands, frustration, love, rage and pleas for justice.
There is no end to advice (lots of it useful), tips (many of them helpful) and opinion (goes without saying). And there are volumes, we repeat, volumes of cautionary tales.
Covers a wide range of legal topics and includes a handy weekly roundup of blog posts for the occasional reader.
The latest breaking legal news from the nation’s capital with original reporting from the likes of U.S. Supreme Court veteran Tony Mauro.
A participatory law blog “carnival” that takes submissions and compiles a weekly list of the best ones.
Personal musings and legal news posts from the heart of New Orleans. The blog chronicled the author’s harrowing escape in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters.
Headline legal news with an appellate focus posted at a breathless pace, with occasional breaks for oral arguments in Pennsylvania.
Comprehensive coverage of national and international legal news and developments—with links to original source materials to boot—edited by law students at the University of Pittsburgh.
The director of Syracuse University’s legal reporting program finds endless examples of shortcomings in the mainstream media’s coverage of high-profile court cases and other legal topics.
This blog’s beautiful design and “freshly squeezed” juicy legal tidbits belie its more serious focus on personal injury.
A business litigator offers up regularly updated, easy-to-navigate posts featuring legal news and observations, plus a thoughtful quote of the day.
Subtitled “A New Take on Legal News,” the site is well-organized with a daily regimen of legal news and information. It provides an entertaining yet useful interactive map, documents from high-profile trials and a calendar of key trial/ hearing dates compiled by Courthouse News Service.
The tort reform debate rages on here, with frequent posts on litigation news, trends and issues from across the nation. Daily roundups make skimming easy.
Legal policy is discussed in this regularly updated blog primarily focused on the U.S. litigation system and hosted by the Manhattan Institute.
Sharp, fast-paced commentary about legal and nearly legal news and events.
Comprehensive, brainy but easy-to-read legal analysis from Fortune senior writer Roger Parloff.
A thoughtful, quick-witted blog from the mainstream media powerhouse Wall Street Journal. Often breaks business law news and sparks discussion.
Getting and keeping clients is the focus here, with posts relating to everything from social events to billing and legal ethics.
POLITICS FOR SPORT
Frequent and sometimes biting criticism of “liberal judicial activism” hosted by the National Review Online.
A mainstay of and inspiration for conservative political blogs, University of Tennessee professor Glenn Reynolds offers news and commentary snippets primarily focused on individual liberty, terrorism and the law and, occasionally, technology.
Conservative radio personality/law professor Hugh Hewitt offers news and commentary from the Townhall.com portal.
A liberal take and singular, dynamic, updated-daily focus on criminal justice issues from Denver-based criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt.
Unyielding commentary on constitutional and civil rights issues from Glenn Greenwald, a onetime litigator who made the jump from part-time blogger to full-time pundit at Salon.com.
Legal affairs news and analysis, with a Supreme Court bent, from ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg.
A first stop for need-to-know Supreme Court news, announcements, analysis and original source material thanks largely to nearly 50-year-veteran SCOTUS reporter Lyle Denniston, the only full-time blogger with permanent Supreme Court media credentials.
Law professor Ann Althouse has become a favorite for her arty photographs, snark about politics and pop culture, and impressive occasional coverage of legal events.
The latest law school hirings, firings and other turmoil, plus research and commentary suggesting how best to run a law school.
Two of the University of Chicago’s finest—one being 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner—pick policy and economic subjects and blog head-to-head.
Law professors blog on racially significant legal, political and sociological developments of the past and present, and spotlight black media figures.
Sharp essays from Yale Law School professor Jack M. Balkin and a large bullpen of law professors who mostly take on current events, as well as the constitutionality of government policy.
Written by (and, to some extent, for) law professors, it calls itself a general-interest legal blog. Some posts cover academia inside baseball, and others offer opinions on recent court decisions.
Several posts every day about U.S. foreign policy and trade—with room for law school news, the latest lawsuits and personal musings.
A blog created for community-building among professors. Contributors note legal developments affecting women and ponder where to draw the lines of political correctness.
“Some friends” who blawg on law review articles—in particular or in general—and on legal topics in the mainstream media and blogosphere.
Where Pope Benedict XVI is the most-cited legal authority. Canon law is interpreted, and Catholic law school news is covered in detail.
Stephen Bainbridge no longer limits himself to one URL: This is the hard legal branch of his new trinity (another blog gives wine equal time). This one calls itself “a blog about corporate law and governance and legal education.”
University of Chicago professors take on books and papers by leading legal authorities—and sometimes invite said authorities to guest blog.
Contributors make at least 10 timely and witty news posts daily, and fans—30 or more comments on one post is common—keep the debate fresh.
BLACK LETTER LAW
One China-based and one U.S.-based lawyer cover China business news and entertain with links to fish-out-of-water posts about being an American in China.
Summaries of and links to the latest e-discovery case law, legal journal articles and conference information. The blogger is a Maryland solo with an information systems background.
Editors cover the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers with the help of reader submissions. The underlying site contains comprehensive information regarding ICANN.
This new J.D. covers legal issues surrounding online gambling and discusses intellectual property matters and content ratings of video games. And look out for Halo spoilers.
Each post summarizes and links to a legal podcast that covers e-discovery, litigation, workers’ compensation, torts or law practice.
Professor Larry Lessig’s crusade for network neutrality and finite copyright restrictions—and against corruption (he’s recently started a Corruption Required Reading list) within the FCC and elsewhere.
Ron Coleman follows copyright and trademark law and often finds humor. This is no dry IP blog limited to links to decisions—Coleman’s two cents are always included.
For IP law drinkers who like to order the venti. Thorough coverage and analysis of recent case law and the USPTO’s latest.
Distills the most vital information from recent patent case law and highlights patent law jobs found on companion site Patent Law Jobs by Patently-O.
An unwavering focus on church-state legal questions—and there are always enough of these questions to warrant between five and 10 posts per day.
Marty Schwimmer predicts the future of trademark law, and through diligent documentation of news and case law, he decides which predictions were correct.
An ABA staff-written blog that reviews new gadgets and lists their release dates and also alerts readers about tech resources available on the Web.
Bruce MacEwen’s blog is all about what BigLaw is doing right and wrong—salaries, retirement policies, e-books, you name it.
Documents trends in the profession and cautionary tales of badly managed firms. Also links to interactive quizzes that measure one’s managing ability.
Denise Howell’s posts on this blog (she has two others plus a weekly podcast) sometimes drift from her first love, technology law, toward motherhood in the O.C.
Provides primers and near-daily advice about what every solo and very many nonsolos want to know: how to strike out on their own.
It’s all about careers: Legal recruiters post networking tips and salary studies, and they highlight both the struggles of lawyers just starting out and BigLaw excesses.
Cuts to the heart of what juries want to know and what they think is important in cases from across the country.
Covers mostly legal technology—e-discovery, podcasting, conferences. But this newly minted ABA Journal monthly columnist makes room for other talked-about law topics and personal notes.
Links to new legal blogs, ABA and Oklahoma Bar Association handbooks, technology conferences and news articles—some written by Calloway.
In 2005, Grant Griffiths set up shop in his basement and never looked back. He blogs about how technology helps him—and could help you—pull this off.
Tom Mighell could probably compile a Blawg 100 in his sleep: His site features a “Blawg of the Day” seven days a week. Posts also cover legal technology.
This former editor and publisher of the ABA Journal stays on top of what law firms in the U.S. and Canada are doing marketing-wise, and he also serves up a plateful of advice and anecdotes.
Ed Poll finds plenty to post about from his speaking schedule alone. He writes about outsourcing and the cold-hard-cash facts of starting—or ending—a law practice.
Rahul Jindal hails from just outside of New Delhi. He documents the outsourcing phenomenon both “from the ground” and from combing the blogosphere.
Matt Homann stumbles on ideas far outside of the legal realm (can tips on getting a date help a lawyer seeking clients?) to advise on productivity, networking and technology.
A law professor posts about the latest court rules regarding word limits and page limits, as well as the use of cites, footnotes and dates. He even entertains debate about the serial comma.
The voice inside law partners’ heads, reminding them of the hard choices they have to make—complete with graphs and links to additional articles.
Longtime blawgger Carolyn Elefant contrasts solo life and BigLaw and dispenses career strategy and marketing advice to those on her side of the fence.
Directs readers to panel discussions, URLs, podcasts, TV specials and other legal info that might slip under the radar.
CAUTION: GOSSIP, RUMOR, & INNUENDO AHEAD
Irresistible gossip and fly-on-the wall scuttlebutt from the once anonymous A3G; former prosecutor David Lat makes this site a supermarket tabloid lover’s necessity.
These snippets from actual Golden State case files will either elicit chuckles or make heads spin.
We’re pretty sure this isn’t the real U.S. attorney in Chicago, but the frequency of the posts relating to the prosecutor’s many high-profile cases makes this a go-to for all things Fitz.
This blog is there for when the long arm of the law touches magicians; it also features lawyers who use magic in their practice. A new paranormal TV show might merit a post, too.
It helps, but there’s no need to be a huge fan of the TV sitcom The Office to enjoy the serial posts based on the labor and employment issues raised in the show. Julie Elgar adeptly identifies the potential legal action in each episode and adds a litigation value.
Lawyer jokes, cartoons, humorous snippets, etc., are posted regularly for a daily dose of humor.
A once wildly popular law firm insider blog by the then-anonymous Melissa Lafsky, the site trudges on when Lafsky’s not busy writing for other publications and editing the NYT’s Freakonomics Blog.
The Insider doesn’t often speak, but when he/she does, it’s worth paying attention, especially for those who crave law firm gossip and a voyeur’s peek at one of the largest firms in the world.
The Syndicate blog has made our hit list as a go-to site for courtroom mafia news. Syndicate is a historical repository for a list of infamous made men—plus, recently, marathon coverage of Chicago’s Family Secrets trial.
YOUR SO-CALLED LIFE
“Babymama08,” aka Michelle, purports to be a South Dakota public defender chronicling her professional life and—here’s the intrigue—her experiences as a surrogate. Last we checked, she was pregnant with twins and hoping for a good medical report so she could buy maternity clothes.
Harley-Davidson enthusiast Norman Gregory Fernandez marries his personal injury/family law practice to his passion for biking, using his blog to offer tips to potential clients and chronicling his scenic travels.
Coastal South Carolina solo Sheryl Sisk Schelin offers advice and moral support for the solo practitioner, as well as those who want to strike out on their own to improve their quality of life.
With guest bloggers, testimonials and legal career trends, JD Bliss highlights ways in which lawyers can achieve career satisfaction and strike a healthy work- life balance.
Founded by a group of law students from various schools in 2006, Ms. JD tackles work-life balance issues, gender inequalities and hurdles in the legal profession. Member bloggers share their experiences in practice settings while featured bloggers—from law school deans to trailblazing practitioners—offer their take on these issues.
Musings and work-life posts come from an anonymous part-time law student and would-be immigration attorney.
A pretty-in-pink anonymous take on life as a pink-suited public defender in an unnamed city, with some details fudged to keep identities private.
Nothing fancy, but a solid source of death penalty news, litigation updates and case information published on the blog as they are found, then shipped direct in a weekly e-mail.
Proof positive that truth is stranger than fiction, Clews draws in true-crime enthusiasts with stories from the horrifying to the surreal.
Takes a prosecutorial, victim’s-rights view of the criminal justice system and is hosted by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
All the crime that’s fit to print in Kansas City. The cops’ beat is updated throughout the day and organized by dozens of criminal justice categories.
Covers criminal justice news and events, with a healthy dose of Texas-size politics.
Like the blog says, nothing generates more controversy (except maybe when a Wal-Mart comes to town) than when a strip, er, gentlemen’s club opens up. Covers a range of so-called vice industry laws and legal developments.
Highly respected and oft-cited, Professor Doug Berman’s scholarship and avant-garde commentary is open for discussion.
Entertainingly jaded take on criminal justice news and issues within and sometimes beyond New York City’s borders.
J.D.s IN TRAINING
“Boalties” from Berkeley post on news and gossip about their school and its donors, handicap U.S. Supreme Court cases and mull over which Democrat should be president.
Editors take e-mailed submissions from all over and compile amusing exchanges between law students, as well as funny or inappropriate statements by lecturing professors.
Anonymous students who collectively identify themselves as “The Lawbitches” eschew political commentary in favor of complaining about aspects of their daily lives.
This 3L is careful with how he spends his time as well as his money: Look here for tips on being productive in law school—and reducing your grocery bill.
Two Hastings 3Ls and two recent Hastings grads post about international law, politics and economics. The bloggers are particularly interested in China and Iran.
LAWYERS BEHAVING BADLY
A fascinating one-topic blog delving into the legal, ethical and human implications of the Duke University lacrosse rape prosecution debacle.
f/k/a, aka “formerly known as,” combines haiku poetry with commentary on lawyers and legal ethics along with musings about politics and current events.
At the intersection of legal ethics and use of technology, examples vary as widely as the Web, with posts about everything from disclaimers and e-discovery to fee sharing and lawyer referral services.
This group blog features commentary and news posts from law professors exploring legal ethics issues ripped from the headlines.
There’s nearly always a fresh legal ethics example or cautionary tale here, where law professors summarize legal ethics opinions and train a studied eye on real-life case studies.