The Blawg 100
Best of the Blogosphere
Posted Dec 2, 2008 12:50 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough, Sarah Randag
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On our second annual list of the best legal blogs, just half of last year’s honorees make a return appearance.
What explains the high turnover? For one thing, every day new legal blogs are started, and some existing blogs—including some that appeared on last year’s list—cease to be updated regularly. Plus, some of the upstart blogs are just plain better than some that made the cut last year.
This year, blogs that aren’t updated at least weekly—no matter how interesting—often didn’t make the grade. We put a premium on blogs that broke news in 2008, or were among the first to provide trenchant analysis of one or more breaking legal news stories. We also gave props to bloggers who made the most of audio and video (in our new podcast category) or social networking applications.
- Throughout this list, asterisks indicate blogs that were on our 2007 list.
NEWS & POLITICS
For news and politics junkies, there’s been no better development than the Web.
These blogs are updated constantly each business day, either by paid staffers or passionate mavericks. They focus on the day’s legal news or the authors’ political leanings, or both.
*Above the Law
ATL founder David Lat moved on and up to become managing editor of Breaking Media, the company that hosts ATL and other blogs. But the guy who saw BigLaw’s entertainment potential also saw opportunity in the search for his replacement: Elie Mystal got the job in an “ATL Idol” competition staged on the blog. The guard has changed, but ATL is still law-firm-rumor central, and Lat remains a regular contributor.
This year has been all about the presidential race for University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse, who live-blogged all of the debates for her readers’ benefit and promised “cruel neutrality” regarding her election posts, but didn’t disappoint her right-leaning readers. Althouse has developed an effortless connection with her readers—a one-sentence post with a single question or factoid is liable to garner 50 comments.
The Am Law Daily
The American Lawyer’s reporters churn out original BigLaw coverage from dawn to dusk every business day, and they also never fail to focus on how national and world news might affect the Am Law 200.
*The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times
Its law firm news for the most part stays inside the Beltway, but its concise and timely original reporting on all three branches of the federal government gives it national appeal.
Instead of starting a practice after law school, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga started a liberal political blog. Six years later, more than a half-million visits per day keep his “vast left-wing conspiracy” alive. Fellow Kos bloggers come from all walks of life, from a Chicago associate to a physician from Connecticut. Even former President Jimmy Carter has posted on Kos.
FP Legal Post
This blog from Canada’s National Post covers law firm news from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. But its authors also delight in writing cheeky posts about oddball law stories from all over the world.
After more than six years, appellate litigation served straight up is still the name of the game here (though Howard Bashman’s interest in baseball is evident at times). Bashman somehow juggles tracking all the circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals and the state courts with his solo practice, as well as writing regular columns for Law.com and the Legal Intelligencer.
From his seat on the far right, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds seems to spend every waking moment linking to and quipping on news stories about politics, economics, the media, and science and technology law. Also look here for The Glenn and Helen Show podcast, which Reynolds co-hosts with his wife, forensic psychologist Dr. Helen Smith.
The only law student blog (or, as they prefer, news service) and only Webby award contender in this category has extensive daily coverage of national and international legal news with a focus on the substantive rather than the sensational. The University of Pittsburgh law students behind the scenes are led by professor Bernard Hibbitts, who created the site’s first iteration as Law Professors on the Web in 1996.
Law and More
“Independent journalist” Jane Genova was originally drawn to the law blogging game by lead paint litigation in Rhode Island, and consumer law is still a main topical focus. But some posts are career pep talks, and whatever’s hot—be it law firm turmoil or Wall Street drama—also gets coverage.
Former American Lawyer magazine executive editor Mark Obbie uses LawBeat to review and critique mainstream media coverage of law. He’ll praise quality legal affairs coverage, but he’s just as quick to point out foibles and gaffes. In September, grad student Rohan Mascarenhas started what we hope will be a recurring feature, “The Docket,” a quick roundup of legal reporting worth noting.
We miss Peter Lattman, whose private-equity industry stories for the Wall Street Journal are now often blogged here. But Law Blog still covers all the bases, keeps its tone conversational and scores interesting interviews with lawyers in the trenches.
Legal Blog Watch
Blogosphere insiders Carolyn Elefant of Washington, D.C., and Robert Ambrogi of Rockport, Mass., alternate writing cutting, chatty posts on the day’s most interesting legal news stories. Special attention is paid to Law.com publications and blogs.
Admittedly, this is not a neutral site. Denver-based criminal defense lawyer and legal commentator Jeralyn Merritt and her fellow liberal bloggers have set their sights on Capitol Hill and the rights of defendants in U.S. courts.
*The Volokh Conspiracy
Its look is nothing fancy, and there’s no mission manifesto to be found. But substance reigns over style at this site where right-leaning law professor/bloggers, led by founder Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law, deconstruct politics and policy in a 13-hour—seriously—daily dialogue with thousands of readers.
Tech-savvy and with a high threshold for the pain that comes with change, these pioneers make it both hobby and practice to play with technology, then share their successes and failures.
St. Louis-based tech guru and ABA Journal contributor Dennis Kennedy has so much to say about legal technology he’s branched out into microblogging. In addition to posts at his main site and blog, readers can follow along as he learns about new tools to help lawyers—@dkennedyblog on Twitter.
*Ernie the Attorney
We first got to know Ernie Svenson when he blogged while Hurricane Katrina blasted New Orleans, then chronicled his escape from the city when the levees failed. Svenson was back at it this year when Hurricane Gustav made a pass at New Orleans. This time, this plugged-in lawyer turned to a text-based blogging platform, using Twitter to post regular updates.
St. Petersburg, Fla., solo Rick Georges is the FutureLawyer, experimenting and testing all sorts of techno gadgets, software and screens so you don’t have to. Georges puts most of his tech reviews in the context of law practice, explaining how technology can ease practice burdens and improve productivity. His posts are available in audio, via Odiogo. Oh, and we gather from his off-topic posts that he’s a Redskins fan.
Dallas lawyer Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia remains a prime source for us when it comes to finding new blogs to watch. He posts a “blawg of the day” and sums up tips, tech posts and related matters with his Internet Legal Research Weekly newsletter. Mighell co-authored a book with Dennis Kennedy this year, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together.
*Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog
Jim Calloway’s blog has a decidedly law-practice-management theme. The veteran Oklahoma lawyer comments about software, hardware and gadgets that improve the lives and practices of lawyers everywhere.
The Mac Lawyer
Apple fanatic Ben Stevens of Spartanburg, S.C., takes on the Microsoft/PC-centric law practice model as the Mac Lawyer. He chronicles the experiences of lawyers who make the switch from PC to Mac, and offers tips and advice to those considering a Mac-based practice. Stevens, along with fellow blogger Grant Griffiths of Clay Center, Kan., formed a Google forum called MILO (Macs in Law Offices), which as of this writing had more than 800 members.
Real Lawyers Have Blogs
Kevin O’Keefe is a blog evangelist and oftentimes a law site pundit. He’s been preaching that lawyers need to become tech true believers. O’Keefe’s first major Internet foray, the virtual law community Prairielaw.com, was snapped up by LexisNexis. For his second act, he founded Seattle’s LexBlog, which builds custom blogs for lawyers.
Ross Ipsa Loquitur
Even though we find its brown-leathered background makes this blog hard to read, Ross Ipsa Loquitur is an excellent source for tech trends, tools, practice-related techniques and the latest gadgets. Legal tech expert Ross Kodner and his crew at MicroLaw.com in Milwaukee sometimes lighten up and “edutain” their readers.
Moderated by Simon Fodden, professor emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Slaw was started largely for the legal research and IT community in Canada, but it may soon transcend its tech designation. The name Slaw was chosen in deference to Salon and Slate and “the notion that a cooperative weblog with many contributors is bound to consist of a great many (nutritious) small pieces in rather a jumble.” Despite its Canadian emphasis, Slaw’s topics are techno-logically universal and insightful.
Created by onetime New York City commercial litigator Neil J. Squillante, TechnoLawyer Blog attempts a New York Times-ish mission to cover “all the legal technology and practice management news that’s fit to blog.” Recurring features include “TechnoEditorials.” The blog is also the home of BlawgWorld, a free annual e-book that showcases essays from influential blogs.
After seeing that there is a blog devoted just to furniture law, we know that anyone can and will blog about anything. Here are a few of our singularly focused favorites.
Ars Technica: Law & Disorder
Trying to keep up with developments in Internet and intellectual property law can make anyone’s head spin. But the eclectic mix of staff and contributors to the Law & Disorder section of Ars Technica have turned their coverage into an art form—the art of covering technology law, at least.
Bankruptcy Law Network
Have trouble sorting through all the credit and bankruptcy rhetoric during the presidential campaign? The Bankruptcy Law Network, a group of seasoned consumer advocates and bankruptcy lawyers, was quick to post about these issues both in context and in plain English.
*Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports
Tired of blithely following U.S. News & World Report rankings, University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter decided to use the bully pulpit of his blog to rank law schools his way: by law prof publication rate, for one. His blog is also a go-to spot for the latest academic job openings, prof salaries and other law school news.
This all-points-military blog came to our attention when its post on a glaring SCOTUS omission landed on the front page of the New York Times and led to a request that the court reconsider a decision banning capital punishment for child rape. Contributors include current and former Navy JAG officers and military judges. Though we’d prefer to see posts organized by topic, we like the courts-martial news roundups and takes on important military law developments.
Those who are looking for insights into what makes a jury tick will find answers at Deliberations, a smart, captivating blog by Milwaukee’s Anne Reed, a trial lawyer and jury consultant. Her posts and analyses are conversational, smattered with enough jury news-of-the-weird to satisfy a general audience. Don’t miss her “juror misconduct” category and the “American Gallery of Juror Art.”
Drug and Device Law
From the pharmaceutical and medical-device product liability litigation corner of the blogosphere, there’s no beating this defense-oriented blog. Seasoned defense lawyers Jim Beck of Philadelphia and Mark Herrmann of Chicago, along with authoritative guest contributors, pick apart rulings and explore issues common to this niche practice.
*Legal Ethics Forum
The 15 law professors who make up the Legal Ethics Forum home in on news, opinions and questions dealing with the ethical practice of law. Many of the posts take a decidedly academic approach, but there are enough cautionary tales of lawyers and judges behaving badly to give the blog a broad appeal.
*Legal Profession Blog
Sometimes the legal ethics-oriented law profs at Legal Profession Blog slip off topic. But even in those instances, their commentary generally centers around the ethical business practices that apply to lawyers. The bread-and-butter posts here involve lawyer discipline, though anything that involves lawyer conduct and the practice of law is fair game.
A daily chronicle of tort and legal ethics cases that, much to Walter Olson’s dismay, make it to court. Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York City who started this blog in 1999, says he was the first legal blogger—and no one’s disputing that. He’s also embraced Twitter and does the heavy lifting over at PointofLaw.com, which has more of a straight legal news focus.
We believe Patently-O’s claim that it’s the most popular patent law blog around. Author Dennis Crouch, a law professor at the University of Missouri, has developed a loyal community around summaries of key decisions or patent law cases of interest, as well as a job board and an event calendar. And last time we checked, Patently-O’s Facebook group had more than 800 members.
The Pop Tort
It’s not just because the name reminds us of those tasty toaster treats that we like this blog. The Pop Tort takes a witty, clever and irresistibly irreverent approach to otherwise weighty consumer advocacy issues. Launched in January, it’s also the Center for Justice & Democracy’s latest riposte to the tort reform movement.
You’d think that a blog by a former SEC lawyer and cybersecurities expert would be, well, about securities law. But since 2005, Toledo, Ohio, lawyer Howard M. Friedman has fed his other passion with his daily flurry of posts devoted to news, issues and commentary relating to the free exercise of religion and church-state separation. His posts often involve the fascinating intersection of religious law and secular law.
In its seventh year, Thomas C. Goldstein’s SCOTUSblog is a primary source of high court news and analysis. Lyle Denniston is quick to post the gist of opinions—whether unanimous or fractured—as soon as they are released by “the Nine.” He, Goldstein and the other regular contributors then circle back to add detail, transcripts, analysis and context to the decisions of the day. News from the court can come so fast that SCOTUSblog has begun using live-blogging features to more sanely report breaking news from the court.
Sports Law Blog
It’s not all fun and games here, where posts from law profs and others tackle all things from the nexus of law and sports. Think the Chicago Cubs’ playoff curse is off-topic? You’d be wrong. In an October post, contributor Howard Wasserman, a law professor at Florida International University, argued that the Cubs may have cursed themselves on the way to their last World Series victory in 1908 by winning a key game against the Giants with an act of “legal formalism.”
Fighting for truth, justice and the American way is Kelly Phillips Erb as Taxgirl. A straight shooter who answers all tax questions large and small, Erb of Philadelphia has turned her passion for a practice area that makes some lawyers shudder into a career, a creative outlet and a way to interact with the public.
If you could get the services of a job coach, management consultant and personal business adviser for free, wouldn’t you sign up right away? Mix and match a few of these blogs and the effect may be the same, albeit minus the personal attention.
*Adam Smith, Esq.
Running enthusiast Bruce MacEwen goes the distance with this blog to offer posts, commentary and analysis about law firm strategy and profitability. In March, MacEwen of New York City allied his popular blog with heavy hitters Altman Weil in Philadelphia and Jomati Consultants in London.
*Build a Solo Practice
Susan Cartier Liebel, a former practitioner in Fairfield, Conn., now in the consulting business, takes pride in giving newly minted lawyers the skills and confidence to hang their shingles and do as her blog’s name directs. Liebel’s opinions are augmented by a robust community of solo advocates and converts, some of whom guest-blog about their own paths.
Clerkship Notification Blog
There’s nothing fancy in terms of layout or design, but hordes still flock here when it comes time to apply for coveted judicial clerkships. This is the spot for information about when specific judges start making offers and which judges have wrapped up hiring for the term.
If you’re in the market for nitty-gritty info about corporate and securities law, this blog has an analysis, an opinion or a webinar on the topic. The authors—Broc Romanek of Arlington, Va., and Dave Lynn of Fallston, Md.—are editors of the site TheCorporateCounsel.net.
*Counsel to Counsel
By day, Suzanne Dupree Howe of Houston and Stephen Seckler of Boston are in the recruiting business. And, in some other part of their day, they are Counsel to Counsel—bloggers focused on career advice, commentary and tips for associates, partners and in-house lawyers.
Gerry Spence’s Blog
How could we not include this newbie blogger in our favorites list? Here’s a rare chance to get direct mentoring from a lawyer legend. Spence is ready to share his secrets to trial success, his tips on how to survive surly judges, and his ruminations about growing old.
Hiring Partner’s Office
If you’re looking to cut through the gossipy nonsense of most anonymous blogs for some real advice, look no further. The author—the anonymous “Hiring Partner” at an Am Law 200 firm—directs posts to millennials about the questions and issues they have trying to land law firm jobs.
Law firm associate Geoffrey G. Gussis of Morristown, N.J., apparently misses the in-house world so much that he devotes an entire blog to helping former peers find the job opportunities and news most relevant to them.
As the name implies, this blog is aimed at appealing to disenchanted J.D.s. Posts track lawyers transitioning into professions they think might better suit their fancy. Blogger Taisha L. Rucker spent 13 years “lawyering” before opting out.
*Larry Bodine LawMarketing Blog
Law firm marketing consultant (and onetime ABA Journal editor and publisher) Bodine posts early and often about ways law firms can get and retain clients. Bodine’s blog spotlights what’s in the news, sometimes training a critical eye on law firm marketing successes and failures.
Believing that the business of law is on the brink of massive change, Law21 stakes out a front-row seat as a new practice—fueled by collaboration, innovation and client service—takes the stage. Passing out the popcorn is Jordan Furlong, a lawyer and editor of the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine.
As an advocate for lawyers to make the leap to solo or small-firm practice, Carolyn Elefant (see Legal Blog Watch listing) posts frequently about what it takes to do so.
*The [Non]billable Hour
If there’s a new twist on billing strategies, law practice marketing or client development, Matthew Homann is likely to pick up the topic. Homann doesn’t update daily, but if you check back from time to time you’ll find something worth the wait.
Getting a mention by “helpme123” on Temporary Attorney isn’t likely to result in pats on the back at the office. Indeed, this blog seeks to blow the whistle on “nasty sweatshops, swindling law schools and opportunistic staffing agencies,” especially if the victims are contract attorneys.
*What About Clients?
After years of trying cases, Dan Hull, a partner at Hull McGuire in San Diego, discovered two truths: Client service at law firms is “inattentive and erratic,” and even when firms are on the right track, there’s room for improvement. This blog focuses on how, when and where lawyers can improve.
We’ve heard that podcasts are soooo last year. But we’re not ready to write them off just yet. Here are a handful that caught our attention over the past year. Plus, we remain skeptical that there will be a video category in 2009.
As spawn of the reality/infotainment genre, this podcast comes directly from the FBI’s public affairs desk and features cases closed by the FBI. So if you have one minute each week to hear about cases they’re proud of, hit play.
David Levine hosts this radio-interview show on KZSU-FM at Stanford University. Guests from the intersection of technology and culture discuss books and theories shaping the development of Internet law. Show descriptions and bios are listed in blog format on the site. Warning: The shows are academic and, as a result, very long.
This high-quality podcast features timely topics and guests whose perspectives add context to legal affairs issues in the news. Podcasters J. Craig Williams of Newport Beach, Calif., and Robert Ambrogi (see Legal Blog Watch listing) keep the conversation going each week with insightful questions and commentary. And the catchy Lawyer2Lawyer theme brags that listening is “the most fun you can have while wearing a vest.”
LexisNexis Legal News & Litigation Report
You get a whole menu of daily law news options—general legal news, insurance law news, environmental law news or news from California and New York—from this high-end podcast. The news, read by various LexisNexis publication editors, is in a headline and summary format that’s easy to play while at your desk or to download by subscription for on-the-go listening.
One of the things we like about Out-Law Radio, besides its pro quality and journalist Matthew Magee’s accent, is that it’s usually a breezy 10 minutes. The show offers a weekly overview of international technology law news. The podcast is published by London-based firm Pinsent Masons’ Out-Law.com, which beat out ABAJournal.com for a 2008 Webby Award. But we’re not bitter, since we still won the popularity contest. Remember our five-word speech: “Had we lost, we’d sue.”
Law is mostly practiced at the local level, so it’s no surprise that some of our favorite blogs this year are focused on particular locales.
*China Law Blog
Two (American) insiders, Dan Harris and Steve Dickinson of Seattle-based Harris & Moure, write about how to succeed in this international practice. They post China business law updates; takes on the U.S. media’s China coverage; and frequent, fascinating cultural notes.
L.A. Legal Pad
National Law Journal reporters post on California legislation and state law news of national interest as well as expansions, lateral moves, hirings and firings at SoCal law firms.
New York Personal Injury Law Blog
Aside from thoughtful posts on New York tort law and insights into tort litigation in general, Eric Turkewitz also gets props for punking the blogosphere. On April 1 he posted a story contending that the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert in a fantasy baseball case—and that fantasy-baseball-player Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. had recused themselves while Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also players in this fantasy story, declined to do so.
South Florida Lawyers
This anonymous blogger can find a wisecrack in even the straightest news stories about the state’s hot cases, legislation, law-firm shake-ups and lawyer disciplinary actions.
Tex Parte Blog
Any blog that gets to focus on Texas’ legal news is already riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels. And Texas Lawyer’s blog makes the most of its opportunity with its conversational posts and profiles.
The law profs on these blogs are more conversational than you may remember them being in class. Some tackle legal issues with a purely academic focus, while others are more playful.
This decidedly left-leaning blog from the American Constitution Society covers court cases and proposed legislation that threatens individual rights. Editorials coming from the likes of the ACLU, the First Amendment Center and gay-rights groups appear regularly.
This blog has a unique design element: a dozen book titles down its right-hand side—all written by the blog’s authors. Yale University’s Jack Balkin and fellow academic heavyweights take a liberal look at legal issues through the filters of the Constitution and history.
*The Becker-Posner Blog
If there were ever a time for a weekly point-counterpoint between a Nobel laureate in economics and a scholar in the law and economics movement, it’s now. The name bloggers are, respectively, the University of Chicago’s Gary Becker and 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner—the profs you wish you’d had.
Aside from straightforward coverage of academic journals, the “concurrers” display what results when a lawyer’s theoretical brain is loosed on subjects as diverse as the First Amendment, energy policy or a presidential election and Jon Stewart.
The Wall Street crisis has kept these law profs focused on the blog’s marketing pitch: business/law/economics/society. We all hope to be as relevant and analytical. But these profs aren’t all work and no play—their Twitter feed, “The Glom,” is a riot.
Empirical Legal Studies
These law professors are “data junkies,” usually not likely to share an anecdote or a theory without a study to back it up. They find and dissect law-related studies that appear in both the mainstream media and legal scholarship, and they also provide details about upcoming conferences in their field.
*The Faculty Blog
Posts here link to writings and media appearances by University of Chicago law professors. There are posts by the profs themselves about the stock market, the political market and other topics of their choosing. The blog also occasionally feeds recorded lectures into its Faculty Podcast.
*Feminist Law Professors
This blog gives law professors a chance to list themselves on the site as feminist law profs, and more than 200 women and men have done so. Posts cover court cases, legislation and scholarship related to sexual discrimination for like-minded readers, as well as alert them to relevant conferences.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley keeps his posts short, light and entertaining while focusing on outrageous criminal justice and tort stories in the mainstream media (“bizarre” is this blog’s most populated topic). But be sure to click the “continue reading” links to get this constitutional scholar’s take on how these stories will end.
Law School Innovation
Law professors blog about new innovations and trends—whether entrepreneurial or technological—that are changing both how they relate to their students and how they disseminate their scholarship.
*Lessig Blog Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig’s blog chronicles his thoughts on copyright and network neutrality, as well as a contemplated run for Congress in February and his role in the Open Debate Coalition. And we love Lessig’s wonderfully executed Blip.tv webisodes.
*Mirror of Justice
In this virtual space, Catholic law professors highlight events of shared interest and deliberate over canon law. In this election year, politics came to the fore. But while these bloggers are of one church, they are not of one mind, and impassioned intellectual discussions ensue.
Less sidetracked than most by the bailout and the election, Prawfsblawg stayed true to its focus: “prawfs.” It posts about books and papers, law school job openings, and concerns of working professors.
This site is home to UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge’s three blogs devoted to law and business, wine and food, and punditry—the latter located appropriately on the right side of the page. How great for one-stop discussion-shopping in 2008: the economic crisis, the election, and that recipe for chicken fried chicken.
The University of Cincinnati’s Paul Caron covers all the tax law bases—what’s coming from the headlines, the law journals and the think tanks. Caron is also editor and publisher of the Law Professor Blogs network, reflected in his extensive coverage of law schools and legal blogging generally.
J.D.S IN TRAINING
These law students with varying interests and backgrounds have turned to blogging to get them through the alternately rote and mind-bending world of law school.
Diary of a Law School Mom
This wife and mother of three blogs about issues including what to do with a family in Colorado and even an occasional post about law school. But the 32-year-old author, who boasts that she is not a “one-dimensional gunner,” writes about topics to which “nontraditional law students” and busy moms would relate.
Founded in 2006 by a group of female law students across the country, Ms. JD authors have branched out beyond their regularly updated blog to form the National Women Law Students’ Organization. Like the blog, the group strives to improve career prospects for female lawyers; it will hold its third leadership summit in March at Yale.
*Nuts & Boalts
“Boalties” from the University of California at Berkeley collaborate to blog about news, sports, politics, gossip and student questions. Founder Armen Adzhemyan, now an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, set the tone in 2004 with his ground rules for the blog: “Boalt, law schools, law, politics or anything is fair game.”
A primarily student-run publication of Cal Law, the Shark features news and culture directly related to the experience of being in law school. The Johnny-on-the-spot bloggers earned their breaking news badge this year by being among the first to post U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings.
Thank You Ma’am
Blogger Sharon Nichols, a University of Alabama law student, turned her posts on “political commentary and general frivolity” into a book deal. Her Facebook group, I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar, led to a forthcoming book by the same name. Nichols has nearly abandoned political topics, but Bama’s mass e-mail policies give her plenty of post fodder.
For true-crime enthusiasts, there’s never enough news about the criminal justice system. That’s because we all know that truth is stranger than fiction.
New York Post photographer Steven Hirsch’s site is more artistic endeavor than legal blog, but we dare you not to love it. The premise: Hirsch photographs defendants leaving the 100 Centre Street courthouse in New York City, interviews them and transcribes their stories.
Rather than using his blog to shake his fist at injustice everywhere, Mark Bennett focuses on how lawyers can make their own justice in the courtroom. He shares his philosophies through analogies and anecdotes from his Houston criminal defense practice.
*Grits for Breakfast
Texas political consultant Scott Henson considers how his state is addressing crime and punishment—its appellate courts, its agencies, its law enforcement, its legislation and its prisons.
*Sentencing Law and Policy
Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman covers court rulings and scholarship regarding sentencing, and notes federal sentencing disparities. But the courts note Berman right back: His blog has been cited in more than a dozen criminal cases and is the first blog to have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.
New York City criminal defense lawyer Scott Greenfield calls out politicians and journalists on their missteps and offers sarcastic coverage of criminal justice stories that outrage him. And the world is such that he’s usually good for a couple of rants a day.
For us, these blogs are guilty pleasures. We enjoy the fiction and reality—Web tales spun close to home or abroad. Some are not for the faint of heart. But if you have a good sense of humor and some spare, nonbillable time to burn, keep these in mind.
Fun from across the pond: An admittedly fictional diary of a junior barrister at the English bar. (Although this blog started in 2006, when BabyB was in pupillage.) It was a sensation from the start, and the London Times picked it up within months of its launch. It’s part soap opera and part snark from an author who’s cheesed off with the legal profession.
Blonde Justice, who has been at this blogging game since 2004, reports that she is back in her “dream job” as a public defender after a depressing foray into private practice. Though she hides her name and location behind a wall of pink, she otherwise doesn’t hold back when she’s writing about her life and her work.
This blog, anonymously written by a Manhattan BigLaw associate, gives advice on etiquette and professional attire for “overachieving chicks” with more money than time. Readers can subscribe to e-mail alerts about new content on the blog or follow Corporette on Twitter.
This blog by Washington, D.C., personal injury lawyer John Mesirow focuses on criminal and tort law news, with categories like “doctor doctor,” “gross” and “just weird.” The blog’s investment in design and spot-on images kicks it up a notch, and posts are frequent enough for you to have juice every day.
Living the Dream
This combination blog/vlog has television producer and BigLaw refugee Rick Eid behind the scenes. Posts contain short episodes of the BigLaw-based series Living the Dream with Eid’s notes on each show’s real-life inspirations. The blog is a feature of the humor site Bitter Lawyer.
The Namby Pamby, Attorney-at-Law
This 20-something lawyer practicing personal injury law in Chicago logs in a few times a week to share laughs at the day-to-day of his job and his own interpersonal missteps. There are a lot—a lot—of lawyers out there who blog about their lives. We only wish they were as funny as this guy.
The Precedent Blog
This is the blog of Precedent, the Canadian magazine of “law and style.” Look here for weekly columns on fashion and wine, as well as roundups of legal news affecting our neighbors to the north.
Blog posts round up the day’s wild criminal justice stories and BigLaw drama. The potential client is not left out of this site’s vision, though: It also has links to legalese-free legal definitions and a state-by-state attorney directory.
Sweet Hot Justice
“The Legal Tease,” a female BigLaw associate in Manhattan, writes hilarious posts about how glamorous her professional and personal life are not, while “Sweet Hot Counsel” takes questions from those clawing their way to the top: “How can I get more work?” “How can I say no to more work?” “How do I handle a serial winker?”
*“That’s What She Said”
In 2006, Ford & Harrison started a blog with a simple but brilliant premise: For every episode of NBC’s The Office, a lawyer spots its potential litigation claims and estimates the possible value of those cases.
In "The Blawg 100," December, Bernard Hibbitts is incorrectly referred to as associate dean for communications and information technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is currently a professor of law and editor and publisher of Jurist.
The Journal regrets the error.