Posted Jan 02, 2014 02:55 pm CST
Updated: ABA Journal editors picked their favorite 100 law blogs of 2013 and then opened up the polls for some friendly competition. After some 4,000 readers weighed in, the winners and proud owners of bragging rights in each category are:
NEW If there’s a dog-eared manuscript to a legal thriller gathering dust in your back drawer, wipe that sucker off and turn to cold-case consultant Alice de Sturler’s blog. A mixture of interviews with true-crime authors and profiles of real cold cases, Defrosting Cold Cases is both fascinating and heartbreaking.
If you’re suing because your yoga pants are see-through, or because hoisting up the back end of a running snowmobile left you short one leg, chances are your case could end up analyzed by the bloggers at Abnormal Use. Strictly speaking, Abnormal Use is a product-liability blog, but the writers are also interested in technology issues like social media discovery. Be sure to stop in for their “Friday Links” column, a roundup of offbeat and quirky legal news blurbs.
Aimed not at clients but at family law practitioners, this blog is particularly useful for marketing and management advice. It’s written by Lee Rosen, who served as the law practice management editor of the ABA’s Family Advocate for more than a decade. Accordingly, his writing is quite clear and concise, and his LPM tips for family law firms are not to be missed.
Jean O’Grady—library director at DLA Piper, the highest-grossing law firm in the world at the moment—says that she’s “thought in Boolean” for decades now. In her blog, O’Grady ponders the future of knowledge management, covers the major players in legal publishing and sometimes writes about practice management issues facing leaders of large law firms.
NEW Pharaohs aside, the tangible remnants of most people’s lives are not desert pyramids, but legal documents. Genealogists use wills, contracts, census reports, court documents and even criminal records to build a picture of ancestors’ lives. Blogger and lecturer Judy G. Russell uses her law degree and genealogy training to help people decipher the meaning behind the legal documents they find, and to give tantalizing tips for further exploration.
HALL OF FAME George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley draws on his own experience in high-profile litigation as he analyzes breaking news items that raise legal questions. His posts, and those of his guests, show a particular interest in the First Amendment, rights of consumers, the rights of criminal defendants and the patently bizarre.
Eric Meyer, a partner at Dilworth Paxson in Philadelphia, “is candid yet informative,” human resources professional Lonniece Senior writes. “His humor and sarcasm help ease away some of the employment law pain he dissects for us. I never open this blog and not chuckle! I am so selfish I don’t want others to see the URL for fear they will catch on to where I get a good portion of my info!”
NEW “The site highlights interesting and alternative career paths for lawyers. The writing is approachable and the posts are always full of links to additional resources. As an adjunct law professor I routinely hear from students that they are not sure what to do after graduation and the bar exam. This blog is a great reference point for students and young lawyers who are struggling with career and lifestyle choices.” —Barbara Siegel, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
NEW A unique view from the bench has opened with the new blog Hercules and the Umpire, in which Richard Kopf, who has assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, shares his thoughts on life as a federal judge. Kopf’s posts are often unexpectedly poignant, such as an August post in which he admitted that his sentencing instincts were proven wrong by a former convict who redeemed himself.
NOTE: Unfortunately for his fans, Kopf announced on New Year’s Day that he would be retiring his blog. “Conspiracy buffs need not fret and anti-judge nuts need not cheer,” he said in his final post. “No one has given me the slightest trouble about expressing myself here. I am quitting voluntarily and without a nudge from anyone.”
New Orleans lawyer Jeff Richardson lines up to get his hands on the latest Apple products on the day they are released, shares his experiences in great detail (focusing on the lawyerly uses of these devices) and rounds up Apple coverage from all over the Web. So if you want the skinny on iOS 7, the iPhone 5S, and the recently released iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display, this is the blog to visit.
NEW Jessica Mederson and Josh Gilliland— lawyers and lovers of pop culture—are perhaps the nation’s foremost experts on the legal issues that can be studied from John Cusack movies. Don’t miss their irreverent video and audio podcasts, in which you can learn about everything from Renaissance fairs and comic-cons to torts and tortes. (You may remember Gilliland from past Blawg 100s as the author of Bow Tie Law’s Blog. The bow ties still make an appearance.)
“Karen Koehler gives voice to the realities of being a hard-driving trial attorney and a stretched-thin working mom. She writes with an off-the-cuff, candid style that is likable and revealing. Her post on the day after a crappy jury verdict went viral because so many attorneys, myself included, can relate.” —Morgan Smith, Cogent Legal Blog, and a lawyer in Oakland, Calif.
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
To browse the complete list of Blawg 100 honorees and learn which blogs have been elevated to our Blawg 100 Hall of Fame, click here.
Updated on Jan. 3 to add the winners in the Litigation and IP categories.