With six Blawg 100 notches on our belt, we have developed a bit of a sixth sense when it comes to knowing what it takes to have a successful blog.
We know that bloggers who are passionate about their chosen subjects are more likely to have lively, engaging blogs we enjoy going back to day after day, year after year.
Success is relative, of course. Some law bloggers measure success by the business they develop. Others by the networks they're creating. And still others get satisfaction from how blogging gives them a voice, a creative outlet.
This list includes blogs that can measure success in a number of different ways. And for the first time, we're tipping our hats to the cream of the law-blogging crop. We'd like to introduce our inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame, featuring law blogs we can't imagine not making our favorites list each year.
Click here to peruse the law blogs in alphabetical order. Popular voting ends on Dec. 21. Scroll down and click a category title to see the popular vote totals for each blog by category.
We also invite you to browse our Blawg Directory, now featuring some 3,600 law blogs in dozens of categories and author types. Most bloggers are on Twitter these days, so follow this year's picks on our Twitter List.
Voting is closed for 2012. Thanks for participating.
This blog is a product of the Program in Law and Journalism at New York Law School, and reports on the state of legal journalism. "It's entertaining and gives quick takes on how the news media get the legal stories wrong. Always interesting, always remarkable. Especially because it's done by students." —Fred Stone, Millennium Partners, New York City
In a Supreme Ambitions post this fall, David Lat summed up the blog he founded in this way: “Above the Law ... covers the legal profession at large, in a sweeping, high/low mix—from the heights of the U.S. Supreme Court to the depths of disgraced and depraved attorneys.” That pretty much nails it. We’ll also note that ATL has added directories of law schools, law firms and recruiters this year, as well as a few new columnists.
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.
The layout, lineup of writers and libertarian leanings have stayed the same, as well as the blog’s focus on constitutional law issues in the news (although there is a little more about legal education in the past year). Which is to say, it’s still a great blog, and there’s no other one with contributors so engaged with each other that they’ll spontaneously post dueling updates on a topic within the same day—or maybe within the same hour.
Sometimes inspiring, sometimes infuriating and always irreverent, Popehat is one of the most stalwart blogs out there. A tireless champion of freedom of speech and civil liberties, this group blog delights in tweaking the noses of those it considers copyright trolls. Though its authors have always argued that Popehat is not strictly a law blog, so much of its content centers around legal matters that it easily meets our criteria.
Late last year, Marc Randazza and his Las Vegas-based law group took on so-called copyright troll Righthaven and won. And Randazza continues to blog on First Amendment, copyright and fair use cases, never mincing words if he thinks the basis of a party’s accusation or defense is ridiculous.
This year, many of our cherished American Lawyer Media blogs (The Careerist, The Blog of Legal Times, The Am Law Daily) went behind paywalls. But late in 2013, the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog came out from behind its paywall, and we wanted to make sure you knew. Its multiple updates every weekday hit most of the highlights of the day's legal news, and we consider it essential reading.
This blog is indispensable to us for its exhaustive District of Columbia coverage: from happenings at the U.S. Supreme Court (and news about individual justices) to rulings from the District of Columbia Circuit to BigLaw churn in the Beltway.
The long-form commentary from Justia's Verdict blog is much meatier than most legal blogs' offerings. Verdict provides a full meal, rather than a quick bite. If you want to delve deep into a legal issue, check out these thoughtful pieces written by the rotating contributors.
You can now read 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner's Reflections on Judging in hardcover. But you can read his takes on almost anything else—from law school reform to population growth to patent trolls—at this blog. And, of course, Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago economist Gary Becker logs in his own thoughts on the same subjects.
With a team of reporters on tap and supported by a network of legal publications, Am Law Daily covers the happenings at the country’s largest law firms, from firm finances and business models to the latest lateral moves and partner defections.
Seasoned litigator Karen Koehler's blog combines tips gleaned from her career as a trial attorney and glimpses from her daily interactions—all written like trial transcripts. We especially appreciate her legal writing advice, focusing on precision and the elision of unnecessary verbiage.
Tagline: "Represent." Written by Jordan Rushie and Leo Mulvihill, attorneys in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, this witty blog gives a glimpse into the daily lives of some SmallLaw practioners. Notable events in their practice's past year include Rushie's participation in Malibu Media v. Does, which offers lessons learned in what he says is the first BitTorrent case to reach a verdict.
There's plenty of advice out there for trial attorneys, but what makes the Persuasive Litigator stand out is its use of data and statistical studies on jury behavior. Ken Broda-Bahm writes in a concise and readable style, and his posts are interesting not only for litigators, but also for anyone with an interest in jury psychology.
The bloggers of Keene Trial Consulting offer an interesting overview of many psychological and sociological elements to consider when crafting an argument to appeal to specific juror demographics. We especially appreciate how they explicitly tailor their advice to address the concerns of both plaintiffs attorneys and defense attorneys.
We never like deciding how to slip this blog into a category, but do—for the third year now—like to include it. Philadelphia plaintiffs lawyer Maxwell Kennerly's insights into work as a civil litigator range from very big-picture to calling out tort defendants and their BigLaw representation (and media outlets that don't question them) on their ethically questionable practices. "Deposition misconduct and discovery obstructionism are subjects I'm keenly interested in," he writes.
“I discovered Seth Leventhal’s blog by accident, looking up an interesting case in Minnesota. Turns out Minnesota has interesting cases all the time, and Seth writes them up with verve and with an eye toward broader relevance. Worth reading for any litigator.” —Max Kennerly from the blog Litigation & Trial
Acerbic Army veteran and military criminal defense attorney Eric Mayer of Overland Park, Kan., doesn’t mince words. Though not every post is law-related, those that are give an entertaining little window into military law practice. Just don’t call him passionate about the job he enjoys: “My experience tells me that passion usually results in one of two things: poor legal reasoning or unintended pregnancies.”
Los Angeles trial attorney Alex Craigie doesn't just tell his readers about how to wow a jury. He does a couple of posts a week covering all aspects and avenues of litigation: mediation, arbitration, depositions, settlement negotiations and legal writing.
Though titularly aimed at family law practitioners, Lee Rosen's Divorce Discourse is a law practice management and marketing blog with ideas that are broadly applicable across many practice areas. Using his personal experience in running the four North Carolina offices of his Rosen Law Firm, he spins out larger lessons for attorneys looking to better manage their small and midsize shops.
HALL OF FAME If you like your law-practice-management advice tinged with humor and real talk, Lawyerist may be the blog for you. Though its format has changed a good deal since we first added it to the Blawg 100 in 2009, it's maintained its place on our list through its thoughtful-yet-humorous takes on a wide range of LPM topics, from marketing to technology to rainmaking.
Solos and small-firm practitioners—many of whom are established bloggers—write from personal experience at this group blog where posts are loosely centered on a monthly theme. The lawyers share specific problems they've encountered (and how they solved them) as well as pet peeves, favorite books and tech tips. Some themes from this year have delved into inspiring books, "outsourcing the small stuff" and the grating pop jargon of law practice management.
After 10 years of blogging, D.C. lawyer Carolyn Elefant is still a voice for solos in a profession that she feels—as far as costs and ethical obligations—favors too much those practicing at large firms. Elefant isn’t really one to blog on innovative law practice management solutions she reads about elsewhere; it’s usually her own ideas and opinions she shares with readers day after day.
We love the listy posts by the deep bench of contributors for Attorney at Work, the blog with the mission of sharing "one really good idea every day" about technology, law practice management, career development, ethics—you name it. One fun occasional column we noticed this year is the Curmudgeon's Perspective. Blogger "Otto Sorts" contributes "when he gets really cranky about something." Also, with a free site registration, extra downloads are available, and readers are able to buy a number of law practice books directly from the site.
HALL OF FAME Law firm consultant Bruce MacEwen's "synthesis of economics and the law is especially interesting in the work I do and because both topics, separately and combined, make for great reading post-2008. Moreover, MacEwen is a careful writer, and his articles reflect that." —Mark Reber, senior marketing manager at Bullivant Houser Bailey in Portland, Oregon
The 21st century has been tough on traditional legal business models, and it's widely felt that law firms need to innovate or die. But what, exactly, do these lawyers have to do? And why aren't they doing it? Canadian management consultant Jordan Furlong tackles these questions at his blog and in a new e-book: Evolutionary Road: A Strategic Guide to Your Law Firm's Future. Some interesting posts from this year look at how law firms' values and culture contribute to their woes.
At this blog, law professors take the temperature of the state of American law schools and write, not without criticism, from their insiders' perspective. They crunch the numbers on application rates and law schools' financials, link to relevant scholarship and weigh in on it, and take note of certificate programs and panel discussions for new lawyers who want to stay on the cutting edge.
Legal services delivery entrepreneur Richard Granat was one of our first Legal Rebels three years back. But Granat’s vision of the future of the legal profession—full of legal document providers and other startups—is emerging this year like never before, what with the LegalZoom IPO, Total Attorneys receiving a $15 million capital infusion, and Consumer Reports taking on Legal DIY websites. For Granat, who works out of his house in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., his niche’s time has come.
Death and taxes are certainties for which we may plan. But quite a few of life's uncertainties can be faced with equanimity as well, if we just make some prudent preparations, Texas Tech law professor Gerry W. Beyer tells us. His blog provides useful advice on doing so, along with book and article summaries and thoughtful news analysis. Entries are concise and accessible, even to those who are unversed in estate law topics.
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?
"It keeps me very well-informed with respect to the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]'s regulations, enforcement actions, plans and other insight. It is a key element of our compliance management process because we are so remote from Washington. This blog serves as our 'ear on the ground' to know what's coming next." —Germán Salazar, general counsel at AmeriFirst Financial in Scottsdale, Arizona
“Incredibly helpful when dealing with noncitizen clients charged with criminal offenses. I can get a general idea of immigration consequences and can better deal with my clients and perhaps negotiate a favorable resolution with the prosecution by knowing information in this blawg.” —Stuart Smith of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
HALL OF FAME Paul Caron, a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, covers tax reform in the news and scholarship related to U.S. tax law, and he notes celebrity tax disasters. But we like TaxProf at least as much for Caron's exhaustive coverage of news and debates covering legal education. He became the sole owner of the Law Professor Blogs Network and a makeover of that group of blogs soon followed.
This blog from Weil, Gotshal & Manges is always interesting, informative, up to date and sometimes even wacky—such as when they provide ‘bankruptcy beach reading’ during the summer, ‘tournaments’ to select the most significant cases of the past years, and ‘Throwback Thursdays’ when they review past important cases that are still important today.” —Mark Plevin of Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco
"The most comprehensive coverage of issues related to election law, including campaign finance and disclosure laws and litigation; voting rights; tax laws governing nonprofit electoral activity; and election administration. Indispensable, with top-flight contributors and readers. Don't miss the associated Listserv, where the smartest academics and practitioners in the country duke it out on these issues." —John Pomeranz of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg in Washington, D.C.
Liz Kramer, a Minneapolis lawyer, tracks how well arbitration agreements are passing scrutiny in appellate court decisions nationwide—paying special attention to rulings that define the limits of arbitrators' power and giving frank opinions on this jurisprudence. And she's not above using her posts to answer her loyal readers' burning questions about rules hidden inside the Federal Arbitration Act.
Chad Mitchell of the Summit Law Group in Seattle wrote "unbelievable coverage!" about Letters Blogatory, which covers international judicial assistance in civil and commercial cases. Boston litigator Ted Folkman "doesn't report just from the courthouse; he traveled to Ecuador to cover one of the biggest international environmental cases in history," i.e., the Chevron/Lago Agrio litigation. "His blog is on the peak of whatever divide remains between lawyer and journalist."
HALL OF FAME This is a highly specific niche blog that nonetheless deserves its spot in the top 100 because of how utterly indispensable it is for its demographic. If you practice law in or around China or if you do any business with Chinese companies, you probably already have this bookmarked. Heck, if you're even visiting China, give it a read because the bloggers provide excellent practical advice on not getting kidnapped. (We admit being fascinated by the anti-kidnapping advice.)
The posts here often have us wondering, “What were they thinking?” If a lawyer strays from ethical boundaries, the professors who blog here are quick to pick up on the trail of any discipline with to-the-point, snark-free dispatches.
Affiliated with the Brookings Institution, Lawfare is devoted both to "the use of law as a weapon of conflict" and the internal national debate over what methods of defense are appropriate for the U.S. to use against others. Enjoy—is enjoy the right word?—Lawfare's steadily more gloomy series on NSA surveillance revelations. Also of interest: the job board and the irregularly scheduled Lawfare podcast.
Posts from this blog "come up every time I Google a real estate issue I am working on," writes Alliance for Affordable Housing staff attorney Adam Sherwin. "The blog often reports important Massachusetts cases before anyone else." Realtors are readers, too. Broker Gayle Sabol writes that she prides herself "on staying current with real estate laws and trends" and says blog author Richard Vetstein "is my secret edge."
“It’s so thorough in its coverage of California attorney’s fees jurisprudence. It reviews published and unpublished cases, giving me a sense of how judges actually decide cases, not just how the law reads. And so many, many cautionary tales.” —Benjamin Ramm of Wright & McGurk in Irvine, Calif.
HALL OF FAME Lowering the Bar's Kevin Underhill has been making us laugh—and earning a slot in the Blawg 100—since 2010 with his legal musings. Also, check out a book Underhill published this year that stemmed from some of his writing on the blog: The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance: and Other Real Laws that Human Beings Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Have Sometimes Enforced.
Using the world of superheroes to explore legal theory is this blog's raison d'être. Although the concept may seem gimmicky, the analysis is absorbing. If presented with sentient aliens, clones and mutants, how would our justice system apply its current laws? Authors James Daily and Ryan Davidson look at comic book, movie and TV show scenarios and then play out the potential real-world legal consequences.
The Blawg 100 would be incomplete without this syllabic-conscious offering.
Any obscure case
Can be summed up by this guy.
Pithy, clever, great.
Lead actor Christopher Meloni may have left the show, but don’t think that Allison Leotta is giving up on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Relying on her background as a Washington, D.C., sex crimes prosecutor, Leotta analyzes each episode for its adherence to real legal procedures. The blog was previously called the Prime-Time Crime Review, but changed its name this year. Leotta is the author of two legal thrillers, Law of Attraction and Discretion, and also blogs about tips for other crime writers.
We were delighted, and maybe a little afraid, when we learned Josh Warren met his grassroots fundraising goal to publish a casebook based solely on zombie law. Warren’s found so many instances of judges and litigators citing the living dead in opinions that he’s convinced there’s enough fodder for a full-blown casebook. Skeptical? Just check out the references to the undead that he’s chronicling on his blog, which delves into all things zombie culture-related.
The Namby Pamby, a civil litigator in Chicago, still suffers fools gladly and updates us on “facepalm moments” prompted by his clients, his colleagues and his own lapses. We’re still laughing, and we’re interested in his evolving perspective: Namby has been blogging since his law student days, but his blog (not sure about the new layout, BTW) notes he’s soon to be married, and he must be 30 by now.
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
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.
Lawyers from Chicago's McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff keep track of patent rulings by the Federal Circuit and foreign jurisdictions, file a weekly report on new biotech and pharma cases that have been filed, note upcoming conferences and CLEs, and follow the progress of the Federal Trade Commission's "crusade against the pharmaceutical industry." Any editorializing is kept to a minimum.
By sheer demonstration of both a fervor for the intricacies of intellectual property and a deep interest in false advertising law, this blog offers thorough discussions of how the Internet age affects both these topics, as well as analysis of recent related cases. As might be expected from the legal work Tushnet has done for the nonprofit Organization of Transformative Works, she also has interesting commentary on fan-created artwork and fan fiction.
If you like your celebrity news with a legal twist, the Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq., is for you. Intellectual property battles, contract disputes, divorce cases—if it happens in the entertainment industry, these bloggers are on it. These are not just puff pieces; the blog offers some very decent legal analysis, raising itself above the pack of your average celebrity news blogs.
“Its daily posts on legal employment, law school costs and legal academics are consistently forceful, fresh and sharply written,” wrote the Volokh Conspiracy’s Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. “Unsurprisingly, the blog has had a major influence on perceptions of law schools among the entering student body of 1Ls. You can agree or disagree with its message, of course. But it’s an excellent blog,” Kerr says. Since last year, Ohio State law prof Deborah Jones Merritt has joined the University of Colorado’s Paul Campos as a contributor, and Campos has also written an e-book: Don’t Go to Law School (Unless).
This blog, for aspiring law students, current law students and newbie lawyers, is less about finding inspiration and more about finding answers to specific questions. Expert guest posters (FYI, not all of them women) are brought in to take on specific topics—such as preparing for the LSAT, writing a law review note or applying for a clerkship. But this blog isn't only useful for those breaking into law. Those trying to break out of the profession will also find acceptance and words of wisdom.
HALL OF FAME American Lawyer reporter Vivia Chen writes graceful prose without dancing around the issues near and dear to her readers, who want to succeed in law on their own terms. Some choice questions from her posts this year: Should men be gagged, tied up and forced to take paternity leave? Do you ever feel like wringing the necks of underlings who seem incapable of following your directives? Keep telling us how you really feel, Vivia, and we'll keep reading.
While this blog's most popular posts help female readers steer clear of the fashion police, former Wall Street lawyer Kat Griffin also takes questions from young lawyers and others about how to avoid career pitfalls. Posts written with empathy cover business etiquette, troubles with co-workers, interviewing, networking and more.
HALL OF FAME Ms. JD's blog is one way its namesake organization builds community among new or aspiring female lawyers. Some posts are written by Ms. JD's "writers in residence," who each commit to blogging on a particular topic—legal research or mentoring, for instance—every month for a year. Other posters, some anonymous, write about their experiences in the legal profession and offer advice or moral support.
HALL OF FAME How technology and social media affect modern employers and employment law has been a particular focus of Molly DiBianca, although she ably covers other topics as well. The blog is full of thoughtful and well-reasoned advice to employers and their attorneys; while the laws cited may be specific to Delaware, the broader principles are applicable across the country.
While plenty of employment-law blogs are available to advise business owners, pickings are much more slim for employees. Fortunately, the blog Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home is available to anyone facing an issue with an employer. Offering plainspoken wisdom about just what an employee's rights may be, Donna Ballman's blog can help workers learn how to avoid being fired—or how to safely quit their jobs.
"I work on consulting teams that help large clients with their FMLA and disability administration," writes Liz Miller, a health and benefits analyst at Mercer in Washington, D.C. She says Chicago lawyer Jeff Nowak's "consistent updates not only make me look smart on the job; they are also entertaining and fascinating. Reading his posts feels like a form of procrastination because of the instant gratification factor, but they actually help me in my career. If that's not a win-win, I don't know what is."
“Phil Miles has a very entertaining employment law blog, where you can get answers to such burning questions as: Why are lawyers so smart and ridiculously good-looking? And whether calling an employee a jackass is worse than calling him a moron. Even though his posts are frequently funny or odd (in a good way), he also has excellent ‘mainstream’ information as well.” —Robin Shea, author of Employment & Labor Insider and a partner at Constangy, Brooks & Smith in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Cleveland lawyer Jon Hyman "always provides good advice and discusses relevant issues. And despite being a management-side attorney, he is an advocate for workers' rights as well." —Casey Sipe, Scaringi & Scaringi in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
HALL OF FAME Why are we featuring an employment law blog for Connecticut and not a state with a higher population? Because Hartford-based blogger (and '09 Legal Rebel) Daniel Schwartz consistently impresses us with concise and incisive analysis of the latest cases and issues to arise in employment law, although occasionally venturing into more lighthearted territory. ("Ten of the Best Workplace Songs for Labor Day," for example.)
Jamison Koehler writes that he decided to live in Baltimore "not despite The Wire but because of it." As a criminal defense attorney and former public defender, he uses his blog to argue against the sort of corruption and injustice seen in that TV show, and to advocate for the rights of criminal defendants.
Manhattan criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield has his finger on the pulse of the blawgosphere. His early morning posts offer biting commentary, often uncovering by breakfast what we’ll be talking about for the rest of the day. Although he announced his retirement in February, by March he was back in business. “Truth be told, I was bored,” he wrote.
D.C. lawyer Matt Kaiser's blog is devoted to covering criminal defense wins in federal appellate courts. "The posts are well-written and amusing, and it's always useful for future briefs for examples of defense wins," writes Sarah Howard, a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd in Grand Rapids, Mich. The blog "makes for easy circuit-to-circuit comparisons as well," writes Winter Park, Fla., appellate lawyer Michael Brownlee.
“Mark Pryor of D.A. Confidential is like the Jerry Seinfeld or Jay Leno of the criminal law blogosphere: He can be funny, original, interesting and entertaining without using obscenity or going for the jugular,” wrote Koehler Law blogger Jamison Koehler. “And, as a former journalist, he knows how to write. It is also helpful to get the perspective of a prosecutor, even if his position constrains him a bit in what he is able to write about.” Pryor is also a novelist: His mystery, The Bookseller, just came out.
HALL OF FAME Houston criminal defense attorney Mark Bennett has been at the legal blogging game for more than 10 years. In his posts, he sides against creating new laws and policies that might protect some but chip away at the First Amendment for all; calls out questionable ethical moves by fellow lawyers and judges in Texas; and shares random tidbits about little things he does to boost his advocacy—like taking improv classes and filing pleadings on quality paper stock.
Describing herself as part public defender and part sports fanatic, “Sarah” opines on instances of injustice and unfairness, and examines constitutional and evidence issues in criminal cases. Some of her blog features are woefully out of date, but her commentary on events of the day is consistent, witty and thought-provoking.
The writers of Crime & Consequences are unapologetic advocates for prosecutors and victims and provide an important perspective on the criminal justice system. The blog, sponsored by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, contains blurbs about sentencing news, discussions about the death penalty (they're in favor of it), and information on how court decisions regarding defendants' rights will affect prosecutors and law enforcement.
HALL OF FAME Warning labels on products generally result from someone, somewhere trying something boneheaded, whether it be the consumer or the company itself. At Abnormal Use, breathtaking examples of the tort cases that result from such failures of judgment are cataloged and analyzed. If you're a comic book fan, you'll also enjoy the classic covers used to illustrate the Friday Links posts.
"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.
HALL OF FAME Whether or not you're sympathetic to tort reform and the idea that the government overregulates, Overlawyered is a little hair-raising and eye-opening. Its stated mission is to bring to light abuses of the legal system that raise costs and inhibit justice. Acquired this year by the Cato Institute, the blog is the project of Walter Olson, a senior Cato fellow. Having celebrated its 15th anniversary in July, Overlawyered says it may be the oldest legal blog: "At least, no one seems to be able to name one that's older." (Editor's note: After this issue went to press, Robert Ambrogi's Lawsites reported that Olson was not the first blogger: It was Greg Siskind.)
Eric Turkewitz’s blog remains a great source for news and commentary from a plaintiffs-side tort lawyer. He may not be blogging as often as in years past, but when he does, it’s worth reading. Despite the name, it’s not all personal injury law; he talks about topics as diverse as politics, long-distance running, legal outsourcing and online extortion.
Daniel E. Cummins, a frequent contributor to Pennsylvania Law Weekly, is an insurance defense attorney in Scranton, Pa. Tort Talk provides in-depth analysis of recent Pennsylvania tort cases and notes CLE events and national tort reform efforts.
Launched way back in the blogging pioneer days of 2003 by paralegal Pamela Jones, Groklaw has consistently covered the interaction of law and developing technologies, making the site a resource for those looking for sound information on litigation, news and analysis about free and open-source software. The blog is now partly overseen by New York Law School’s Mark Webbink, though Jones remains at the helm.
HALL OF FAME "Man is only as good as the tool he uses. Mobile computing has fundamentally changed the way lawyers practice law. Jeff Richardson writes about those tools and tells us how they can be used to make us better lawyers. His reviews of apps and accessories explain critical features and limitations in the context of how a lawyer would use those professionally and in personal life beyond work." —Ron Schultz, senior counsel at ConocoPhillips in Houston
No time to evaluate all the latest platforms geared toward practitioners? No worries. Bob Ambrogi has it covered at LawSites, where he test-drives the latest releases—from new law- and law practice-related apps to new e-tools for legal research, billing and document management. Reviews cover ease of use, usefulness, functionality and cost. But his blog isn’t only about technology. Ambrogi of Rockport, Mass., cross-posted his popular Lawyer2Lawyer podcast on the blog and keeps his readers up on news about ethical implications for lawyers’ use of technology. (Editors' note: The Oct. 31 Lawyer2Lawyer podcast was the final one.)
"My first smartphone was an Android device, but then I got caught up in the hype and hoopla of Apple's iPhone and iPad. I switched and jumped quickly on board. I switched back to Android a year and a half ago and could not be happier. This blog is the pre-eminent Android legal blog. I anxiously await the weekly news roundup and utilize many of the apps and techniques provided. This is the go-to place for my tech questions." —Stephen D. Sciple from the Sciple Firm in Mobile, Alabama
HALL OF FAME With this year's revelations about NSA surveillance, Kashmir Hill's privacy blog on Forbes.com should find itself with even more readers. While many posts are labeled "Headline Grab" and are more akin to tweets, Hill also composes substantive posts about topics such as how long-forgotten Facebook posts might come back to haunt you and why your baby monitor's webcam should be password-protected.
HALL OF FAME LexBlog founder Kevin O'Keefe of Seattle blogs for a tech-savvy lawyer audience about how to make the most of their legal blogs and presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But don't misunderstand—blogging isn't all about marketing to O'Keefe. "Search results may not be the be-all and end-all for good law blogs," he writes. He thinks it's great how blogs have democratized publishing for lawyers who can now avoid gatekeepers for law reviews and trade industry publications.
With increased law firm reports of cyber-security breaches, it's clear to us that not enough people have been reading Sharon D. Nelson's blog. An expert in digital forensics and information security, Nelson has plenty to say about how to keep your firm safe and your client info encrypted.
One could be forgiven for assuming that this blog, founded by Eric Goldman, is a collection of law practice management tips. Instead, it's an intelligent discussion of broadly ranging areas of the law, including privacy, e-commerce, Internet security, intellectual property and advertising.
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.
This National Center for State Courts blog covers new legislation affecting the courts in all 50 states. It also has a helpful database that allows a reader to search bills affecting courts by state, type or year. Posts also identify legislative trends among the states. The blog strives for thoroughness and excellence: If you see a bill that you think Gavel to Gavel should cover, blog editor Bill Raftery encourages you to let him know.
When federal appellate courts disagree, Houston associate Nicholas Wagoner is first on the scene at Circuit Splits, where he posts about cases ripe for review. Besides highlighting differences of opinion, Wagoner analyzes the decisions, notes when review from the highest court is likely, and then how and why the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decides.
As Nicholas Wagoner from Circuit Splits points out, Howard Bashman not only continues to churn out links on this appellate news-watch blog but also points readers to high-quality reporting on the subject. Bashman, practicing out of Willow Grove, Pa., also sends readers directly to federal and state court opinions so they can brush up on the latest appellate news from original sources.
For better or for worse, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tends to find itself confronting some of the nation's most divisive legal issues. We appreciate legal journalist Pamela MacLean's blog for her exhaustive coverage of the trials and court opinions emerging from the 9th Circuit, as well as the federal courts in Northern California.
Allen Matkins partner Keith Paul Bishop in Irvine, Calif., posts every weekday about the latest in corporate and securities law for California and Nevada. “A real joy to read as compared to other dull and dry academic presentations in this practice area!” —Alan Parness of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in Manhattan
“Professor Bainbridge is often cited by the Delaware courts in their opinions due to their recognition of his expertise in corporate law. In addition to citations to his books and articles, the court also has cited to his blog posts. [UCLA prof Stephen Bainbridge’s] blog is required reading for those who want the most current insights on corporate law developments from one of the foremost corporate law scholars in the country. His perceptive posts on culture and current events are also enjoyable.” —Francis Pileggi, Delaware Corporate & Commercial Litigation Blog
Because of its perceived friendliness to corporations, the Delaware Court of Chancery is where much corporate litigation goes down, and Wilmington-based attorney Francis Pileggi is a dedicated reporter of its findings. His excellent case summaries and explanations of Delaware law make this one to follow.
Greg Myers, who works for risk management broker Beecher Carlson in New York City, says he checks the D&O Diary "every day for relevant news in the executive liability insurance world." Beachwood, Ohio, lawyer Kevin LaCroix's blog notes critical court rulings and litigation highlighting issues that could lead to directors and officers insurance liability exposures.
Boston College Law School prof Brian JM Quinn covers legislation, litigation and scholarship related to mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. He also chronicles the legal foibles of the “idiots” who engage in insider trading, as well as noting CLEs and seminars covering M&A basics or transactional lawyering skills.
These professors of legal writing and lawyering skills don't post legal writing facts and tips, but rather point readers to other published articles, scholarship and blog posts relevant to legal writing. They also note contests, webinars, conferences and job openings for legal writing professors.
HALL OF FAME While some of our other "geeky" blogs focus on analyzing pop culture in terms of the law, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog devotes itself to actual technology and how it affects one's law practice. Visit it for tips on information management, discussions of new legal tech and analysis about the future of legal services.
Legal research services—Bloomberg BNA, LexisNexis, Westlaw—are a big part of law firm library director Jean O'Grady's blog beat. But O'Grady also takes close looks at new legal research platforms such as Ravel, interviews legal publishing leaders, and explores the evolving role of law librarians as the profession absorbs new technology and law firms rethink how they serve clients.
Lovers of legal language are surely already aware of Black's Law Dictionary editor Bryan Garner's blog. His "Usage Tip of the Day" posts will make sure you never confuse "yoke" with "yolk" or wreak havoc by writing "wreck havoc." If you find yourself in a grammatical quandary, search the LawProse archive; your dilemma has probably already been addressed.
We're a big fan of Ken Adams' blog. It provides clear and approachable discussions of a topic that was not a favorite for many law school students. An enemy of "pomposity in drafting," Adams provides tips for streamlining contracts and providing clarity for all parties involved.
“Mark Anderson, the blogger behind IP Draughts, is a leading English IP lawyer and a prolific author of books on contract drafting, so he knows his stuff. His blog posts are always interesting and insightful, and he leavens them with gently offbeat and self-deprecating humor.” —Ken Adams, the Garden City, N.Y., lawyer behind the Koncise Drafter blog