Blawg 100 Hall of Fame
Gavel to Gavel (2017)
This blog covers legislation in all 50 states affecting the courts. “Gavel to Gavel is the leading source of reliable news about under-the-radar developments in judicial administration throughout the country,” says Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy blog.
How Appealing (2012)
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.
At this blog, Law Library of Congress staffers write about the things that come up in their work at the world’s largest law library. “I love how this blog humanizes the legal side of government,” says Lisa Flowers, a public relations executive based in Springfield, Virginia. “Their staff interviews are always interesting. I also like how they highlight exhibits, summarizing key points that make me realize why I should go see the exhibit or share information about it.”
iPhone J.D. (2014)
“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
“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
Jotwell stands for Journal of Things We Like (Lots). It’s sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law, and its mission is to highlight the best legal scholarship from the vast sea of what’s available. “Jotwell is a great place to get reviews of new legally relevant works—articles or books by experts,” Tushnet says. “The reviews are critical in the sense of exploring and sometimes contesting the arguments, but the aim is to identify works that are worthy of more readers.”
The Jury Room (2015)
Trial consultants Douglas Keene and Rita Handrich find the research to alternately back up what you think you already know about human psychology (Is rudeness contagious? Yes.) and alert you to the unexpected (Are “beer goggles” real? No.) Posts are both fascinating reads and lessons on how not to base your cases on stereotypical assumptions.
National security issues have come to the fore in Donald Trump’s presidency, and Lawfare is the blog to turn to for a take on the full legal implications behind the latest shocking headlines. Beyond that, posts cover foreign policy, cybersecurity law and policy, and the legal questions and challenges arising from turmoil in the Middle East.
For any lover of language, Bryan A. Garner’s LawProse is an invaluable resource. From the eternal “lay” or “lie” conundrum to more arcane issues of textualism such as “last-antecedent canon vs. series-qualifier canon,” the archives of LawProse probably have an answer.
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 Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast on the blog and keeps his readers up on news about ethical implications for lawyers’ use of technology.
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.
Legal Profession Blog (2012)
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.
Lowering the Bar (2014)
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.
Marler Blog (2016)
Bill Marler has consistently earned a place on our Blawg 100 list, and it’s not just because the tales of food poisoning outbreaks recounted on his blog keep us up at night. We feel he has truly proven how blogs can help lawyers with niche practices become sought-after experts.
My Shingle (2012)
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.
Ms. JD (2014)
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.
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.
The Not-So Private Parts (2013, defunct)
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.
Ohio Employer’s Law Blog (2015)
Don’t think that Cleveland lawyer Jon Hyman limits his blog’s scope to Ohio. He follows and posts on the latest appellate jurisprudence, EEOC actions and labor-focused legislation from all over and at all stages. And Hyman’s posts are “entertaining as well as informative,” says Marriottsville, Maryland, lawyer James L. Mayer.
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.)