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One-Hit Wonders

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These blogs generated a lot of buzz in 2008, but they didn’t make it into the Blawg 100. And for whatever reasons, their moment seems to have passed.

Patent Troll Tracker
Richard Frenkel, then-director of intellectual property at Cisco Systems Inc., started this blog anonymously in May 2007. But by December, Chicago lawyer Raymond Niro, an alleged “patent troll” often singled out on the blog, offered a $5,000 reward for the identity of “troll tracker.” By February, Niro had raised the bounty to $15,000 when Frenkel outed himself. Within days, the blog was taken down; And within weeks, two Texas lawyers filed suit against Frenkel and Cisco over some of his posts.

This Slate blog, launched in March, was grand in scale and co-authored by more than 20 bloggers of varying ideologies, including Yale University’s Jack Balkin, the University of Chicago’s Eric Posner and Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick. Convictions did not commit to any particular focus, although constitutional law and the Bush administration were frequent topics. The posts came fast and furious, and the bloggers often responded to each other’s posts (though readers had no means to post comments). But the experiment ended abruptly after four months with an intention to call on the blog’s roster for “conversations” when the news demanded. Just one post on Proposition 8 has appeared since then.

because you never know …
On April 30, Paul Hastings associate Shinyung Oh was dismissed—six days after she had a miscarriage—and was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for three months’ severance. Angered at what she considered a layoff in disguise, she refused to sign. Instead she e-mailed her side of the story to every Paul Hastings associate. The message was on the gossipy Above the Law within hours. By week’s end, she’d given the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog an interview. A month later, Oh started her blog, moving from her professional plight into intensely personal entries about her day-to-day life and childhood memories. And now? According to her blog, she heard from one literary agent in July and has done some contract legal work.

Heller Highwater
In mid-September, before Heller Ehrman’s spectacular demise, “Heller Drone” emerged. The anonymous blogger at first fixed on troubles with the firm, right after the Heller/Mayer Brown merger talks fell through and 14 intellectual property partners announced their plans to leave. Heller Drone felt that the sinking ship that the firm’s support staff members were on needed a cruise director. Posts provide job leads and unemployment resources as well as the questions raised and straight answers received about how Heller plans to provide for its staff during the “orderly wind-down.” On Nov. 17, Heller Drone outed himself as Thomas MacEntee, a Chicago-based legal tech consultant and former application analyst and automation systems trainer at Heller. His reveal coincided with his launch of Thelen the Pain, which is aimed at supporting that firm’s staffers through its dissolution.

Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity
“Jack” who identified himself as a 30-something in Washington, D.C., announced on this blog in June that he intended to give up his $300,000-a-year legal job and transition toward a simpler life. He caught the legal blogosphere’s eye when he burned his Harvard diploma, filmed it and put it up on YouTube. He gave us an interview and received both kudos and ridicule from ABAJournal.com readers. But by mid-November, the YouTube video that started the fire was removed from public view. His blog also was closed to the public for two weeks, and we thought it was the end, but posting resumed Nov. 30. We shall see if the adventures continue.

See related story: The Blawg 100.

Updated at 2:08 p.m. on Dec. 3 to indicate that readers can access Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity.

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