Illustration by Monica Burciaga and Stephen Webster
For this year’s annual Blawg 100 feature—our ninth—we’re going beyond announcing our list of 100 excellent legal blogs and the promotion of 10 more blogs to our Hall of Fame. We explore how the legal blogosphere has changed since we first started publishing this list. Do legal blogs have a waning or a thriving readership? And how has the emergence of new bloggers from BigLaw and elsewhere and other social media platforms in recent years changed blogging for the better—or worse?
As in years past, we looked to readers and bloggers to help us compile our list. But this year, no blogs are being forced into categories, and there will be no online voting. Read below to find out more about the blogs on our list, and click here to find our Blawg 100 Twitter list, which includes both the handles of our Hall of Famers and this year’s nominees.
HALL OF FAME: Clear writing in a contract can avert disaster, and Ken Adams’ blog exists to keep legal writers from steering into icebergs. Many posts focus on a single, common turn of phrase—such as “in furtherance of the foregoing”—in contracts and why the phrase should never be used. Adams also pays close attention to other writing experts in the legal blogosphere and notes where he disagrees with their assessments.
HALL OF FAME: Brief and exceedingly timely posts by law professor Rick Hasen of the University of California at Irvine provide exhaustive coverage of the election law issues of the day. This is a good one to bookmark as an election year approaches.
HALL OF FAME: This South Texas College of Law professor has captured our attention with his U.S. Supreme Court-predicting algorithm, his Harlan Institute focused on education and his FantasySCOTUS league; and he has kept it with his more than 9,000 posts on the Supreme Court and constitutional law.
HALL OF FAME: 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.
HALL OF FAME: 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.
HALL OF FAME: Ken White and his flock are fighting a holy war for free speech. His creed: You don’t have the right not to be offended. The writing is clear, funny and instructive: Check out his semi-regular “lawsplainer” posts that offer his lawyerly take on the constitutional issues of the day.
HALL OF FAME: Digital forensics and information security expert Sharon Nelson “gives lawyers the knowledge to protect both client and firm private data,” writes Jennifer Meisberger, practice management adviser for the Tigard, Oregon-based Professional Liability Fund. Regular posts focus on electronic evidence issues, cybersecurity trends and disastrous data breaches in the news.
HALL OF FAME: Susan Cartier Liebel and her rock-solid roster of contributors give comprehensive advice and frank opinions for those who are or want to be solo practitioners. Posts address both a reader’s practical questions and conflicted emotions.
HALL OF FAME: When celebrities sue, THR, Esq. is on it. But this Hollywood Reporter blog does so much more than offer knowedgable coverage of A-listers’ fights over money, defamation or intellectual property. It anticipates legal issues that may arise as technology ushers in new ways for media to be consumed and funded.
HALL OF FAME: A loyal audience devours this blog seven days a week—and some readers have reported that trusted Texas Tech law professor Gerry W. Beyer will respond to them when they reach out. Beyer stays on top of new regulations in Texas ad nationwide as well as news and insights from both mainstream media and scholarly journals that affect those with estate planning and elder law practices.