Around the Blawgosphere: Lawyerist Bringing Bitter Lawyer Back from the Dead

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Lawyerist announced yesterday that it has acquired Bitter Lawyer, a humor law blog started by TV writer and producer Rick Eid that stopped updating in September 2010. Bitter Lawyer won the Webby for best law website last year and was in the ABA Journal Blawg 100 in 2008 and 2009. Lawyerist said the blawg would relaunch “soon” and solicited story suggestions.

Anonymous law blogger and onetime Bitter Lawyer contributor BL1Y noted at Constitutional Daily that the site started to peter out after editor Mark Thudium left. But he hopes “the new owners will have better luck and restore what used to be a really great way to waste time at the office.”

Setting the Record Straight

George Mason University law professor and Volokh Conspiracy blogger Ilya Somin says he was misquoted by U.S. Supreme Court writer Joan Biskupic in Thursday’s USA Today.

Somin writes that he didn’t say at a February forum sponsored by the American Constitution Society that he thought a majority of the justices would reject the Obama administration-backed health care law. In the speech Biskupic was quoting, “I actually said that the case could go either way.” Somin predicted that Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas would strike down the law. “I also noted that some things [Justice Anthony] Kennedy has said in recent opinions suggest that he wants to enforce limits on the scope of federal power. But I did not say that means that it’s clear he will vote to strike down.” Chief Justice John Roberts would be a swing voter, he writes.

Is Internet Sales Tax Just Clicks Away?

At Taxgirl, Philadelphia lawyer Kelly Phillips Erb notes that two U.S. Senators are on the verge of announcing the Main Street Fairness Act, which would impose sales taxes on Internet purchases. Erb says the stated intention of the bill is to level the playing field between Web and brick-and-mortar retailers. And, she notes: “It may sound noble (and arguably, there are some real fairness issues at play here) but you and I know this is really about dollars. It’s estimated that requiring online retailers to collect sales tax from would result in revenue totaling a whopping $37 billion over a three-year period. Yowza.”

ABA Techshowmen

One of the 12 speakers to participate in Ignite Law at the ABA Techshow was Boston-based law blogger Jay Shepherd, who used his six-minute, 20-slide speech to announce he is closing his practice to focus on a new consulting venture. Later, he wrote about the unique challenges of a constrained Ignite presentation as well as what he sees as the advantages of the format.

“It required the speakers to cut out all the boring parts,” he wrote. Those who feel otherwise should think of Twitter. “Many people, and especially lawyers, find Twitter and its 140-character-per-tweet constraint to be too limiting. People complain that you can’t possibly deliver a meaningful message in 140 characters or fewer. But if that were true, Twitter wouldn’t be as wildly successful as it is. The constraint of 140 characters requires you to boil your tweet down to the essential message, without any extra adornment. That improves the quality of the content.”

On the subject of Twitter and Techshow: We’re a little late to the party on becoming aware of @notbtannebaum, an anonymous feed that started around Christmas in response to the Twitter feed of Miami solo and law blogger Brian Tannebaum (who tweets at @btannebaum). @notbtannebaum professed to be at Ignite Law on Sunday, but the tweets, for now anyway, have stopped there. Who is he? We don’t know, but at post time, fewer than 100 followers are taking note.

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