Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

Underneath Their Robes Again

Article III Groupie, recognized as Persona of the Year in the recent Blawg Review Awards, is back at Underneath Their Robes.

It's a good Newsday in the blogosphere:
David Lat, who raised eyebrows in November when it was revealed that he was the author of a spicy blog in which he claimed to be a young female lawyer, has left his job as an assistant federal prosecutor in Newark.

Lat, 30, sent an interoffice e-mail Friday to fellow staff at the U.S. Attorney's Office, telling them that is was his last day. He told friends and colleagues that he would soon be going to Washington, D.C., to work.

Lat declined comment when contacted by The Star-Ledger of Newark. He simply wished a happy new year and said, "You'll be hearing from me more."
Welcome back, A3G. If you'd like to talk with us about how you felt being Persona of the Year, just give us a shout.

Volume 1 Blawg Review 2005

Links to all the issues of Blawg Review in 2005.

Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects

Hell hath no Fury like a woman scorned. E.L. Eversman, the AutoMuse, writes to say, "Excellent Blawg Review Awards!"
I might have known that that wench Themis would turn her nose up at awarding anything to a Muse. She was always jealous of us. Between the Graces and the Muses we did all the real work, but who gets all the glory? That's right, little Miss Justice and those god-awful Fates and Furies. Now, I ask you, is that any way to run a world? I'll bet when I start the Nemesis blawg everyone will sit up and take notice. Terpsichore is upstairs crying her eyes out, Clio is drowning her heartache in ice cream, but Erato is screaming for a rematch after reading you gave Creative Law Blog to that Haiku-wonk.
In Greek mythology, Nemesis is the goddess of divine justice and vengeance. Her anger is directed toward human transgression of the natural right order of things, and of the arrogance causing it. Nemesis pursues the insolent and the wicked with inflexible vengeance. She is portrayed as a serious looking woman, in her left hand a whip, a rein, a sword, or a pair of scales. In the Hellenistic period she was portrayed with a wheel. Heh, indeed.

Blawg Review Awards 2005

Whenever awards are handed out by one's peers, it is often said that it's an honor just to be nominated. Nowhere is that more true, perhaps, than in Blawg Review, where a different host each week recommends the best recent law blog posts for everyone's attention.

At year end, we take a break from our regular issues of Blawg Review, while Lady Justice passes judgment on law bloggers who, for better or worse, caught her eye as she peeked from underneath her blindfold.

In this image, I wanted to continue the humorous aspects of Dan's writing, so here we have She-Hulk as "Lady Justice". Of course, Justice is supposed to be blind, and she is peeking! For those who don't know, She-Hulk's real job is a lawyer, and she is always using her super-abilities to her advantage in her cases (or else she is getting herself in trouble with the judge!). Anyway, I am signed on to do these covers indefinitely, so there should be a lot more big beautiful greeness in our near future!

The Art of Greg Horn collects 144 pages of Greg's best paintings from comics, video games, and advertising! Also included is a painting tutorial and many behind the scenes tales of his comic industry adventures. Available as a hard cover with dust jacket or trade paperback version, this book makes a great holiday gift for someone you love (or just like).
The name and likeness of She-Hulk is a trademark of Marvel Characters, Inc., and Marvel is bringing this character back in a new series of comics, including the 25th anniversary issue, featuring outstanding new cover art that is copyright by the original artist Greg Horn and/or Marvel. A few low resolution digital samples of these illustrations are included here in the context of our review and recommendation of this publication for lawyers and their families, which constitutes fair use. Please show your appreciation for this new cover art by clicking the illustrations and visiting Greg Horn's website to see more of his art, including a new book, which looks fantastic. But I digress.

Themis, the Goddess of Justice and Law, is well-known for her clear sightedness. She typically holds a sword in one hand and scales in the other. The scales represent fairness and balance, and the sword signifies the power that is held by her making the decision. Justice is not blind; the blindfold, representing the impartiality with which justice is served, is a relatively late addition to the imagery of Lady Justice that "became a more common motif during the 17th century and after, when the idea began to take hold that the judiciary should stand apart from the sovereign. Justice blindfolded can't see the signals a sovereign might send on how to rule in a case."

As you may know, Themis had three attendants, minor gods of the Underworld, who also acted as judges over the souls of the dead. Any similarity between those three attendants and Blawg Review's Contributing Editors, Kevin Heller, Mike Cernovich, and the Legal Underground's Evan Schaeffer, is purely coincidental. They, who contributed substantially to the regular issues of Blawg Review throughout the year, are in no way responsible for the inclusion or exclusion of anyone's law blog in these Blawg Review Awards.

This year's Blawg Review Awards are judged and decided solely by Themis. You may agree or disagree with her decisions, and we trust that some of you might have a lot to say about these Blawg Review Awards on your own blogs. If you would like to acknowledge other award-worthy blawgs, by all means don't hesitate to invent some new award categories and wield your authority like a law blogger by giving awards to your personal favorites—maybe even giving yourself the award you deserve.

But no amount of influence in the blogosphere, nor any number of friends voting for your law blog, gets you one of these statues. We simply don't have the budget for such exquisite trophies in our first year of Blawg Review. Someday—maybe when pajama blogging is as lucrative as mainstream media—we might present some real hardware with Blawg Review Awards, and award-winners will be entitled to display an exclusive graphic on their weblogs.

Now, without further explanation or reasons for judgment, we present the winners of this year's Blawg Review Awards.

Colin Samuels, at Infamy or Praise, receives the highest praise for extraordinary achievement as the host of Blawg Review #35, which is named officially the Blawg Review of the Year 2005.

David Lat, at Underneath Their Robes, picks up this year's Blawg Review Award for Persona of the Year for Article III Groupie, affectionately called A3G by some judges.

The award for Intelligent Design is presented to Monica Bay for the Common Scold, which has evolved into quite the specimen blawg.

J. Craig Williams receives this year's award for Best Graphics on a Law Blog for the gorgeous redesign of May It Please the Court.

The award for Best Blawg Theme goes to Patent Baristas, which presented a strong showing in the graphic design competition, as well.

Overlawyered picks up the award for Best Name for a legally-oriented blog. (Expect competition to heat up in this category next year, as the Greatest American Lawyer and the Ruthless Lawyer enter the fray, looking to establish domain name dominance.)

Best Tagline goes to law student Jeremy Richey's Blawg, which gets the award for "When I'm not pounding the books, I'm pounding the law, the facts, or the table."

Between Lawyers gets the award for Best Group Blog by Lawyers.

Crescat Sententia wins Best Group Blog by Law Students.

The Volokh Conspiracy takes Best Group Blog by Law Professors.

Douglas A. Berman gets recognition for the Best Blawg by a Law Professor for Sentencing Law and Policy.

Ambivalent Imbroglio is awarded Best Blawg by a Law Student.

Evan Schaeffer receives the award for Best Blog by a Practicing Attorney for The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog.

Patrick Lamb picks up the award for Best Practice Management Blog for In Search of Perfect Client Service.

Branham & Day gets the Law Firm Blogs Award for coordinating these diverse practice specialty blogs: Tennessee Business Litigation Blog, Day on Torts, Med Mal Blog and erisa on the web.

The nod for Best Politico Blog by Lawyers is given to both Daily Kos and Power Line, who will probably take opposite positions about which deserves this award most.

SCOTUSblog is judged the Best Law Blog by a Firm.

Harriet Miers's Blog!!! gets the award for Best Judicial Nominee Blog.

The award for Best Blogging by a Judge goes to Richard Posner for the Becker-Posner Blog, but there could be another contender if this judge ever starts blogging.

The award for the Best Special Interest Blog by a lawyer goes to Professor Bainbridge on Wine.

Scheherazade is recognized for Best Personal Blog by a legally-oriented female blogger for Stay of Execution.

George M. Wallace, gets the award for Best Personal Blog by a legally-oriented male blogger for A Fool in the Forest.

Jen Burke gets the award for Equal Justice for Transcending Gender.

David Giacalone wins the award for Creative Law Blog for f/k/a ....® takes the much-coveted law blog award, Best Eclectic Blog.

Jeralyn E. Merritt gets an Award of Merit for TalkLeft, a criminal defense attorney's blog that makes Jennifer Walters green with envy.

Video Game Law Blog is the judge's choice for Specialty Blawg.

The award for Best Blog By An Out-of-Practice Attorney goes to Anita Campbell, a former General Counsel, for Small Business Trends.

Sabrina I. Pacifici's beSpacific gets the award for Legal Support Blog.

Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground gets the award for Community and Social Interaction on a law blog, a.k.a. the award for the Most Fun in the Comments on a Blawg.

Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage receives the award for Blawg Diva, a very special honor.

Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle is recognized with a Lifetime In Blog Years Achievement Award for three years of inspiring solo and small firm lawyers with her blawg.

Concurring Opinions is recognized as the Best New Blawg in 2005.

Professor Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy shares the Blawg Review Award for Legal Reasoning with John Hinderaker of Power Line.

Tom Kirkendall picks up the award for Best Blawg With Local Flavor for Houston's Clear Thinkers.

Ernie Svenson gets the Blawg Review Award for Best Perspective on the news story of the year, Hurricane Katrina, for his excellent writing on Ernie the Attorney.

The award for Breaking Law News is given to Howard J. Bashman for How Appealing.

Lisa Stone at Inside Opinions: Legal Blogs is recognized for Blog Journalism for legal blog watching and support for Blawg Review, not to mention her outstanding work organizing BlogHer and judging the BOBs.

The award for Best Online Law Magazine using blog technology goes to Point of Law.

Law bloggers Robert J. Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams share the award for Best Legal Podcast for their weekly internet radio show, Coast to Coast.

The award for Best Print on Law Blogs goes to Law|Practice Magazine, published by the American Bar Association for the July/August 2005 issue, Behind the Blogs

Glenn Reynolds gets the Grand Panjandrum Award for Instapundit and his eponymous blog,, and for being called the Chair of the Advisory Board of Pajamas Media.

TechnoLawyer gets kudos for the 2005 TechnoLawyer @ Awards, the other most comprehensive set of awards in the legal market.

And, finally, the award for the Best Blog Carnival for Everyone Interested in Law goes to—you guessed it—Blawg Review. That's all she wrote.

Editor's Notes: In 2005, there were many excellent presentations of Blawg Review, #1 to #37, each different from the others and all of them very special in their own ways. If you enjoyed reading Colin Samuels' award-winning Blawg Review #35 based on Dante's Inferno, this year's Blawg Review of the Year, you might be encouraged to review all the Past Issues of this our first year. They're all so very good.

And, as interesting as it is to read Blawg Review every Monday, maybe it's time to make a New Year's Resolution to join in the fun with other lawyers, law students and legal scholars who blog, as a regular contributor to our weekly linkfest and, may we suggest, as a host of Blawg Review on your own law blog.

For a few of these Blawg Review Awards there were other deserving blawgs, and I see some excellent law bloggers were overlooked. You know who you are. Sometimes justice seems blind, or simply gets it wrong, but what could I say to a superheroine lawyer who's such a freakin' goddess?

Marvelous News—She-Hulk Returns to Practice Marvel Law.
Jennifer Walters always thought being a criminal defense attorney was in her blood...until a gamma-irradiated blood transfusion gave her the ability to change into the world's sexiest, sassiest, and strongest superheroine -- the She-Hulk.

Join Marvel in celebrating 25 years and 100 solo issues of She-Hulk in this hundred page special! Get ready for the most important case in She-Hulk's life because SHE'S the accused! Charged with crimes against the space-time continuum, the TVA is placing She-Hulk in a Time Trial. If she loses? Her entire personal history-- her very existence could be erased right out of the Marvel Universe!
On Sale December 29th, She-Hulk #100 with cover by Greg Horn.

Previewing Blawg Review #37

Our host for Blawg Review #37, The Wired GC, is a lawyer who blogs anonymously to express himself candidly without having to temper his thoughts out of concern for his employment as the General Counsel for a company located somewhere in the Midwest.

We sat down recently and had an email interview with this anonymous host to provide our readers with a bit more insight into The Wired GC.

What prompted you to start blogging in the first place?
I started "The Wired GC" more because I wanted to learn about the nascent weblog technology than because I thought I had something to say. But I knew I had a few ideas about the practice of law in an in-house setting, and about working with the outside counsel that are a key part of a providing legal services to business.
Now that you've been blogging for a while, how would you describe your law blog to someone who had never read it?
The Wired GC is an exploration about how the practice of law will possibly be changing over the next 3, 5, or even 10 years. Law has largely remained immune from some of the economic and competitive forces that have roiled industrial America in the last 10-20 years. From my vantage point in the Midwest, I have seen the toll this has taken on large segments of society. For those who haven't yet experienced true global competition, fasten your seatbelts, you are in for quite a ride.
What do you say to people who ask who you really are, why you remain anonymous, and whether you are a General Counsel in real life?
John, because, and yes. The middle response is no real mystery: when you are an active GC, for some reason outside counsel and vendors think you have the need--immediately--for all sorts of legal and technical services. I don't write about what I'm doing, and I don't want calls or emails at the office about what I choose to do on my own time.
Well, John, nice to meet you. I'm Ed. Seriously, what's the best thing about writing The Wired GC blog anonymously?
The people I have "met" virtually through blogging. I am constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of many of the active legal webloggers. I sometimes feel like I will be discovered as a mere pretender among the true digerati. I would like to meet them sometime and share a beer or three while discussing the legal issues of the day. I will wear a bag over my head. I feel I have a face for radio and a voice for the printed word.
You really seem to have found your voice on The Wired GC, especially now that you're podcasting The Wired GC Unplugged. What's next for The Wired GC?
The day after this edition of the Blawg Review goes live, I will have been posting random thoughts on my blog for one year. I hope to make it two years. But who knows?
You mean to say that in less than a year blogging anonymously you've managed to join the ranks of some of the "most influential" bloggers in the Blog Network? You know, John, if people look closely at our bio pics, some might wonder if you're the Editor of Blawg Review.
I really don't think so, Ed.

Best Blawg & Best Law Blogs

Everybody loves awards shows, even bloggers. The Best of the Blogs, or the BOBs as they're called, were recently announced. Lisa Stone was the only jury member from the colonies. Best weblog of the BOBs?
A Little Respect, I'm Your Mother - The daily reports from Mirta Bertotti and her family have quickly become one of the most beloved Weblog telenovelas in the Spanish-speaking Internet.

Everything that happens to the Bertotti family is described from the 52-year-old mother's point of view and illustrated with detailed comics. The blog is made by the Argentine Hernán Casciari.

Over 100,000 votes were cast in online voting during the BOBs' final four weeks, and the Internet public decided it was the Portuguese Weblog Tupiniquim that was most deserving of the User Prize.
WTF? As Bob Wiley said, "You ever hear of Tourette's syndrome? Involuntarily shouting out profanities?"

In the United States, the Bloggies take center stage year after year, and another blog awards show, The Weblog Awards, is also picking favorites from amongst their own group of right-thinking bloggers.

Of special interest to law bloggers, The Weblog Awards has a new category this year for Best Law Blog. Many lawyers might wonder about a voting system that encourages everyone to vote early and vote often, but some have no problem with that. Neither do we, but one nominee says forget it.

For most law bloggers, the real excitement will be right here for the first ever Blawg Review Awards, which will be announced on December 26. No one knows whose blawgs are nominated, how a law blog gets nominated, how the voting is tabulated, or even who gets to vote. Still, this is where everyone interested in the best blawgs looks each week, and law bloggers will be pointing their browsers back here right after Christmas to see who got what presents from Blawg Review this year.

Whose is the of the ? That's a closely guarded secret to be announced at the Blawg Review Awards. Until then, just look in Technorati or do a Google Blog Search to find the best blawg.

Previewing Blawg Review #36

AutoMuse®, call it a blawg, blog, or just downright useful information on automotive consumer and legal issues, by any name or description the next host of Blawg Review is one of the top law blogs on a subject everyone is interested in—cars, cars, cars.

E.L. Eversman, who's hosting the next Blawg Review, is chief counsel for Vehicle Information Services, Inc. AutoMuse® "focuses on issues affecting the auto industry and that industry's intersection with the law, as well as vehicle-related topics that are interesting to attorneys and consumers." This, according to Forbes Magazine, which recognized AutoMuse® in the recent Forbes Best of the Web blog awards in the category of Automobile blogs.

Earlier this year, we featured a powerblog review of AutoMuse® right here on the Blawg Review website. Check it out, and follow our easy submission guidelines to get one of your best recent law blog posts considered for Blawg Review #36.

Ninja Caused You Damages?

Colin Samuels is hosting Blawg Review #35 today, at Infamy or Praise, a blog that takes its name from Dante's Inferno, but he digresses:
Before we begin, I'd like to thank the editors for allowing me to host the carnival on December 5, the day which is considered by most right-thinking people the foremost holiday within a month of holidays; I refer of course to the annual Day of the Ninja.
Somebody's definitely going to Hell for saying that.

But, as long as it's officially the Day of the Ninja, this is probably as good a day as any for this commercial message from our sponsor, Captain Hooke Silver, Attorney at Law.

You Call That News?

Now that Underneath Their Robes, A3G's infamous blawg, is in protective custody, how are law bloggers keeping informed of the latest judicial news?

This just in, from the Newswire:

Judge Accused of Using 'Penis Pump' on Bench Wins Trial Delay

Remember when Article III Groupie would break a story like this?
UTR News and Views: August 23, 2004

With apologies for her extended absence--work flared up like a bad case of hemorrhoids--Article III Groupie welcomes you to "UTR News and Views." This new feature will provide brief squibs about noteworthy news developments, along with commentary from Article III Groupie. Because A3G is so far behind in her news monitoring and reader correspondence, some of the items in this inaugural "News and Views" post may be a little, um, dated. Going forward, however, A3G hopes to bring you the news in more timely fashion, through quasi-regular "News and Views" posts (perhaps on a weekly basis).

And now, here are the desultory news items that A3G has noticed and believes worthy of brief remark, even though they don't merit full-blown posts. She has divided these items into two categories: "Now That's What She Calls News!" and "You Call That News?"


You Call That News?

6. Speaking of less-than-honorable state court judges, Judge Donald Thompson, the Oklahoma jurist infamous for allegedly using a "penis pump" underneath his robe, is resigning effective September 1. In his letter of resignation, Judge Thompson stated that he "greatly enjoyed" his time on the bench. We're sure you did, Judge Thompson...
-- Article III Groupie

BlawgWorld 2006 Review

BlawgWorld 2006: Capital of Big Ideas, a TechnoLawyer eBook, is designed to take you on a journey through 51 of the most influential legal blogs (blawgs). You cannot buy a copy of BlawgWorld 2006, but it's free here, exclusively for TechnoLawyer members.

The BlawgWorld Team at TechnoLawyer says in the preface, "As with everything we publish, this eBook is fair game for comments." Which brings us to this review.

It's an excellent little eBook, and just one more good reason to become a member of TechnoLawyer. But the pdf format has its limitations, and the jury is still out whether the book itself might have overstated the import of these "thought-provoking essays from the most influential blawgs." That bit of puffery seems to have been edited to "51 of the most influential legal blogs" in the covering email, and also on the TechnoLawyer Blog. Like many publications printed on paper, this eBook succumbs to the temptation to call what is, at best, representative of this year, the best of next year. To the publisher's credit, at least no trees were killed in the production of this book.

The 51 essays in BlawgWorld 2006 were selected for publication by each respective blogger as most representative of their blawg. Some of the law bloggers represented in BlawgWorld 2006 have also hosted Blawg Review this year, and others are scheduled to host Blawg Review in 2006. De facto, we're inclined to agree that these blawgs are among the most influential law blogs. But just when we think we know who are the most influential, someone else writes something brilliant—and it shows up on the next Blawg Review.

While this eBook is an interesting marketing idea for TechnoLawyer, the value seems limited by the format and the delivery conditions. The concept of putting a previously published blog post, hand-picked by a writer selected by a publisher, on a pdf and making it available behind password registration on the publisher's website, seems overly self-interested. And, quid pro quo, presenting the writers' posts in a self-described collection of "the most influential blawgs" seems to take the concept of vanity publishing to a whole new level of tech savvy.

Don't get us wrong. We've been known to encourage a reasonable amount of self-promotion by law bloggers on Blawg Review. The differences are that law blog posts submitted by the open market of blawg writers, or recommended by our regular readers, for inclusion in Blawg Review each week are more current. And their relevance is assessed by peer-review by a different host each week, rather than by a publisher at an annual publication date.

Ultimately, the benefits of Blawg Review accrue to a larger community interested in law by exposing thought-provoking articles every week to a broader web-surfing audience, pulling traffic to the host blog for the "blawg review" and, then, sending interested readers to the collected writers' individual blogs to read, in original context, those posts the readers consider most interesting. This is a natural extension of everything that's rewarding about blogging. And it's open for everyone interested in law to participate freely, as law bloggers, post contributors, Blawg Review hosts, and most importantly, as law blog readers.

Update 12/06/05: Robert J. Ambrogi, a Massachusetts lawyer, writer and media consultant, and author of the book The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web, presents an overview of mixed reviews of BlawgWorld 2006 and adds his own comments.

Previewing Blawg Review #35

Inferno, the poem, begins on Holy Thursday of the year 1300, a significant holiday, "In the middle of our life's journey" (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita), and so opens in medias res. Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblically alloted age of 70 (Psalm 90:10), lost in a dark wood (allegorically, contemplating suicide--as "wood" is figured in canto 13), assailed by beasts (allegorically, sins) he cannot evade, and unable to find the "straight way" (diritta via) to salvation. Conscious that he is ruining himself, that he is falling into a "deep place" (basso loco) where the sun is silent ('l sol tace), Dante is at last rescued by Virgil after his love Beatrice intercedes on his behalf (Canto 2), and he and Virgil begin their journey to the underworld.

All hope abandon, ye who enter in!"

These words in sombre colour I beheld

Written upon the summit of a gate;

Whence I: "Their sense is, Master, hard to me!"

And he to me, as one experienced:

"Here all suspicion needs must be abandoned,

All cowardice must needs be here extinct.

We to the place have come, where I have told thee

Thou shalt behold the people dolorous

Who have foregone the good of intellect."

And after he had laid his hand on mine

With joyful mien, whence I was comforted,

He led me in among the secret things.

There sighs, complaints, and ululations loud

Resounded through the air without a star,

Whence I, at the beginning, wept thereat.

Languages diverse, horrible dialects,

Accents of anger, words of agony,

And voices high and hoarse, with sound of hands,

Made up a tumult that goes whirling on

For ever in that air for ever black,

Even as the sand doth, when the whirlwind breathes.

And I, who had my head with horror bound,

Said: "Master, what is this which now I hear?

What folk is this, which seems by pain so vanquished?"

And he to me: "This miserable mode

Maintain the melancholy souls of those

Who lived withouten infamy or praise.

Dante and Virgil enter the Gate of Hell, on which is inscribed the famous phrase, "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate" or "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" and first pass through the Vestibule of the Oppurtunists, containing those whose actions and characters were so insignificant and indecisive that they do not deserve to be counted in Heaven or Hell: they are forever chasing after a whirling pennant and being stung by wasps (Canto 3). Then Dante and Virgil are ferried across the river Acheron by Charon to Hell proper.
Colin Samuels, himself in the middle of life's journey, commenced writing his magnum opus blog in his 35th year. For more personal insight into next week's host of Blawg Review #35, you may glean what you might from this and this, or maybe even this.