It's that time of year again, when we look back at the best of 2008 in the legal blogospshere through the eyes of 51 hosts of Blawg Review, and determine by peer-review which of the year's presentations should be named the Blawg Review of the Year 2008.
Any of the issues of Blawg Review #141 to #191, inclusive, is qualified to be nominated for Blawg Review of the Year 2008.
Every blog that has ever hosted Blawg Review, or is scheduled to host an upcoming issue of Blawg Review, is entitled to post its nominations of as many of the qualified issues of Blawg Review (other than one's own) as it wishes to acknowledge for consideration for recognition as Blawg Review of the Year 2008.
Such nomination posts shall be calculated as votes for Blawg Review of the Year only if the nominating blogger advises the Editor of Blawg Review by email of a link to such nominations.
After 11:59 PM, GMT, on January 31, 2009, the Editor of Blawg Review shall determine the Blawg Review of the Year that has earned the most qualified nominations recorded in posts of which the Editor has been duly notified by email before that time.
Editor reserves the right to amend these rules as may be necessary for the sake of clarity and fairness.
For example, there's a new rule this year. Those qualified to nominate may indicate in their email to the Editor that one of those nominated should be awarded "extra credit" and that will be counted as two votes. This new rule will allow voters to be more inclusive of leading contenders without jeopardizing the chances of their favorite to win and will, perhaps, make the competition more interesting by increasing the chances of a dark horse. This new rule also reduces the chances that a winner might be determined as a result of any voters strategically "not nominating" any close-contenders to their favorites.
Hope you enjoy, as I did, this retrospective look at Blawg Review 2008. Click on the links in the numbered headings below to see each of the past year's law blog carnivals we call Blawg Review.
#141 Charon QC
Leading off the year with a "Charge of the Light Brigade" theme, Charon presented the best of the British blawgosphere. "quite brilliant - but then I have consumed rather more than I ought," added John Bolch. Geeklawyer lamented, "Oh dear, CharonQC, you have let me down by doing a great job. Now I will have to make a serious effort to match. Bugger - that’s billable hours down the pan."
#142 Build A Solo Practice
Who can forget Susan Cartier Liebel's presentation that took the format of a "letter to a new lawyer" in which she included some of the well-known and prolific usual suspects and introduced us to some new and exciting blogs she had recently discovered? Nathan Dosch commented, "This is one of my favorite Blawg Reviews to date. Great work as always, Susan. Thanks for continually providing your valuable insight. Also thanks for the mention."
#143 Public Defender Stuff
Gideon, having just taken over as editor of the leading public defender law blog, was duty counsel on Martin Luther King Day. Dan Schwartz commented, "Thanks Gideon for the shout out, but more importantly, thanks for your thorough post of all things both MLK and justice related. A good way to lend tribute to the day."
#144 Cyberlaw Central
Kevin Thompson's presentation, based on the Lord of the Rings, draws its theme from the number, as did his prior reviews, #42 with its Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy theme, and #93 with a tribute to Steve Jackson Games and its Illuminati game. Jonathan Frieden noted on his law blog,"We don’t make a habit out of pointing out when the most recent edition of the Blawg Review has been posted. We figure that our readers probably go to Blawg Review to check on that. However, this week’s edition is hosted by one of our alltime favorite Blawg Review hosts."
#145 What About Clients?
Dan Hull hosted the Super Bowl Edition, or how did he describe it? "The Test-Your-Mettle Edition. The "Got Sand?" Edition. The Prepare for Battle Edition. You get the idea. We like "wake-up" themes. Over-dog themes. Under-dog themes. "Grandiose" themes. Anything to make us think, make you think, make us both money (it's a business; get used to it) and have fun at the same time." Anne Reed offered congrats, "Wonderful job -- as everyone expected, since you're anything but an underdog in this game."
#146 The Invent Blog
Steve Nipper hosted on National Inventor's Day, on the anniversary of the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison, fitting indeed, at The Invent Blog.
#147 Rush on Business
Rush Nigut hosted a tour de force presentation based on Iowa's great bicycle race. Teri Rasmussen commented, "Great post! As someone who grew up in Iowa and remembers RAGBRAI fondly as part of an Iowa summer (even though I never actually did the ride),this brought it all back. As a fellow blogger, I LOVED the way you connected all the various posts together with the RAGBRAI theme. Really fun!"
#148 Blawg IT
Brett Trout introduced followers of Blawg Review to the Internet meme, explaining, "While considering a theme for this week’s Blawg Review, it struck me that lawyers do not spend as much time aimlessly meandering the web as would, for instance, a typical air traffic controller. As a result, most lawyers are woefully detached from the Zeitgeist embodied in the lowly Internet meme. An Internet meme is any amusing video, email, picture, audio clip or other material that spreads virally across the internet. Unlike computer viruses, which spread based upon how many paint chips the people opening them consumed in their youth, Internet memes spread based upon how entertaining viewers find them." Steve Imparl added, "Great job on the blawg review. I’ve always been dubious about blawg reviews, carnivals, and memes–perhaps that’s just due to my contrarian nature–but I know high quality when I see it. Well done!"
#149 Antitrust Review
David Fischer's presentation begins with a quick review of the antitrust issues that Antitrust Review focuses on, then canvasses the blogosphere and finally finishes with some lighter items, including what is undoubtedly the greatest four paragraphs to ever appear in a newspaper.
#150 Trust Matters
"All lawyers, whatever their specialties in law, strive to be trusted advisors," notes Charlie Green, author of The Trusted Advisor, who hosted Blawg Review on his business blog, Trust Matters. Dan Hull said, "I liked this BR a lot: elegant and classy are words that fit. Author, author!"
#151 Lex Ferenda
From Dublin, Daithí Mac Síthigh hosted on St. Patrick's Day. "Solid, useful, to-the-point, understated and even factual–sure you’re one of us: Irish?" added Dan Hull.
#152 TechnoLawyer Blog
"Blawg Review is not just a blog, it's a clever social networking concept. Every week, a different blawg hosts Blawg Review, pointing out what it deems the most interesting blawg Posts from the previous week. Sometimes, the hosting blog will develop a theme around Blawg Review," noted the editorial staff of the TechnoLawyer, choosing a format similar to their BlawgWorld eBook.
#153 Declarations & Exclusions
George M. Wallace presents Blarrgh Review, a pirate-themed presentation. David Donoghue notes, "it is written in pirate-speak, is up at George Wallace's Declarations & Exclusions. Wallace also provided a supplemental April Fool's Day Appendix to Blawg Review #153 at his non-legal blog A Fool in the Forest." Brett Trout exclaims, "Wow. Fantastic Job! That has to be the most comprehensive Carnival appendix I have ever seen. Is an appendix eligible for Blawg Review of the Year?" Dan Hull says, "This will be BR of Year, unless Ed. rigs it."
David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog hosted on World Health Day.
#155 California Blog of Appeal
Greg May says, "Asking me to improve on Blawg Review numbers 1 through 154 is a pretty tall order, and not one that I’ll claim to accomplish. But I have tried to put together an interesting set of links for those who follow the legal blogosphere, and I hope I make them look tempting enough for you to check out."
#156 Virtually Blind
Benjamin Duranske wrote, "Because virtual law is such a new field (my book, Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds, is the first book to comprehensively examine this emerging field, and it was published just this month), I am going to structure this post as a set of questions and answers on virtual law. I’ll cover the basics, and will illustrate the answers with links to a number of legal blogs, covering both real-world and virtual world legal issues." Kit Meredith commented, "Congrats on taking the reins of the Blawg Review, and for doing such a good job with it, to boot. I saw a lot of legal blogs that I was already familiar with, but there was lots of new goodness in there as well - yay, my already swollen RSS feed grows even bigger… thanks for that! I know it was a lot of hard work to pull together all this information on RL legal issues, combine it with some great virtual world basics, and weave it into a very readable and entertaining whole. I’ll be interested to see what kind of feedback you get from our non-virtual colleagues."
#157 Labour Law Blog
Michael Fitzgibbon wrote, "It's a pleasure to be hosting this edition of Blawg Review in recognition of this important date on the Canadian calendar, the National Day of Mourning which commemorates those workers whose lives have been lost or who have been injured in the workplace. Having followed Blawg Review since its inception, this has been a somewhat daunting task (especially in a week where I'm trying to get out of the office on vacation - we all know what that's like). That said, it has been a fantastic experience that has given me an even greater appreciation for the scope of the labour ("labor" if you prefer) and employment information that's available through the many blawgs that are now being written."
#158 The Mommy Blawg
The anonymous Mommy Blawger hosted on International Midwives' Day (sometimes called "International Day of the Midwife"), "when traditionally I remind my readers to call, write, or email their midwives and thank them." Stephanie Kimbro said, "Great Blawg Review! I'm an attorney and I'm not embarassed to admit that my family and I have a wonderful relationship with the midwife who 'caught' our daughter a couple years ago. We were in a hospital at the time so less risk. In our state it's illegal for a midwife to be present at a homebirth. Although, oddly enough there is a secret 'blackmarket' for this service and most women here know how to arrange a homebirth if they really want one. Fascinating topic that I bet not many attorneys have studied!"
#159 Whistleblower Law Blog
LaBovick & LaBovick hosted Blawg Review on their Wistleblower Law Blog during the week when independent whistleblower coalitions, such as the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW), the Make it Safe Campaign, and many other independent whistleblower coalitions, held a series of simultaneous but separate events in Washington, D.C., events designed to lobby Congress and alert the public to the need to support whistleblower protection.
#160 Ruthie's Law
Mistress Ruthie hosted a much-anticipated Blawg Review, remarking, "Well, here it is. For months now, readers have been deluging Mistress Ruthie and I with private messages telling us what they would like us to do for them (although only Mr Greeklawyer has said that he would like us to do it for him as a pair). And for months Mistress Ruthie has been diverting requests for favours, whilst I have been instructing Tucker to plant his large staff before such supplicants and tell them to beat it off before they ask for anything from me." One commenter noted, "A masterpiece and very, very well executed indeed. Even though your styling normally causes me to consider your posts unreadable." Dan Hull demurred, "I am biased but: really really nice job, Ruthie–even semi-literate dweeb lawyers in US liked it."
#161 Patent Baristas
Stephen Albainy-Jenei wrote, "I’m not a big flag-waver — out of fear that heart-felt remembrance can often lapse into misplaced jingoism — so I was reluctant to fill in at the last moment for the Memorial Day edition after Prof. Mirko Bagaric at Moral Dilemma had a work conflict. And while Memorial Day would seem to be all about shopping — if you go by the number of ads in the paper — it is a day worth special reflection in a time of war. I offer this Review with respect for all who have fought and died for our freedoms." Kevin Underhill commented, "I thought this was really excellent. The picture was absolutely heartbreaking."
#162 China Law Blog
Dan Harris wrote, "When I took on this task of writing Blawg Review #162, I received emails expressing excitement at the idea of this blog bridging East and West, enlightening the legal world about China, and enlightening our China readers about the legal world. All lofty goals, but not lofty enough. I am going here for no less than WORLD PEACE. Miss America (and Miss World too, for that matter) could not do it, but we can. I therefore dedicate this post to World Peace and to ending all disputes." The first comment, from Marsha, Marsha, Marsha: "I laughed. I cried. Brilliant. Would love to see you do one of these every week!" Shalini said, "Nomination for Blawg Review of 2008 - Do I hear a second?"
#163 More Partner Income
Law firm survival in economic hard times, the theme of the Blawg Review by Tom Collins. Holden Oliver added, "For the past three years, and regularly, we've singled out More Partner Income, founded by Tom Collins, as the best overall site on the subject of building and running a client-centric law firm. If you manage a law firm from 3 to 3000 lawyers in size, and read only two or three blogs or periodicals, this should be one of them. Today, MPI hosts Blawg Review #163 in one of the most worthwhile and hardest-working BR performances this year."
Eoin O'Dell hosted on Bloomsday, the centrepiece of a weeklong festival in Dublin celebrating the day in 1904 on which the events of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses unfold, which is the day Joyce first formally went out with Nora Barnacle (the story is told in the enthralling movie Nora; other movies with 16 June references include The Producers and Before Sunrise). Dan Hull and Holden Oliver noted, "We are part Irish yet 100% speechless. Very nicely done."
Nicolas Jondet continued, "I want to start where the previous host of the Blawg Review left off. In an inspired post, Cearta.ie told us about Bloomsday, the centerpiece of a weeklong festival in Dublin celebrating the day in 1904 on which the events of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses unfold. In a 'tour de force', he managed to intermingle legal blog items with the story lines of James Joyce’s Ulysses and of Homer’s Odyssey (Latinized into Ulysses). As it happens, France also has its own version of Ulysses. It is not as famous as the Irish masterpiece, but has had a lasting impact on a generation of children growing up in the 1980s. The Franco-Japanese animation series 'Ulysses 31' sets the classic storyline in the future, the 31st century to be precise."
Geeklawyer wrote, "It’s traditional to give thanks to the mysterious and suspiciously evasive editor of Blawg Review for the privilege of dancing in the Blawg Carnival. In the case of this reviewer perhaps not only thanks but apologies & sympathy should be offered, and perplexity expressed. Geeklawyer says 'sympathy' since his reputation as a tabloid legal blogger may have led Mr Ed to believe that this will be wild-card review full of inappropriate vulgarity, drunken foul mouthed ranting and incendiary content: i.e. a normal Geeklawyer posting. Why risk such a thing? One can only speculate - perhaps like many a sybarite Mr Ed’s decadent palette has become jaded: mayhap too many years of abusing serving girls and summer associates has taken its toll. No matter, we will proceed apace and to the devil the hindmost." Scott Greenfield commented, "I was moved to tears. No, really."
#167 E-Commerce Law
Jonathan Frieden set up his presentation with this introduction, "Since this edition of the Blawg Review immediately follows the Independence Day weekend ('America's Birthday,' according to my three-year old daughter), we thought it would be appropriate to follow a patriotic theme. Finding no more worthy or patriotic symbol than the flag of the United States of America, we decided to use this post to recognize '50 Stars of the Blawgosphere,' one important or influential legal blog or blogger from each of the 50 states represented as five-pointed stars on the Flag." Vickie Pynchon noted, "A tremendous effort accomplished today by Blawg Review #167 at E-Commerce Law, bringing us at least one post from blogs in all 50 states organized by the date of their entry into the union. Blogger Jonathan Frieden must have devoted much of any lawyer's cherished 3-day week-end to this effort, for which all legal bloggers should give him a hearty round of applause."
#168 W.VA Business Litigation
"Charleston's Jeff Mehalic of West Virginia Business Litigation, and a citizen of America's best-kept energy secret, gave us a Bastille Day Blawg Review #168. Our kind of Blawg Review: to-the-point, packed with great links and well-written without being 'windy', says Holden Oliver at WAC?
"Lawyers, and law firms, have always been brands," noted Steve Cranford at Whisper.
#170 Simple Justice
"The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed," observes Scott Greenfield, noting, "Among other things, it applied due process and equal protection to the States, one of the most significant developments in constitutional law to a criminal defense lawyer. In honor, Blawg Review #170 is dedicated to great posts in the spirit of the 14th." Anne Reed says, "Ingenious. The theme that unites all themes. Thanks especially for those extremely kind adjectives, and for the best car picture of any Blawg Review ever." On the occasion of his 2000th blog post, Scott Greenfield would later write, "The only post I struggled with was Blawg Review #170. Writing it was painful. Others, like Turk and Colin Samuels, are unbelievably good at doing Blawg Review. I was not. I did it because I made a promise to Ed. that I would, but I was miserable the whole time. it was the only time writing a post that I felt that way, and I didn't care for it. Still, I appreciate that others do it so I can enjoy their effort."
#171 The IP ADR Blog
"If intellectual property had a theme song it would have to be Like a Virgin," opined Victoria Pynchon. "In honor of the moment of creation at the root of every intellectual property dispute, this week's Blawg Review No. 171 gives you the great virgins of history."
#172 Ohio Employer's Law
Jon Hyman hosted an Olympian effort to coincide with the opening of the Beijing Olympics. Rush Nygut said, "The Ohio Employer's Law Blog earns a gold medal with its Olympic-themed Blawg Review #172."
#173 Chicago IP Litigation
"Last week’s Olympic edition Blawg Review focused on the medals," noted David Donoghue. "Building on that, this week I discuss the elements of a world record swim. If you were watching last week, instead of blogging, you saw 20 of them in the Olympic pool; seven by Mr. Phelps."
#174 Texas Appellate Law
Todd Smith was challenged for a theme, noting, "After two consecutive Olympic-themed Blawg Reviews, I was tempted go for a third despite my initial decision not to do so. Like most of America, I am officially entering post-Olympic withdrawal, and a celebration of what were truly a remarkable Games would have been appropriate. The problem is, I am so in awe of what transpired over the past two weeks—particularly the accomplishments of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, capped off by the unlikely pairing of Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page playing a Led Zeppelin classic [update: the YouTube video of the pair performing 'Whole Lotta Love' is "no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party"]—that none of my ideas for a theme would have done the Games justice. So, with those comments, let this 'themeless' edition of Blawg Review begin!"
#175 Austin DWI Lawyer
"Welcome to the Labor Day Edition of Blawg Review, writes Jamie Spencer. "Perhaps our dear ‘Ed.’ has a slightly off center sense of humor. He’s given me this weekend’s assignment because I’m a DWI lawyer. (What can I say? It seemed like such a good idea when he proposed it a year ago.)"
#176 Legal Literacy
September 8th is International Literacy Day, so it made sense to have Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, put together what one blogger called "a fantastic array of ways in which the law and literacy are in play."
#177 Small Business Trends
"It’s a special honor for a business blog to host the roundup of law bloggers," writes former GC Anita Campbell on her award-winning business blog. "There are so many excellent law blogs (I’ve always said, lawyers are some of the best and most interesting bloggers)." She gets down to business with a business-focused Blawg Review.
#178 Freedom to Differ
"G'day and welcome back down under!" wrote Pete Black. "This is the third time I have hosted Blawg Review from Australia..." He then took the bold step of introducing the blawgosphere to the twitterverse. Blawg Review has not been the same since.
#179 Securing Innovation
IP.com's business blog, Securing Innovation, hosted an intellectual property issue of Blawg Review on the anniversary of the birth of Laszlo Biro, the inventor of the ballpoint pen.
Andis Kaulins hosted on German-American Day, October 6, 2008, a day proclaimed by the President of the United States, on LawPundit, a law blog domiciled in Germany and authored by an American expatriate, born in Germany, raised in the United States, and formerly lecturing on Anglo-American law at the University of Trier Law School in Germany
#181 Mediation Channel
To get us in the mood for Blawg Review on Conflict Resolution Day, mediator Diane Levin links to a classic Monty Python sketch, The Argument. Vickie Pynchon comments, "Brava, Brava!!!!! Good thing it’s Columbus Day too because I appear to be spending my entire morning reading this brilliantly comprehensive Blawg Review and following the links to the treasures you’ve found." And Kevin O'Keefe adds, "Wow Diane. Incredible job. I’d hate to be next up with Blawg Review, you’ve ruined their week."
#182 David Gulbransen
Dave! Gulbransen, famous for his amazing back-to-school presentations of Blawg Review, finally completed his Bar exams, so treated us to a test-based presentation. "Brilliant. Flat out brilliant! And fun!" exclaimed Vickie Pynchon. "WOW! Creatively brilliant," added Bob Coffield.
#183 The UCL Practitioner
As a California native, and as an attorney who lives and works in San Francisco, Kimberly Kralowec has always tried to recognize and promote her fellow California law bloggers. The California blawgosphere is the focus of her Blawg Review. "Wow. That clearly took a great deal of time and thought. Nice work," said Michael Walsh. Norman Gregory Fernandez added, "A most excellent Blawg Review Kimberly. My hats off to you!"
#184 The Faculty Lounge
The Law Professors hosted an election-eve edition of Blawg Review at The Faculty Lounge.
#185 IP Think Tank
Duncan Bucknell hosted a Global IP Blawg Review, commemorating the intellectual property accomplishments of Hollywood starlet Hedy Lamarr.
#186 Res Ipsa Blog
A third-year law student hosted on International Students' Day. "The thing speaks for itself," noted Ron Coleman. "NB (that means nota bene): We should all have to have Latin names for our blogs. That would restore honory and integrity to the profession, and enhance the public’s regard for us.)"
In honor of Evolution Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the publication of Darwin's "The Origin of the Species" the theme of Joshua Fruchter's Blawg Review is "survival," a subject that, sadly, is on the minds of many businesses and individuals nowadays in the midst of what has become a severe economic downturn.
#188 NY Personal Injury Law
"Arlo Guthrie was at my door," reports Eric Turkewitz. "Which was kind of funny," he said, "since I hadn't exactly invited him to Thanksgiving dinner with the law bloggers we were having, but this being Thanksgiving he thought it would be a friendly gesture to show up and help me write Blawg Review. And so he did." Carolyn Elefant remarked, "Eric, you are truly the master of the Blawg Review genre. Thanks for an amazing Thanksgiving Day issue." Scott Greenfield added, "I am, again, in awe of you. As Carolyn says, you are the master. I could hear Arlo's guitar strumming in the background the whole time."
#189 Infamy or Praise
Colin Samuels begins another epic Blawg Review: "For my first three Blawg Reviews, I've let Dante lead me through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Inconsiderately enough, however, Il Maestro never completed a fourth cantica for his Divine Comedy, leaving me stuck for a theme this time around. Finding that theme was an albatross around my neck until a friend made a timely and much-appreciated suggestion -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Eric Turkewitz said, "Nicely done. Should we expect Gunga Din next year? Or the more populist Casey at the Bat? I knew I shoulda paid attention in those English classes I was forced to take." Susan Cartier Liebel added, "The bar keeps getting higher and higher on Blawg Review. This was phenomenal." Daithí capitulated, "I can never do Blawg Review again if this is the expected perfomance. Bravo."
#190 The Legal Satyricon
Randazza and the Satyriconistas wrote, "We decided that since it was a carnival, we would just hold a freak show — no links to other Blawgs, just pictures of people with elephantiasis of the genitals. Just kidding. We’ll stick to tradition. The honor was tossed our way at this particular moment because today happens to be Bill of Rights Day." Across the pond, Charon QC noted, "Good BR - enjoyed it. I’m getting into US Law blogs (and a bit of US Law as well). Enjoyed - a good read, if I may say so."
#191 Likelihood of Confusion
Ron Coleman celebrates the Festival of Lights. Vickie Pynchon comments, "Brilliant!! And thanks for illuminating Hanukah for all of us. I’m certain my Jewish husband won’t know any of this lore (as I’ve been more student of Judaism than he; go figure) and it might just be enough to encourage him to read AT LEAST one full blog post in his lifetime! But truly, a monumental achievement. And deep, too."
That's it for Blawg Review 2008. Next week, Blawg Review begins 2009 as it did last year, in the United Kingdom where Charon QC celebrates Twelfth Night.
Check out the sidebar here on the Blawg Review blog home page for the roster of future hosts of Blawg Review and instructions about how to invite yourself to host an upcoming issue on your own law blog.
And remember, everyone who has ever hosted Blawg Review, or is scheduled to host an upcoming issue, is qualified to help us determine the Blawg Review of the Year 2008 by nominating their favorite issues of Blawg Review from the past year in a commemorative post on their own blogs. Please spread the word about the best of Blawg Review 2008. Post your nominations if you've earned the right to pick a winner from among your favorites. Link to others' nominations. And, if you're micro-blogging on Twitter, please mention this post there, and tweet about your favorite presentations of Blawg Review in 2008 and others' nominations for Blawg Review of the Year 2008 -- using the hash-tag #BlawgReview2008 so we can follow the buzz on Twitter.
See y'all on Blawg Review next year.