Blawg Review

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

Bunny Sex & Pink Tape

Blawg Review #226 is up at Pink Tape, a blog from the family bar in the UK. It's full of ribald British humour, talk of nudity and the escapades of Geeklawyer but, alas, no mention of Bunny, whose appearance in Blawg Review is long overdue.

Woodstock Remembered

Blawg Review #225 reminds us that this week marks the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which became synonymous with the name Woodstock, a music festival billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music", held at Max Yasgur's 600 acre dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York, from August 15 to August 18, 1969.

The host of this week's Blawg Review, Seattle Trademark Lawyer, notes that another name in music history, Seattle's own Jimi Hendrix, emerged as one of the brightest young stars at Woodstock.

This "unorthodox" electric rendition of The Star Spangled Banner was seen by some as controversial at the time but has become an iconic and much-loved version of the American National Anthem.

Hendrix and his lasting contribution to music history is recorded and presented in a museum in Seattle, the Experience Music Project, which is marking the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with a special presentation for which Jimi Hendrix is expected to be a big attraction.

Less well-known, except perhaps to thousands of freedom loving people gathered this past weekend for Seattle's 18th annual Hempfest, is another band at Woodstock, Country Joe and The Fish. The Fish is not of Seattle's Pike Place Market but, rather, coming to Woodstock from Berkeley and the Monterey Pop, none other than Barry Melton, a criminal defense attorney for the past 20 years, who recently retired as the Public Defender of Yolo County, California.

We leave you with a little Rock and Soul Music and the thought-provoking question for many, "What were you doing 40 years ago?"

Thanks for the Fish

Blawg Review #225 is presented by Seattle Trademark Lawyer Michael Atkins from the Pike Place Market on its 102nd anniversary.

We Will Rock You

Blawg Review #145, The Super Bowl Edition.
VENI, VIDI, VICI. "I came, I saw, I conquered". Sounds pretty macho, huh? But there's a gentler side to it. First, as a Human Being, and a lawyer, are you prepared to meet the challenges before you? Second, can you think and develop a strategy to survive, prosper and get what you want in life and law? Do you have the right Tools? Third, can you Act? Do you have the sand, the spirit and the moxie for the Arena?
JD Hull, February 4, 2008, on What About Clients?

YouTube Credit: Beyonce, Pink, Britney and Enrique in a Super Bowl commercial for Pepsi, gladiator style.

What About Paris?

Not this trip, but the editor of Blawg Review will visit friends in Europe (London for sure) and maybe Paris will be on the next tour.

Blawg Review Bucket List

Think of it as Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List, or Easy Rider, meets Jack Kerouac, On the Road.

The editor of Blawg Review is going on a cross-country tour, a quest to discover himself and see America through the eyes of lawyers who blog, as many as possible, starting this September.

Longtime readers remember Blawg Review #89: The Mummer's Veil on New Years Day 2007 when the anonymous editor appeared as the lone mummer visiting legal webloggers far and near in the blogosphere.

Well, this time, it's for real.

If you'd like the editor of Blawg Review to visit you in weeks ahead, just email or tweet an invitation describing what we'd see and do in your city for an hour, a day, or two, who we'd meet there, and when might be convenient to stop by.

And then follow along here over the next several weeks and months as we update this post with stories and photos of this journey and links to all the law bloggers who make the Blawg Review Bucket List.

The adventure begins...

I Get Around to Conferences

If you're not following @blawgreview on Twitter, you might have missed this tweet:

blawgreview #ILTA09 wondering if Ed @blawgreview might meet followers of Blawg Review @ilta09

Dave Gulbransen, host of Blawg Review #23, #70 and #122, who recently caught up with the anonymous editor of Blawg Review in Chicago for the IP Business Congress 2009, replied with this tweet:

dgulbran @blawgreview Are you a professional conference attendee, or what? :)

What can I say? With a nod to the formerly anonymous author of this week's Blawg Review #224 hosted on the Times of London, BabyBarista alter-ego Tim Kevan, who also wrote Why Lawyers Should Surf, let's just say, "I get around."

When I grow up to be a man
Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?
Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn't done what I did?
Will I joke around and still dig those sounds
When I grow up to be a man?

Hello BabyBarista

Blawg Review #224 is written by Tim Kevan, a British barrister and professional writer, indeed, a published author. His first novel, recently published by Bloomsbury, BabyBarista and the Art of War is based on this blog he writes for The Times. He is also the co-author of Why Lawyers Should Surf. Tim lives by the sea, goes surfing at the merest hint of swell, and is a co-founder of two businesses. You can follow the adventures of Tim and his surfing puppy, Jack, at The Barrister Blog. To buy a copy of one of Tim Kevan's books click here.

Goodbye London. Next week, Blawg Review #225 takes us over the pond to America and across the country to Washington State, where Michael Atkins Seattle Trademark Lawyer hosts the carnival of law blogs from the world-famous Pike Place Market.

Anonymous Editor Unmasked

Twitter outage this week forced the editor of Blawg Review to bust out the old technology to keep in touch with his most demanding followers, while still ensuring anonymity. The bat phone has toll free access throughout the USA and Canada, the UK, Europe, and Southeast Asia, including Australia. Purrfect!

BabyBarista Book Review

by Colin Samuels

BabyBarista is hosting Blawg Review #224 and this might be a good time to review his new book, BabyBarista and the Art of War, so our followers get a sense of what to expect from his Blawg Review.

I'm often frustrated by book reviews for the simple reason that most tend to avoid answering the question "Is this book worth reading?" I'll not make that mistake in writing about Tim Kevan's BabyBarista and The Art of War. This is a book worth reading; it's entertaining and insightful, building upon the best aspects of the much-praised BabyBarista blog and providing greater depth and color (or should that be colour?) to its characters and stories. It's not a flawless novel, but it's well worth your time. Kevan's publishers were kind enough to send me a pre-release copy for review (the book will be widely available on 3 August), but I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a copy for a friend rather than part with my own. I can't think of higher praise to offer than that.

Kevan is a witty and observant writer, skills he's honed at his formerly-anonymous blog. While many other blogs have had decidedly mixed results in translating what worked online into dead-tree success, Kevan shows a keen appreciation of his online audience's tastes. He keeps his pacing brisk without being too choppy; he adds to the roles played by secondary and incidental characters without losing focus on BabyBarista and his circle of friends and rivals; he offers insight into the arcane and insular world of the barrister without playing-down dark satire.

BabyBarista and The Art of War focuses on BabyBarista's death march through his year-long pupillage, a final-stage apprenticeship during which law graduates gain work experience with practicing barristers and compete with other pupils to for a position as a barrister in an established chambers. He describes the process in his diary of his first day:
[T]he ordeal through which the Bar Council continues to force its brightest and best.... A sort of upper-class reality show in microcosm every one of your foibles will be analysed and where a blackball system exists so that if you annoy one person, you're out. [Y]ou're playing to the lowest common denominator. Attempting to be as inoffensive as possible in the sound knowledge that it won't be the votes in favour that get you in but the lack of votes against.
The novel's principal characters come to life without intrusive exposition. BabyBarista is spare with details of his own situation, but what he provides to his friend, Claire, to his mentor, OldRuin, or directly to us serves to illuminate the financial desperation which drives him to succeed in his pupillage both by displaying his own merits and by subtly destroying his fellow pupils' chances. His three (later four) co-pupils seem at first to be mere caricatures of familiar personalities — Worrier is details-obsessed to the point she's unable to function professionally; BusyBody's instinct to be everywhere, to have her hand in every project, and to be all things to all people makes her a whirl of unproductive but frenzied activity; TopFirst's stellar academic achievements and social connections mask a wicked soul. As time goes by, however, these characters acquire greater depth and by the time a fourth pupil-competitor joins the fray, all of their behaviors become understandable. This is not to say that they, or BabyBarista necessarily, become invariably sympathetic characters, but they become real, something mere caricatures cannot be.

BabyBarista's pupillage experiences provide some startling criticisms of the practice of law generally and the pupillage system particularly. BabyBarista and his mother have essentially locked themselves into a high-stakes wager that, against exceptionally-long odds, BabyB can complete his climb from modest origins to lucrative barristers' chambers. As he nears that objective, the added (often unreasonable) financial pressures of the pupillage year heighten his sense of desperation and drive him to trade what he knows to be right for expedient gains or short-term personal or professional advantage. He laments that "[I]t's no different to bear baiting or cock fighting. They plunge us into debt before we get here and then leave us to fight it out, Deathmatch style." Later, after a particularly appalling incident, he warns that "[W]hatever you do, don't let the lawyers start worrying about getting paid. However much they protest otherwise, it's there in their mind. Not even at the back of their mind." His experiences highlight a system which seems designed in part to focus pupils' and barristers' minds on their own finances rather than clients' best interests and to effectively filter out those without independent means from the practice of law.

The practicing barristers who mentor BabyBarista illustrate both the best and worst aspects of legal practice. OldRuin provides an aspirational view of the lawyer as a professional, held by others and himself to a higher standard of conduct; he is at times unrealistic about the realities of modern legal practice and unwilling to challenge its more base practitioners, but he also offers some insights which should make clear to all of us who practice law that ours is a profession and not merely a business. TheBoss is a cautionary tale from start to end; he behaves unethically and cowardly, but even he becomes more real as we come to understand that he is like a Ghost of BabyBarista Yet to Come (apologies to Dickens). TheBoss is in many ways the product and victim of the finance-obsessed side of legal practice which afflicts BabyBarista; whereas BabyB sees the riches of practice, rightly or wrongly, as his and his mother's salvations, for TheBoss it has become a damnation, trapping him into an increasingly-desperate cycle of misdeeds to perpetuate his lifestyle and social position. In lesser hands, characters like OldRuin and TheBoss would be like the stereotypical angel and devil perched on the protagonist's shoulders, whispering in his ear, but Kevan writes his secondary players far less clichéed.

As I've said, though, BabyBarista is not a flawless novel. Structurally, the ending is a bit too abrupt and convenient; considering how effectively Kevan paced and plotted his novel to that point, he could have arrived at his destination with greater style and less haste. More broadly, while Kevan ventures beyond the constraints of his successful blog, he doesn't venture very far beyond. It seems that BabyBarista's chambers are meant to be at least somewhat representative of other chambers and of the larger bar. Nonetheless, the exclusive focus on the misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance within BabyBarista's chambers without even passing looks at others' (despite his extensive interaction with Claire and other pupils in the shared library and elsewhere) creates an impression that BabyB's chambers are an aberration. This tends to undercut the universality of his struggles and experiences, diminishing them as broader commentaries on pupillage and legal practice. Those on the inside of the profession, barristers particularly, will relish the satirical elements but may find it somewhat too easy to dismiss Kevan's deeper criticisms when his satire strays a bit too far in places into broad comedy. If readers find Kevan's insights into the practice of law easier to dismiss for these reasons, that's an opportunity lost; these issues deserve to be considered and discussed seriously.

It's churlish of me to note that what Kevan's done, he's done very well, but to then mark him down a bit for expanding on an excellent blog but not transcending it. Please understand, however, that this is the criticism of someone who greatly enjoyed BabyBarista and The Art of War and recommends it highly, but who can still imagine how much more it might have been.

BabyBarista and The Art of War

By Tim Kevan
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2009)
Paperback (288 pages)
£7.19 (

But don't just take our recommendation. Read the reviews by our English friends, John Bolch, CharonQC, and Geeklawyer, and then go buy the book. Don't shatter this puppy's dream!

Donoghue's Carnival of Trust

At the Chicago IP Litigation Blog, R. David Donoghue hosts the Carnival of Trust for August 2009 -- a great selection of blog posts about trust, of special interest to professionals involved with intellectual property management, law, and policy.

We got together recently in Chicago, where Dave hosted some IP law bloggers at the infamous Billy Goat Tavern. At that time, we agreed he would hafta host Blawg Review, again.

Donoghue is no stranger to the blog carnival lifestyle, having hosted Blawg Review #133 and #173 and an edition of the Carnival of Trust for May 2008.

Some say, if it weren't for the fact that he can make mo' buck as a patent attorney, he'd rather be a carny.

Blawg Review Caribana

Welcome to Blawg Review #223, from Toronto, Canada, where we celebrate multi-cultural diversity, hosting one of North America's largest and most vibrant carnivals, Caribana.

It began as the Toronto Caribbean community's salute to Canada's Centennial year. Now in its second millennium, its fifth decade and its 42nd year, the Scotiabank Caribana Festival is one of North America's greatest celebrations, attracting an estimated million participants annually. Rooted in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, it has become an international festival where you might experience Jamaican reggae, Brazilian samba or African djembe rhythms alongside Latin salsa, Haitian zouk or urban sounds, all blended with calypso and soca vibes.

Between the Caribana Festival in Toronto, Canada, these past few weeks, and the controversy across America over Gatesgate, there's Blawg Review, the carnival of law blogs. This week, filling in for our scheduled host are Ed. and Colin Samuels in this post, and Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice adding his own brand of Blawg Review: Sphincter Rules.

Ainsley Brown at Law Is Cool reminds us that August 1 was a day of remembrance.

Vickie Pynchon wrote a post discussing the cop, the president, the professor and civil harassment mediation, and followed up this teachable moment with another good post.

Patrick at Popehat has some thoughts about the Bartender in Chief, as does Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, who suggests there are many more who might be wanting the President's brand of mediation. Victoria Pynchon adds, "And I would be surprised if somebody didn't say, 'I'm sorry I acted like an asshole.' Let he who has never been an asshole cast the first stone.

Diane Levin asks if it's time to professionalize the field of conflict resolution and establish more formal mechanisms for credentialing mediators.

Jack Layton, a Canadian political leader interviewed in the Caribana video at the link first above, wrote on the Huffington Post in Defending Canada's Health Care.

John Hirst wonders whether the UK will stand up to bullying by the US to extradite a British hacker under anti-terror laws. They didn't, so the man, who allegedly was infiltrating Pentagon computers looking for information about UFOs, will likely stand trial in the United States.

The crImmigration blog, edited by Carlos Moctezuma García and César Cuauhtémoc García, reports that the “mere fact of a DHS opposition to a motion, in and of itself, should not be dispositive of the motion without regard to the merit of that opposition.”

Dan Harris lauds the FCPA Blog and offers some general Foreign Corrupt Practices Act guidance for companies doing business in China.

Ilya Somin notes the vastness of federal criminal law and suggests that all of us are likely running afoul of such law more often than we'd care to acknowledge. Matt Kaiser suggests that reliance on prosecutorial discretion to check the scope of federal criminal law is misplaced: "the incentives line up wrong for prosecutors. They’re given awards for convictions. Do they get recognized for recognizing good judgment and walking away from a case?"

David Oxenford provides an excellent rundown of the many considerations when a broadcaster winds down temporarily or permanently or transfers its operations to a charity.

Jack Balkin discusses a recent paper which suggests that strong abortion rights for women have undermined traditional marriage by allowing married fathers no greater rights in a pregnancy than unmarried fathers have. Ilya Somin is there to save the day, noting that there's at least one "really romantic" reason to get married -- better property rights in a few states at least.

Rick Horowitz writes that the release of the 911 tape in the Gates arrest matter illustrates a broader issue which is, for once, not race-related -- the tendency of police reports to misquote witnesses to provide clearer support for the police's actions.

David Osborne's faith in the British jury system is somewhat shaken and he's doubting juries' abilities to find the truth in trials more reliably than judges: "Sadly, I must revisit my support for trial by jury, which is now an anachronism. It served a purpose, but no longer, and by persevering with it, we risk making a laughing stock out of the criminal law." Andy Mergendahl hasn't completely lost faith yet and he discusses a few best practices for bench trials in the UK, suggesting when it's better to try things to a jury.

Shawn Foust notes that companies' uses of in-game monitors raise complex DMCA issues but he suggests that these human monitors are still, on balance, of greater value to game companies for their roles in enforcing games' term of use.

Audrey Millemann notes that "Patent law is a complicated area of law governed by a confusing set of statutes and regulations"; she tackles a few of the misconceptions about patent law and attempts to make things a bit less complex.

"Country lawyer" Patrick tears down a few of the more obnoxious negotiation mannerisms employed by his city brethren. My favorite: "Do not “name-drop” famous friends like Gerry Spence, unless you believe that there is a high probability that Mr. Spence or his like will actually intervene on your behalf. Better still, if Mr. Spence is willing to intervene for you, let him make the introduction by himself."

Lyle Denniston discusses a recent suggestion by a lower court that dicta in the SCOTUS' Heller decision has damaged further exploration of some related issues by lower courts.

Brian Tannebaum criticizes the deference allowed to police testimony and the reluctance of many to call lying policemen on their lies, promoting public safety interests over justice.

Scott Greenfield says there is probably no "tool" that has done more for injecting a wee bit of honesty into busts than the dash cam, and posts a police video to prove it.

We're reminded by Tom Kirkendall that police behaving badly is not just an American problem, this video being evidence that it's far worse in England.

Charon QC is reworking one of his contracts treatises and is making it available for free on his website. It's approximately 2/3s complete right now.

Jordan Furlong at has written an article on the implications of "free" on the legal profession and the practice of law.

Simon Fodden at writes of squigglies, pilcrows, and gaspers for lawyers.

Michael Geist discusses the Amazon Kindle and an Orwellian Misstep.

Scott Greenfield has a very thoughtful post about life and death in the blawgosphere.

If you're thinking, great, we'd like more good stuff like that, just link on over to Simple Justice for the rest--the best--of Blawg Review #223 hosted by Scott Greenfield, who said he'd never host again.

Invitation to Scott Greenfield


This week's host (one of those law practice coaches) has gone AWOL and can't be found. Doesn't reply to email.

Colin Samuels is on holiday with his family (a work/life balance thing) and hasn't sent in any recommendations.

Professor Kingsfield refuses to fill in for the slackoisie while he's taking the summer to prepare for another academic year. You know how profs are--busy this time of year.

So, it looks like the anonymous editor will have to host Blawg Review on short notice.

Unless, of course, you'd like to host tomorrow's Blawg Review.

Bear in mind, you wouldn't be able to link to any of Dan Hull's excellent posts from your Blawg Review. He's funny that way. Hilarious, really.

Anyway, let me know if you're up for it.

Otherwise, I'll just do my thing, and we'll have to see how it turns out tomorrow.



Update: this just in from SHG

Me? Of all people? I hated it. Despised it. Mine sucked worse than anybody's. Mine was the worst ever. Oh yeah. And I hate you too. I'll do it because it's raining out. You suck.