Blawg Review

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

Do you blawg?

In the cover story of April's Washington Lawyer, Sarah Kellogg asks the question everyone's asking lawyers these days, "Do you blog?"

Her overview of the current state of the blawgosphere includes quotes from some of the leading law bloggers, and wraps up with a wonderful list of the writer's favorite blawgs, including some new blogs and friends of Blawg Review, too.
Denise Howell, who coined the term blawg and is considered one of the Internet’s blog pioneers, says the nascent days of legal web logs were marked by a frontier spirit that was equal parts anticipation and exhilaration.

“You could tell early on that web logs would be very appealing to lawyers because we’re uniquely suited to doing this,” says Howell, a lawyer with Reed Smith’s appellate and intellectual property practices in Los Angeles and the publisher of the popular Bag and Baggage. “Lawyers are trained to write . . . and research. The writing they generate tends to have some credibility behind it. That is the crux of web logging right there.”
The writer makes a pithy observation that is probably a better way of writing what I said on Notes from the (Legal) Underground, yesterday.
The greatest contribution blogs may make to the legal profession is their ability to reveal talent and expertise often hidden in courtrooms and boardrooms. Blogs excel at getting the word out, and observers say lawyers who embrace them are bound to be rewarded with fans and fame.

Instead of waiting for months or years to be published in a legal journal or magazine, attorneys can pen a short article or commentary expressing their views on any range of subjects, dramatically cutting the time it takes to reach colleagues and the public.

The blogosphere is teeming with topic-specific blogs that have won kudos from legal experts for their ability to supply timely information that is unique and hard to find.
Hard to find until now, that is. Blawg Review is a collaborative project of a group of law bloggers who are committed to making the best of the blawgosphere more easily accessible and enjoyable to read.

Let's get the word out. Please give Blawg Review a shoutout in your blawg, and a permanent link in your blogroll. Your fellow bloggers who are participating in this open-source project will be thankful you gave them your support and encouragement.

What's new? Blawg Review

An abridged Guest Post by the anonymous Editor 'n' Chef first published on Notes from the (Legal) Underground.

Just as weblogs have had a huge impact on mainstream media, bringing down rather pompous network news anchors and discredited journalists from fake news agencies, law blogs are providing critical analyses of topical legal issues that are changing how we look at Law Review.
What the hell is law review, anyway?

Let's start with the basics. Law reviews are academic legal journals that publish articles by law professors, judges, lawyers and even law students. If you think that sounds boring, you are so right. Check out this sampling of recently published articles: "Textualism and the Equity of the Statute" (Columbia Law Review), "The Legal and Institutional Preconditions for Strong Securities Markets" (UCLA Law Review) and "Preventing Insider Misappropriation of Not-for-Profit Health Care Provider Assets: A Federal Tax Law Prescription" (Washington Law Review).

Just imagine the soporific torment of those poor souls who actually had to read those articles. Grab a cup of coffee to wake up and we'll continue...

Why do I care?

Law review is important because working on one will help you land that job where they throw buckets of cash at you every week. "You gain skills through law review (and through every journal) that employers like for you to have," said Morgan [co-editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Women's Law Journal and member of the California Law Review]. "You learn editing skills, how to support a legal argument, actual legal research and writing skills. It also shows a commitment to something rigorous that demands a lot of your time. Employers are impressed by that."

In other words, employers assume that if you were willing to spend hundreds of hours hunched over piles of footnotes, you will be even more willing to spend thousands of hours hunched over piles of documents when someone is actually paying you for it.
While making big bucks at BigLaw was once the highest career objective of aspiring law students, the Internet has changed all that. Anonymous Lawyer bloggers, who might not even be lawyers yet, can get a book deal from blogging. Law Professors, who used to write law review articles, are rebelling against traditonal Law Review attitude problems with copyright protection and are insisting on reserving some rights under creative commons licenses afforded them by blogs. And at least one activist judge is eschewing Law Review, too, preferring the freedom of the blog to the oversight of law review editors. In his recent article in Legal Affairs, the magazine at the intersection of law and life, Judge Posner excoriates Law Review noting, inter alia:
I have spoken thus far of the law reviews as publishers of scholarly articles submitted to them. But in addition, of course, they publish articles (usually and misleadingly called "notes" or "comments") written by the members of a law review's staff. The opportunity to publish provides valuable experience. This, plus the rising quality of law students, may explain the enormous increase in the number of law reviews—law schools that used to have just one now often have two and sometimes three or four. My only criticism of the student-written portions of the law reviews is that the students have a propensity to write about "hot" subjects, like partial-birth abortion, gay marriage, and capital punishment, to the neglect of equally important commercial subjects that cry out for informed doctrinal analysis.
They'd all really rather be blogging. So, the time has come to announce Blawg Review, the next big thing in blogging for lawyers, law professors, judges who blog, and law students who'd rather make a name for themselves than make law review.

How can everyone get involved?
  • Submit great posts from your own law blog for publication on Blawg Review, which is hosted on a different blog every Monday.

  • Host an upcoming issue of Blawg Review on your own incredible law blog. Evan Schaeffer is hosting "Blawg Review #1" on Notes from the (Legal) Underground on April 11th. Kevin Heller is hosting "Blawg Review #3" at Tech Law Advisor, and others have already signed on for subsequent issues. Reserve a date for your blawg review, now!

  • Write a review of a blawg for publication on Blawg Review. Maybe someone will review yours.

  • Add a link to Blawg Review on your blog and spread the word throughout the blogosphere, especially when your own fantastic posts are reviewed for all to see.
Life is a carnival; take a second look at Carnival of the Vanities, Carnival of the Capitalists, and Grand Rounds where the medical profession up and joins the circus every week.

Let's show the blogosphere what's really happening at the intersection of law and life these days—and who the heck are these interesting legal professionals who blawg. Where's the law bloggers' carnival?

Life is a Carnival

Blawg Review, the carnival of the law bloggers, premieres on April 11 at Evan Schaeffer's Notes from the (Legal) Underground.

In the meantime, you might want to take a second look at the latest offerings of Carnival of the Vanities, Carnival of the Capitalists, and Grand Rounds where health professionals go off their meds blogs once a week.

If you're a law blogger, get ready to show the blogosphere what's really happening at the intersection of law and life these days. Evan Schaeffer is already accepting submissions for Blawg Review #1.

Here's how to get your blog posts reviewed on Blawg Review.

Have some fun with it.

Editor's Note 04/12/05: They really did have fun with it.

"Wow! Ok, I get the whole "Carnival" thing now," says Denise Howell in a rave review of Blawg Review. "The blawgosphere needed this. Hopefully it will be a vehicle for introducing the long tail of law bloggers to a diverse and dispersed readership."

Write a Review of a Blawg

Not only is this weblog the place to start getting involved with the traveling carnival we call Blawg Review, it's also a venue for reviews of law blogs.

Everyone can get involved by writing a review of a blawg and submitting it for publication here. You can submit a review of any blawg you like, and even one you don't like. It doesn't have to be a famous blawg with a million page views a month, and it doesn't have to be a rave review. Reviews don't have to be serious; we'll accept hilarious.

Maybe you'd like your blawg reviewed. Do tell us about it, and we'll see if one of our editors would be up for that—or is it down with that? I guess that's why we have editors.

From time to time, our contributing editors will write blawg reviews here, but mostly the reviews will be contributed by readers and bloggers. Generally, reviews of blawgs will be published with a byline crediting the writer, and linking back to the reviewer's own blawg. There might be the odd writer who prefers to have a review published without attribution or retribution, and if it's done well, and is not too libelous, the Editor could post it anonymously.

Editor's Note: 13/04/05 If you'd like to see an example of an excellent format for a review, check out this review of by Evan Schaeffer. This is an excellent example of the length of review that is just about right for this weblog forum.

The review highlights something about the character of the blawg that helps readers better understand or appreciate it. And this review adopts a style that we'd like to see others follow, adding links to a few posts from the reviewed blawg that, in the opinion of the reviewer, give the reader some insight into a law blog that is worthy of special attention.

We think this style is very much in the spirit of our weekly Blawg Review, which hightlights the best posts from the blawgosphere each week, except, in the case of these individual reviews of law blogs, the focus is on one specific blawg, from the perspective of the reviewer.

Hosting Guidelines

If you're thinking about hosting Blawg Review on your law blog, you might like an overview of how this works before getting involved.

Maybe you've been following the blog carnivals over the past couple of years. Some blog carnivals have been very successful, and now, at, you can see how the genre has grown to reflect the diversity of the Internet.

But what about Blawg Review, specifically? For those whose posts are reviewed, it's an opportunity to get seen and linked by other legal bloggers. For the hosts, it's an opportunity to gain exposure to the audience of regular readers of Blawg Review. Many will be motivated to participate just because it's a good way to help others, who might be new to law blogging, to get discovered and find a wider audience for their blawgs.

There are only two standards we ask Blawg Review hosts to maintain:

1. The title of the Blawg Review in each host blawg shall be simply: Blawg Review #[insert consecutive issue number].

2. At the end of each hosted review there shall be a sentence that reads: Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Between those standard requirements, each host is free to organize and present the Blawg Review, without restrictions on personal creativity. That said, personal creativity does not include license to reinvent this wheel, or to experiment with a different day of the week to publish Blawg Review, or to split the Blawg Review into chapters or parts published beyond the date scheduled for the host. It is the concept of Blawg Review, within reason, to be inclusive of all posts submitted for review in the week prior to each issue.

To participate as a host, just provide us with the host blawg URL and an active email address where you will receive Blawg Review submissions. We never publish your email address, but forward all submissions through Blawg Review's email to your inbox during the week prior to your hosting date. If this is not your regular email address, it might be helpful to provide another confidential email address where you would like to receive a reminder of your hosting commitment sometime in advance.

Blaw Review will be published on a different law blog every Monday, commencing April 11, 2005 at Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground, who starts with a traditional blog carnival format, as an example.

If you'd like to host an upcoming Blawg Review on your law blog, just let us know the Date Available that you would prefer to host, by sending an email addressed to:

host at blawg review dot com

We'll get right back to you.

Okay, those are the basics, all you need to help you decide whether you're up for the challenge of hosting Blawg Review.

If you have any questions or concerns about hosting Blawg Review, or want clarification of anything to help you prepare to host, please don't hesitate to send us an email. We're here to help.

UPDATE: 08/22/05

Read: Best Practices for Driving Traffic with Blog Carnivals

Law Professor Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, adds this helpful advice and we encourage every host to send a nice friendly email to so he knows your Blawg Review is posted.

UPDATE: 02/02/06

Unlike most other blog carnivals, which rely only on submissions, Blawg Review collects the best of the law blogs each week from various sources, including the recommendations of readers of law blogs.

A peer-reviewed blog carnival, the host of each Blawg Review decides which of the submissions and recommended posts are suitable for inclusion in the presentation. The host is encouraged to source another dozen or so interesting posts to fit with any special theme of that issue of Blawg Review.

The host's personal selections usually include several that reflect the character and subject interests of the host blawg, recognizing that the regular readership of the blog should find some of the usual content, and new readers of the blog via Blawg Review ought to get some sense of the unique perspective and subject specialties of the host.

To these recommendations and selections are added most of those posts submitted by law bloggers on their own behalf. It's the essence of a blog carnival that it provides a forum for bloggers to submit their own posts that they think meet the standards and subject interests of that carnvial, and the character and interests of the anticipated host, so we encourage hosts to err on the side of accepting those submissions and to discuss any controversial submissions with the the Editor if there is any question. In the end, the host has the final cut, as it is the host's blog publication.

Blawg Review benefits from the widest possible participation and relies on submissions and recommendations from all law bloggers, and many of our previous hosts continue to be our strongest contributors.

Submission Guidelines

Submit your best post or another's recent law blog post that you would like to recommend for consideration by the host of the next issue of Blawg Review.

Deadline for submissions shall be 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturdays for publication on Mondays. It would be appreciated if submissions were sent throughout the week, and not left to the last minute, so that our good hosts are able to organize their Blawg Review ahead of time, as their busy schedules permit.

You can use this handy Blog Carnival submission form:

Blog Carnival submission form - blawg review

Or just send an email addressed in standard form to:

post at blawgreview dot com

This is the only address you'll ever need to know to submit any post to Blawg Review. Through technology that amazes us, this email address automatically forwards submissions to the attention of the next host. You don't have to figure out who's hosting next week, or search the internet looking for some new address for Blawg Review every week.

Your email should include this info about your submission:

* ________________________________

Email Subject Line: Blawg Review

Blawg Title:

Blawg URL:

Post Headline:

Permanent link to the post:

Trackback, if any:

Your Name: Legal Name, Username, Nickname, or Pseudonym

Description or Excerpt: **


* Just highlight and copy what's between the lines above, and paste it into the body of your email as a handy outline for your submission.

** It helps the host, sometimes, to know upfront how the writer would present the submission. The host shall be at liberty to present the submission, or not, or make another presentation of the post as seems appropriate to the host for that Blawg Review, with unfettered discretion.