Blawg Review

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


Rethink(IP) is a product of the collaboration of three intellectual property attorneys from three different firms. J. Matthew Buchanan, Stephen Nipper, and Douglas Sorocco originally met in the legal section of the blogosphere -- they each maintain an intellectual property blog of their own -- and quickly became friends over countless e-mail messages and chat sessions.

And then there was Techshow.

The trio met in person for the first time at last year's ABA Techshow. Over drinks and several late night conversations with leading thinkers from the blawgosphere and legal technology industry, they detected similarities in their approach to professional practice and knew they had to do something together.

Nipper is credited with the original pie-in-the sky idea: "Let's make the practice better." He uttered those words so simply and so matter-of-factly.

After 2 AM, with drinks in hand, the three bloggers created Rethink(ip) on a cocktail napkin in the hotel bar. They've been striving to "make the practice better" ever since.

The guiding principle of the collaboration is the need for a rethinking of the practice of intellectual property law. Each of the rethinkers believes that there is drastic room for improvement in the practice...and that the answer does not lie in an increase in billable hours.

Since its launch in April, the blog has included quick tips for improving day-to-day practice, thoughts on improving client relationships, and personal accounts relating to the general concept of "rethinking" a topic.

Their efforts to improve the practice have recently expanded to include new tools designed to improve the practice. As of last week, subscribers can get news from the Patent and Trademark Office delivered via RSS and e-mail -- a service the Office has shown no sign of providing.

The rethinkers see their mission to "make the practice better" as a long and winding road and plan to use the rethink(ip) blog to document the journey.

On Monday, September 5, the Carnival of the Capitalists for business bloggers is being hosted at Rethink(IP), so these rethinkers are encouraging all law bloggers who mean business to submit a post there, as well as to Blawg Review this week.

What's this you say? Lawyers hosting a business blog carnival? Sure, lawyers are capitalists too. For a couple of great examples, check out the Carnival of the Capitalists at and, more recently, at Law & Entrepreneurship News.

If you want to showcase one of your law blog posts on a subject of interest to business bloggers on Carnival of the Capitalists, just use this handy CotC Submission Page this week, or any week in fact. It's good for business.

Previewing Blawg Review #21

Carolyn Elefant is hosting Blawg Review #21 at My Shingle

Blog Carnivals Boost Traffic

Contributors to blog carnivals, like the business bloggers at Carnival of the Capitalists, the medibloggers at Grand Rounds, and the law bloggers here at Blawg Review, have a good idea that participation in blog carnivals results in an increase in blog traffic. For most of us, it's not quite clear how exactily that works, but it makes sense.

Best Practices for Driving Traffic with Blog Carnivals is a very informative blog post that explains in great detail how bloggers can participate in these blog carnivals strategically to boost traffic.

The analysis concludes that law professor Glenn Reynolds is the traffic key. When a blog carnival is announced on his blog,, the carnival host gets a significant traffic spike that is affectionately called an instalanche, which benefits all the bloggers who participate in that blog carnival. For participants in Blawg Review, Professor Reynolds is more than a source of blog traffic; he's a professional colleague, teacher and mentor. And law bloggers value his support and encouragement.

We also appreciate the support that Blawg Review receives from lawyers, law students and law professors who participate as contributors and hosts, and the link love of friends and readers who share our entertaining legal resource with their blog readers each week.

Previewing Blawg Review #20

The Mommy Blawg recently turned two years old, a time for reflection by this stay-at-home, work-at-home, mommy lawyer, a pregnant mother of two young boys who still finds time to blog.
My introductory post is here. Never turns out quite the way you expected it to, does it?

When I started this blawg two years ago, I was a relative newcomer to the blogosphere. Really, I had only read a few blogs and most of what I knew about blogging came from print media. Not that I am a newbie by any means; on the contrary. I was using the Internet before the World Wide Web as we know it today even existed...

So it took me a little while to find my "voice". At one point, I considered re-launching my blog as an information-only, narrow-topic, no personal information included, blog. I'm glad I didn't. While I greatly respect blawgs that focus on one practice area, and agree that it can be a great marketing tool, it's just not me. I like to read blogs that have some personal content, though not ones that are all personal content. I just can't stand reading those livejournal and xanga blogs that let you know which Flintstone vitamins they ate this morning. But if I'm going to read a blogger on a regular basis, I like to know a little about their personality and what's going on in their life. A little, but not too much.

Anyhow, that debate became a moot point when I launched The Baby Blawg, my online pregnancy journal. I find that I'm much more comfortable posting personal content over there. And my blogging focus has narrowed considerably without my doing so intentionally, as I become more knowledgeable about and interested in certain things.
For example, The Mommy Blawg is the go-to blawg for the latest about the law of breastfeeding and, for patent attorneys who've been reading Blawg Review lately, there's this whacky patent for an "Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force." But there's a whole lot more to discover in the archives of this very original blawg, which can be a refreshing read for any lawyer striving to balance work and life.

This week, The Mommy Blawg presents Blawg Review #20 with a special theme that reveals even more about the personal life of this very entertaining blogger.

As a footnote, in celebration of The Mommy Blawg—and mothers, bellies and babies everywhere—we present this slideshow from the collection of bellymotherbaby photography.

Update 08/30/2005: Reflections on Blawg Review #20

Patent Pending

a powerblog review by Anita Campbell

This week's PowerBlog Review is about the blog Patent Pending.

Or, as the full title describes the site, "Patent Pending - Inventions and Technology Updates For Fans of Inventions and Technology, Startup Companies and Entrepreneurs."

The Patent Pending blog is the brainchild of Robert Shaver, an attorney from Boise, Idaho, USA who enjoys technology.

Patent law blogs are nothing new -- there are dozens already. But Patent Pending is different. It is so interesting.

Robert says he didn't set out to write a typical "blawg" or law blog. Mostly those are read by lawyers and as he says, patent law is "a boring subject even for me."

Instead, he wanted to write about things that were of interest to non-attorneys -- things that inventors or other people interested in inventions and technology would want to read.

Robert has always liked to read facts about inventions, such as the items that trivia columnist L.M. Boyd used to write. He thought that if he liked it, so might others. So he decided to write about what interested him, using L.M. Boyd for inspiration. He says he looks for "...information that is readable, interesting, and something that the average person would have a hard time finding. Patents are good for that, because there are 6 million of them to choose from."

What you will find at Patent Pending is not typical blog fare. For one thing, it is mostly original content. For another, it is often about events that were news a long time ago, instead of something that happened yesterday or last week. Yet somehow it all seems fresh and relevant. History, technology, inventions, historical patents and trademarks are all covered -- often with a sense of intelligent humor and wit.

Some of the historical patent posts are absorbing -- even when they're about subjects you'd think would be a snooze. Take for instance, the plow. There is a great post on the history of the plow, replete with diagrams of a John Deere patent for a plow. Boring it sounds, but boring it is not. A lot of interest is added by the different patent diagrams and images Robert inserts in the post.

The way Robert approaches his subject matter heightens the interest. One of the techniques he uses adeptly is to tell a story using background information about inventors. One of my favorite posts is about Thomas Edison's invention of the ticker tape. The post illustrates Edison's capabilities as a negotiator, and how he received over ten times the amount for the invention than he expected -- all by knowing when to ask a question rather than answering one. While the post is ostensibly about the ticker tape, it is really a vignette about Thomas Edison the entrepreneur.

In addition to all the invention and technology topics, Patent Pending also gives practical tips about patents for inventors. For instance, did you think getting a patent was expensive? Well, perhaps it's not as expensive as you think, as this post, Patenting Basics, Q & A, points out.

The Power: The Power of Patent Pending is in the content that is full of trivia, but hardly trivial. And it is also in the way the blog tells stories, covers unusual topics, and uses images and diagrams to make for fascinating -- even addicting -- reading out of what would otherwise be dry subject matter.

Creative Headline Award

This week's Creative Headline Award, for the best post announcing Blawg Review, goes to Monica Bay of The Common Scold for this creative headline.

Previewing Blawg Review #19

Our hosts for Blawg Review this week are none other than Frost Brown Todd patent attorneys Stephen R. Albainy-Jenai and Karlyn A. Schnapp, who will be serving up a blawg rebrew at Patent Baristas. "Sharp, stylish, keenly-written and well-informed, this looks like a blog to watch," says Jeremy Phillips of IPKat Blog and the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute at the University of London, England. Well-deserved praise for our hosts.

Google Guest Map w00t!

Check out the new-fangled Blawg Review Guest Map, which we've added so that participants in our little project and our guests can make their mark and link their law blogs on this map of the worldwide web.

Just zoom out to get a broader worldview, or zoom in to find your exact location in "street map view" before putting your mark on the map.

This particularly cool guest map application is based on Google Maps, with all the features of "click and drag" maps, zoom in and out, from street level maps to satellite views. We have guests and law bloggers from all over the world, but the map's initial viewpoint is centered on the USA because most of those participating in Blawg Review seem to be Americans and this perspective facilitates adding markers in that region. (We recognize that there are Blawg Review participants and guests around the world, and we appreciate your participation.)

The key to using this guest map effectively is to "click and drag" the map with your mouse to center on your target area, and zoom in to the close-up street level view, before marking your location accurately. (If you mess up your location on first try—don't worry 'bout it—just send an email to and we'll delete that mistake so you can get your location right-on next time.)

After you add yourself to our guest map, if you think this is the greatest thing you've ever seen on Blawg Review, you might want to mention it on your law blog and link to this post so your peeps can check it out for themselves.

When we have about a thousand World Wide Waldos on our map, your anonymous editor might even hide himself in plain sight. ;-)

Previewing Blawg Review #18

Monica Bay is a lawyer and a professional journalist, with important titles like editor-in-chief of Law Technology News and editorial director of Law Firm Inc. and Small Firm Business.

Somehow, she still finds time for her law blog, which she appropriately titled The Common Scold. In the Commentaries on the Laws of England, Blackstone says of this offence:
Lastly, a common scold, communis rixatrix, (for our law-latin confines it to the feminine gender) is a public nuisance to her neighbourhood. For which offence she may be indicted; and, if convicted, shall be sentenced to be placed in a certain engine of correction called the trebucket, castigatory, or cucking stool, which in the Saxon language signifies the scolding stool; though now it is frequently corrupted into ducking stool, because the residue of the judgement is, that, when she is so placed therein, she shall be plunged in the water for her punishment. (Bl. Comm. IV:13.5.8) more...
Blogging, Monica's free to be as meddlesome, argumentative and opinionated as she damn well pleases. And if ya wanna disagree with anything she writes on her blawg, well, comments are enabled.

Seriously though, anyone who's met Mon knows she's a real sweetie and a lot of fun to hang out with, especially at a ballgame when her Yankees are winning. If you ever get the chance to meet with her at LexThink or one of the many law conferences she's called upon by her work to attend, you'll find she's got lots to add to the discussion about law and lawyers. So don't hesitate to seek her out. She's fun to chat with, and smart too. Give a listen.

Small Business Trends

Anita Campbell is a former General Counsel who now has her own consultancy and writes about the forces that drive small and midsize business on her weblog, Small Business Trends.

She really knows how to structure a blog post to announce the latest Blawg Review and other business blog carnivals. Take a look at this excellent post for an example of how a blogger generously gives some well-deserved link love to a Blawg Review host who did so much work to organize the best of the blogosphere and—looking out for her own readers—mentions one or two post reviews that might be of special interest, given the subject matter of her own blog. Now, that's providing something value-added for her blog readers—her perspective and personal recommendations.

Anita Campbell is scheduled to host her own Blawg Review early in 2006 on Small Business Trends, named as a Forbes Best of the Web in the category of Small Business Blogs. There we'll take our carnival of law bloggers on the road with prospective business clients.