Blawg Review

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

Real Lawyers Blog Carnivals

Blawg Review #42 is being hosted next at Cyberlaw Central by Kevin Thompson, an intellectual property attorney in Chicago, where his law practice is concerned with trademark, copyright, and the Internet.

This week, Kevin took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his law blog, as a preview for his Blawg Review.

How has blogging connected you with other interesting people in the legal community?
One of the highlights over the past year was being invited to the BlawgThink conference (held here in Chicago!) where I got to meet some people I'd been reading, meet some more great people I've since added to my aggregator, and then really figure out where I want to go with my blog. I still have a separate folder in Bloglines where I group the feeds from my fellow attendees.
Many, like you, who attended BlawgThink 2005 said afterwards on their blogs that the opportunity to meet face-to-face with like-minded people they were already familiar with from reading blawgs was a lasting benefit of that unique event. Was there anything on the technology side at BlawgThink or the ABA TechShow that grabbed your attention?
My big tech purchase recently was a Tablet PC, mainly to have a better way to use my commuting time. I've really loved using it. I plan to write more about how tech issues are affected by legal concerns, and thereby affecting our digital lifestyle. The tagline for my blog is "the digital world, its impact and legal framework." With that as my guide, I can write about almost anything from recent cases to controversies to my general musings on the nature of the 'net.

For attending BlawgThink in November I received some excellent software packages, including MindManager, One Note, and NoteMap. The first two really take great advantage of the tablet, I’ve enjoyed learning how to use them best. On Thursday I attended a local Bar association lunch seminar, and the speaker let me try out the tablet’s built in microphone while taking notes with OneNote. The sound isn’t the best due to room conditions, but I really like its ability to take me to the time index of the recording from when I made each note. I’ve heard that a lot of attorneys use OneNote to record depositions while taking notes, it really is great on the tablet. I’ve also got good use out of MindManager, I’m starting to get the hang of its pen shortcuts. ActiveWords has also been another great package. I’m sure enjoying learning it, and will write more about that package soon.
I noticed that your Tablet PC review was mentioned by quite a number of other tech bloggers, including one called Kevin 2.0, which really freaked me out when I saw the name. I'll assume that's not you, too. But you'd make a good tech salesman. I see from your resume that you've been there done that, while at university.
Yeah, I was in charge of the Software Sales department of the Division of Information Technology at UW-Madison.
And, reviewing your law firm bio, Kevin, I see also that your interest in writing about these areas of the law goes back to your law school days at DePaul where you were business editor of the DePaul-LCA Journal of Art and Entertainment Law, as well as vice president of the Communications and Technology Law Society. What prompted you to get into blogging?
I started blogging in May of 2005 after a fellow attorney introduced me to RSS, podcasts and aggregation earlier that year. I still remember the day I discovered, by reading a post on another blog, that he was also blogging. He'd kept quiet about it as a social experiment to see how long it would take before we found it. I started to figure out pretty quickly the benefits of getting better known for the area of the law that I really love. I started out on Blogger, and within a month I'd registered my own domain and installed Wordpress. I haven't looked back.
How would you sum up Cyberlaw Central for our readers?
The focus of this blog is the digital world, its impact and legal framework. I write about recent issues, cases, and controversies. I also give my general thoughts about the Internet and its impact upon us and our society. Internet law is my real love, especially how trademarks and copyrights intersect there.
Well, it looks like the intellectual property lawyers have the whole blogosphere covered next week. Between you hosting Blawg Review at Cyberlaw Central and Doug Sorocco and Matt Buchanan hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists over at PHOSITA, there are two blog carnival opportunities for lawyers to showcase their best recent blawg posts.
I should submit something interesting to Carnival of the Capitalists and, hopefully, Doug Sorocco and Matt Buchanan, who hooked up at BlawgThink, too, will submit one of their excellent posts from PHOSITA to my Blawg Review this week—and everyone else who wants to increase exposure for their blawgs should submit something different to each of us, right?
That's how it works. Anyone who wants to get in on these blog carnivals should just follow the submission guidelines for Blawg Review, and for Carnival of the Capitalists, and remember to take into account the special opportunities these two blog carnivals present to reach somewhat different, but overlapping, audiences interested in law and business. Have some fun with them. You'll meet the nicest people.


Everyone is anxiously awaiting the return of David Lat, the former Assistant U.S. Attorney of Underneath Their Robes fame, who has been hired by Gawker Media to fill the Manolos of Ana Marie Cox at Wonkette.

In the meantime, gossipy government gawkers at Wonkette are guest bloggers, who have one thing in common—they're lawyers. Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit gave Wonkette a whirl; today it's Chris Geidner, the Law Dork. Who's next? Bob Loblaw??? Your anonymous Editor??? Who knows?

Google knows that Blawg Review is one of the best sites on the Internet for lawyer gossip. Just today, someone visited Blawg Review searching for jeff toobin sex, no doubt expecting to find this juicy tidbit:
Groupie Sex Here's the hottest blawg gossip. An anonymous blogger recently gave Jeffrey Toobin a ... Jeff Toobin No, you don't need Lasik surgery; yes, you read that correctly.
You can't make this stuff up.

How to Blog Carnival

Walter Olson really gets it. An experienced blogger, the founding editor of the popular Overlawyered weblog often contributes one of his own posts to the weekly Blawg Review. More than that, though, Walter and his colleague Ted Frank really understand how to participate fully in the Blawg Review project.

Here's how Walter linked generously to other law blogs in connection with something of interest to his readers that he discovered in this week's excellent Blawg Review #40:
"Patent troll"

...made the American Dialect Society's list of "Words of the Year 2005" (PDF) (Jan. 6). For more on patent trolls, see our tech/IP page. Also: Patent Baristas, Jan. 4, and Peter Zura's 271 Patent Blog, Dec. 29 (both via Blawg Review #40 at Small Business Trends).
In this week's issue of Blawg Review, on Small Business Trends, Anita Campbell also picked up an Overlawyered post:
Class Actions Gone Wrong - Ted Frank at Overlawyered (great name!) foretells the story of the inevitable class action lawsuit that will be filed over the Oprah/James Frey brouhaha. His description of the how the class action will end is a sad commentary on the state of class action lawsuits these days: “… settling for 50-cent coupons, a donation of remaindered books to a “Books for Addicts” program, and a multi-million-dollar attorney fee.”
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Walter and Ted for all their support and contributions to the success of this project. Not only for the big things, like their excellent presentation of Blawg Review #33 at Overlawyered, but for the little things like thoughfully linking to the presentations of Blawg Review prepared by other hosts.

Who let the blawgs out?

Biz Stone is the author of Who Let the Blogs Out? and Blogging. He helped start Xanga, then spent two years on the Blogger team at Google, and is currently part of Odeo. Genius.

In the introduction to the Blogging Glossary on page 227 of Who Let the Blogs Out?, Biz Stone observes, open-mindedly:
Like any revolutionary new form of communication, the blogging culture generates its fair share of jargon. Various terms mentioned throughout this book as well as a bunch of other strange or related terms have been included in this glossary for anyone hoping to blend in with the blogerati (noun).
Go ahead now, wordanistas, turn to page 228: "Blawg Noun. A blog primarily concerned with legal affairs; a blog written by a lawyer."

What the f/k/a! When did that happen? I was just getting used to blog! What the hell gives people the right to make up new words, anyway?

Enough of this bloggerel, David. You have a very creative weblog, and you're really good with words. You should write a blook.

Fact is, 'Blawg' use in law firms is on the rise. Lawyer Blawgs for Internet Marketing—

Update: A recent article in the Law Gazette adds, "As if to show that the legal profession can make up words with the best of them, law blogs are increasingly being called ‘blawgs’." Heh. The shark has jumped the pond.

Updated: Linguists Mark Liberman and Benjamin Zimmer each wrote thoughful posts on Language Log discussing the "portmanteau" or "sandwich word" blawg. Benjamin Zimmer discusses the phonology of blawg and blog.

Updated: Blawg is one of several blog-related terms in the Wikipedia list of blogging terms, noting that "Blogging, like any hobby, has developed something of a specialised vocabulary. The following is an attempt to explain a few of the more common phrases and words, including etymologies when not obvious."

Updating: So, who really let the blawgs out? Denise Howell Rick Klau Dennis Kennedy Todd Chatman Ernie the Attorney Tom Mighell Robert Unterberger Sherry Fowler Mike Cernovich Kevin Heller Merrick Lozano Matt Homann Neil Squillante Bill Gratch

Jonathan B. Wilson hosts #41

Not many corporate attorneys are both specialists in their field and keen observers of the broader body of law. Fewer still have written a book that diagnoses and prescribes cures for America’s legal excess. And of that number, very few have taken their views to the blawgosphere.

Jonathan B. Wilson, who is hosting Blawg Review #41 on his eponymous blawg, is just such an exception to the rule. A specialist in technology law, he is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Interland, Inc., a company that helps small businesses develop internet platforms.

Jonathan founded and chairs the ABA’s Internet Industry Committee, and has published numerous writings on information technology, intellectual property, and ecommerce.

Last year, Jonathan broadened his focus, penning Out of Balance: Prescriptions for Reforming the American Litigation System, one of the most thoughtful recent treatments of our civil justice system gone awry. Out of Balance chronicles the high costs of litigation from the corporate lawyer’s inside perspective, but its treatment of law and economics, while erudite, is accessible to the novice. In addition to documenting the problems stemming from America’s lawsuit culture, Jonathan proposes solutions—namely limitations on punitive damages and a “loser pays” approach to shifting legal costs.

Jonathan’s foray into the blawgosphere includes his own weblog, where he covers a variety of legal and political issues, from litigation to foreign affairs to judicial nominations. Jonathan Wilson is also a regular contributor to Point of Law, a litigation-focused group blog and web magazine edited by Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute, who is well-known to law bloggers everywhere as the founding editor of the weblog.

Having had the good fortune to get to know Jonathan Wilson over the past year, I am regularly struck by both his depth of knowledge and his breadth of interests. I eagerly anticipate his Blawg Review #41.

this preview was written by James R. Copland and

These Lawyers Mean Business

In the scorching heat of the dog days of summer, Patent Baristas hosted Blawg Review #19, and finished up the year picking up an award for the Best Blawg Theme at the Blawg Review Awards 2005, apparently without breaking a sweat.

Now, following Anita Campbell's "back to business" Blawg Review #40 on Small Business Trends this week, Patent Baristas will be hosting the business bloggers' Carnival of the Capitalists 120th edition next Monday. Are those business bloggers in for a treat, or what?

How Appealing is this?

Appellate Litigator Howard Bashman Joins ALM's as Columnist; Bashman's How Appealing Blog to Join Network
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2006--ALM's today announced that Howard J. Bashman, appellate litigator and author of "How Appealing," one of the Web's leading law blogs, will join as a columnist. Bashman will pen "On Appeal," a weekly column featuring analysis and commentary on issues related to the nation's state and Circuit appellate courts, judges and cases. Bashman's column, "Who'll Be the Supreme Court's Next Swinger?", appears today.

In addition, in April 2006, Bashman's highly-trafficked blog will become part of the Blog Network at the expiration of his current hosting contract. Launched in May 2002, "How Appealing" was the first blog devoted to appellate litigation and has become one of the Web's most popular law blog destinations, attracting more than 10,000 page views per weekday and 30,000 unique weekly visitors.
Now, that's very appealing.

"My 'new voice' sounds suspiciously similar to my 'old voice'," said Howard Bashman, after seeing this banner ad, yesterday.

Back to Business

Blawg Review #40 is being hosted next at Small Business Trends, where Anita Campbell, a former GC turned entrepreneur, is managing editor of one of the most widely-read business blogs.

What's the concept for this special business law issue of Blawg Review?

We approached the organizers of the Carnival of the Capitalists (the business blog carnival that inspired Blawg Review) for the name of a business blogger who would be their top pick to host a special issue of Blawg Review for business blog readers.

Rob May at BusinessPundit was quick to recommend Anita Campbell, a businesswoman with a legal background who had recently hosted the CotC on her Small Business Trends blog—a great presentation. We were delighted that Anita immediately "got it" and was prepared to get involved with lawyers, law students, and law professors to present a special business law issue of Blawg Review on her business blog.

Other lawyers we know have hosted the CotC, as well, including Professor Bainbridge, in the early days, then Professor Gordon Smith, and more recently, the intellectual property lawyers who "group blog" at Rethink(IP). In the next few weeks, Carnival of the Capitalists will be hosted by our lawyer friends, the Patent Baristas, and following them it's two of those Rethink(IP) guys again, this time at PHOSITA.

What have these intellectual property lawyers figured out about business blog carnivals? Lawyers have often imagined a perfect world wide web in which clients read law blogs, not just business blogs. Well, here's the perfect opportunity for lawyers who blog to get their best posts presented to a very savvy audience of business owners and entrepreneurs.

An experienced business blogger with a legal background has agreed to host Blawg Review on her Small Business Trends blog, where she will feature those law blog posts that speak best to the interests of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Can it get any better than this?

Before choosing your best post for this issue of Blawg Review, take a few minutes to check out Anita Campbell's business blog and see why Forbes included Small Business Trends in their Best of the Web. You might be surprised to see the topics being discussed on this leading business blog.

In her recent post, Fighting Back at Eminent Domain Land Grabs, Anita says, "Journalist James Pethokoukis makes an excellent point about eminent domain’s threat to small business in a report at U.S. News and World Report, when he writes that fighting back can be effective," which she relates to her recent SMB Trendwire podcast:
This point about fighting back was echoed by business owner Nancy Kurdziel in my recent Small Business Trends Radio broadcast about eminent domain. She told how she mobilized the support of the NFIB, state legislators, and the general public (through a website), in order to fight back. With the support of the NFIB, the state legislature is now mobilized and a corrective measure will go on the ballot in Michigan later this year. Where before the local city officials were not really listening, now they are. As she attests, it does make a difference.
A couple of weeks ago, on Small Business Trends, Anita Campbell pointed her readers to Evan Schaeffer's Blawg Review #38, which she called "a great set of top ten resolutions for writing a better blog" that she highly recommended for any business blogger. And here's how she explained this carnival of law bloggers to her readership:
Someone emailed me recently asking why I frequently point out Blawg Review.

Simple: small businesses need to be aware of legal issues. We operate our businesses in a world of increasing complexity, and legal issues are part of it.

Blawg Review and law blogs are one way to become more knowledgeable about legal issues relatively painlessly and inexpensively. Some of the law blogs are highly entertaining and witty. What’s more, you may be reading something for free written by a lawyer who would otherwise charge $250 an hour in their law practice.

From their earliest inception, blogs tended to attract a large number of lawyers. You’ll find more lawyers (including law professors and law students) writing blogs than you will accountants or dentists or doctors. In fact, some of the biggest blogs on the Internet are written by lawyers — Instapundit comes to mind. Hence, the term “blawg” was coined, by combining “law” plus “blog” to mean a blog written on law topics.

What’s more, if you are like me you might forge a business relationship with one of the law bloggers and hire them as your attorney. Think it can’t happen? I hired an attorney as a result of reading his blog.
If you've written a good post on your law blog that would be of special interest to a business owner or entrepreneur, this will no doubt be one of the best issues of Blawg Review to share your expertise.

If this is your first time participating in Blawg Review as a contributor, you can follow the easy Submission Guidelines, which explain how to submit your posts each week.

You Can Be Anonymous

It has come to the attention of your anonymous Editor that some lawyers, law students, and law professors would like to be contributors to Blawg Review, but are worried about losing clients, getting hard-marked, or jeopardizing tenure.

And this judge who blogs is afraid that, if he's openly a Contributing Editor of Blawg Review, it might raise questions from Senators about the degree of his involvement with this organization of leading law bloggers.

To enable everyone to be a contributor to Blawg Review, without fear or favor, there is now a convenient submission form created by for Blawg Review, so you don't have to use your regular email, if you like the new form. Remember, in making submissions or recommendations to Blawg Review, you can be anonymous.

ALM & Blawg Review

Matt Homann was asked by someone, whose anonymity he apparently respects, "Why does American Lawyer Media own Blawg Review?"

In a recent post, he passes this question along "without comment" but with a link to the domain name registration for, adding "this nugget" -- "the telephone number listed for 'Ed Post' belongs to Jennifer Collins at ALM."

Sleuthing around the blogophere, Matt found a post by Lisa Stone about Blawg Review Awards and thought, "Now it makes more sense."

Well, turns out he was wrong about that. Lisa Stone set him straight in the comments to his post that "Jennifer Walters" is an alias for She-Hulk, not Jennifer Collins. And, Monica Bay confimed in the comments that Blawg Review is an affiliate blog in the ALM Law Blog Network, but that American Lawyer Media doesn't own Blawg Review, as Matt suggested by "passing along" the question on his blog without comment, as it were.

Matt Homann, a good friend of Blawg Review and our Contributing Editors, also sent several very nice emails to your Editor in the past few days attempting to guess his identity, and pressing the editor to admit he was she. I have replied to Matt's emails, first to assure him his guess was wrong, and then to clarify the confusion in his post, suggesting he might update his post with a link to Not the Editor of Blawg Reivew.

Hopefully, Matt will add that link as an update to his post for the benefit of his readers, who might otherwise be misled by his erroneous speculation. My email reply to Matt was lengthy, but contains a lot of accurate information for anyone who wants to know more about this. It surprises me that so many people seem to care.

In fairness, there's no reason only Matt should have more information about the relationship between ALM and Blawg Review, so I'm sharing this explanation with all our readers, as follows:

When ALM approached Blawg Review about joining the network, there were conditons.

Respect for the anonymity of the Editor

They were interested in Blawg Review on the strength of its "business model" not the personality of the Editor. They pointed out that they already had a working relationship with an anonymous blogger at The Wired GC. In the case of Blawg Review there were three Contributing Editors, one of which was already affiliated with ALM's blogger network. ALM agreed that it would include their names in the bio section, along with any others who became Contributing Editors of the project. ALM does not have any input in the editorial policy of Blawg Review or the hosts, apart from the standard terms of their affiliation agreement.

Committment to the continuity of Blawg Review

One of the aspects of anonymity that concerned me from the outset, was continuity of the project if I became incapacitated or died. To ensure continuity of the project one of the other Contributing Editors has all the necessary passwords and login keys to continue with the administration of the project without my involvement. I am in regular correspondence with all of the Contributing Editors, who know that if they can't reach me by email, they are charged with the responsibility to carry on. At all times, more than one editor of Blawg Review will have the keys for the safekeeping of the project.

As well, ALM has agreed to maintain the registration of the domain names associated with the Blawg Review project, so it made sense that the contact information in the domain regisration provide that organization effective control of the domain registration, subject to the special terms of our affiliation agreement for succession.

Concerning your conjecture

The "Jennifer" mentioned in Lisa Stone's post is Jennifer Walters, the real identity of She-Hulk in the Marvel Comics theme of this year's Blawg Review Awards, in which Lisa read this quote:
"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."
While your post about the anonymous Editor working for ALM was an interesting guess, it was based on circumstantial evidence, which turned out not to have much probative value. Interesting it was, though, and well-written I see from the copy my friend just emailed me. FYI, it had occured to me from the outset that it would be relatively easy for anyone to search the Whois directory in an attempt to discover the identity of the Editor, so even the original registration had a false identity.

I have added the name of Jennifer Collins to others in the Not the Editor of Blawg Review post, to clarify the fact for those who might find your conjecture persuasive. In the interests of accuracy and fairness, you might now update and add that link to your post suggesting she is the anonymous editor. And, notwithstanding your reasons for thinking it would not be of any interest to anyone to include your name and a link in the Not the Editor of Blawg Review, I have now included your name as well as a link to your excellent blog, just to assuage any possible concerns of anyone at ALM that you might be pulling the most excellent prank on them. I am not a shill for ALM or anyone else, and I don't have any stake in anyone's disagreements.

Concerning anonymity

Apparently, it is difficult to blog anonymously once a weblog achieves any critical mass, as Jeremy Blachman and David Lat have discovered. There are increasing pressures from enquiring minds. I expected that, to a degree, and took reasonable precautions to preserve my privacy, which people may or may not respect. It's up to them.

Blawg Review is not supposed to be about me, really. And if my persona gets in the way of the success of the project, if the success of the project really requires an identified editor, I will not be that editor, but will resign and hand the work over to an elected Editor in Chief, provided anyone even wants the position.

Open Letter to Giacalone


Your summary of the case you call LexBlog Kev v. Blawg Review Ed is incorrect. The chronology you present is inaccurate, and the inferences you take from your facts are now spread around the interwebnet, adding confusion to obfuscation. :-J

I don't think your version of the story fairly presents all the facts, which could not possibly be known to you from reading only blog posts and comments. As you have taken upon yourself the role of consigliere in this so-called fight, it is important that you know all the facts.

To correct your misunderstanding, I will attempt to provide more information, referring to notes from my email correspondence with another blogger who should not be dragged into this mess, as he has not so much as blogged a word about it. So, I have removed his identiying information from our email correspondence quoted below.

David, here's what you didn't know.

Last week, I noticed that someone had come to the Blawg Review website from a link on LexBlog that disclosed enough in its permalink that I knew it was bothersome. I didn't even want to go there, so I asked another blogger whom I trust to check it out and email me a copy of the text of Kevin O'Keefe's post.
Editor at Blawg Review to Friend
January 4

By the way, will you do me a favor? Go check out this recent post from Kevin O'Keefe and copy and paste his post into an email to me. I don't want to go there right away, but I'd like to know what he's up to.


[January 4: Friend replied with the text of that post.]
Editor at Blawg Review to Friend
January 4

Please don't post about his faux controversy; not that you would. I'm not rewarding his snark with any mention of it.

[January 4: Friend replied with a snide remark about what he almost wanted to post in a comment to O'Keefe's post, but wouldn't, exercising discretion.]
Editor at Blawg Review to Friend
January 5

Blog Fight Club. love that. had more fun with it than he did, i think. would like to leave it that way. he made quite a mess of his blog with those posts. talk about self-destruct. ;-)

Followed by this final thought in a separate email.
Editor at Blawg Review to Friend
January 5

If you were wondering why I got into that Blog Fight Club after telling you I was not going to acknowledge O'Keefe's snarky comments....

Kevin Heller took him on in my defense, and I prefer to handle those criticisms directly rather than have others make my case.

So, that's how it broke out late last night.

But hey, all's well that ends.

David, I'd like to make a couple of important points, to put this all in context. There was never a fight in my mind. And, if there was anything that could be described as even a dust-up, it was in Heller v. O'Keefe. If anything, my post titled Blog Fight Club was the bastard offspring of their unholy acrimony.

I have never communicated with Heller about this, and his response to O'Keefe's post should not be taken as moral support for my position vis a vis O'Keefe, of which he was uninformed at the time, except from reading about it on LexBlog.

Although I really didn't like the tone of their posts when attacking or defending me, I never criticized them for that, not even in the post, Blog Fight Club. But I disassociate my anonymous self from their remarks and the uncivil discourse.

But, now I have to respond to your mischaracterization of this so-called "public Blog Fight." I didn't pick a fight with O'Keefe. Heck, I didn't even want to get into a fight if he wanted to pick one. But I felt obligated to set the record straight by posting Blog Fight Club, after Heller's sharp response to O'Keefe's post.

It is disconcerting to me that few, if any, of the followers of this faux fight who have blogged or commented about it seem to have fully appreciated the allusion to the movie Fight Club, with which I attempted to make light of this brouhaha by inferring that this so-called fight is all in the minds of the principal actors, or at best is all for show.

All of these experienced bloggers know well that a fight draws a crowd, and it was quite obviously self-serving of both Kevins to create controversy on their blogs where there was little, if any, serious disagreement between them, or with me. Many other clever bloggers got in on the action, picking sides, cheering and jeering.

As our friend Evan says in his latest podcast, I too know a little bit about generating blog traffic. And it made sense to me, as long as a good fight had broken out elsewhere in the blogosphere, to draw even more attention to Blawg Review with a headline that includes a movie title and, now, with this post that includes the names of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Attention, not for my anonymous self, mind you, but for the benefit of Blawg Review.

For more tips about blogging, see Blawg Review #38 and be sure to listen to Evan Schaeffer's latest Legal Underground Podcast where he pretends to be angry with me for remaining anonymous. :-J

I hope everyone had fun watching the show, but it looks like it's over, folks. I think this is the credits running now. Please watch your step when exiting the theater.

All the best,


P.S. It's amazing that some people are too obtuse to appreciate humor in a blog post, even if you go to all the trouble to add a photoshopped picture of a man with a dog's head and body to illustrate the point.

P.P.S. David, you're quite entitled to excise the word blawg from your vocabulary and your wee-blog, as you once almost did with the word blog. But look at all the fun you would have missed.

Not the Editor of Blawg Review

On January 6, 2007, the editor of Blawg Review answered several questions about himself here.

For the record, the following persons are not the anonymous Editor of Blawg Review:

Evan Schaeffer, Kevin Heller, Mike Cernovich, Howard Bashman, David Giacalone, David Lat, David Gulbransen, Matt Homann, Monica Bay, Lisa Stone, Jennifer Collins, Dennis Kennedy,
Eh Nonymous, Colin Samuels, Matt Barr, Ben Cowgill, Dan Hull, Diane Levin, Sheryl Sisk Schelin, Susan Cartier Liebel,
Jeremy Blachman, David Maister, Charlie Green or Edward Post.

If any other credible person or anonymous blogger would like to go on the record as not being the anonymous editor of Blawg Review, please send an email to editor at blawgreview dot com letting us know, and it will be noted here for the record.

In a recent post on Confused of Calcutta, JP Rangaswami wrote:
In many cultures identity is defined by what you stand for, what groups you belong to. Some of these groups may be based on simple things like geography or blood, but most such groupings are complex and form an integral part of identity.
JP Rangaswami is NOT the editor of Blawg Review, by the way.

Nor is William Gibson.

Updated May 17, 2008

Old Lawyers Have Web Logs

A Georgia Lawyer has firmly resolved from the top down in his office to rid it of jargon.
First to go: Blawg. No more emails or comments with it spelled that way. There are enough problems explaining what a web log is to someone over 40 as it is. No need to make it worse.
Okay, will everybody stop calling their weblog, or blog, or blawg anything other than a web log, just to keep the old Georgia Dawg happy? Don't think so.

Blawg is a perfectly acceptable word formation for a law blog. If you don't like it, don't use it. But those who do might find it helps communicate the thought. Interestingly, the word blawg is pronounced the same as the word blog, so there is absolutely no confusion in oral communication. In the written word, blawg is easily intelligible and conveys additional meaning to readers and to search engines.

Not long ago, language police posing as language lovers derided the word blog, and now there are those who insist that real lawyers have blogs, not blawgs. Today, blog is in the dictionary and before these prescriptivists have stopped grumbling so will be the word blawg, which now has almost two million references on Google. So, if you encounter someone who doesn't know what blawg means, kindly tell them to google it. And if they don't know what you mean by google it, tell them it's jargon for search for information on the Web.

Update: Linguists Mark Liberman and Benjamin Zimmer each wrote thoughful posts on Language Log discussing the "portmanteau" or "sandwich word" blawg. Zimmer discusses the phonology of blawg and blog.

See also: Who let the blawgs out?

Interviewing Adam Smith, Esq.

We've been reading Bruce MacEwen's Adam Smith, Esq. weblog regularly for quite a while now, and thought it might be interesting to somehow interview this busy consultant whose blog inquires into the economics of law firms.

Bruce MacEwen has been especially busy this week, consulting to major law firms and beavering away on next week's Blawg Review #39, and we've been pretty busy around here ourselves, so it was late this week when we tracked him down on his blog, where he answered our questions.

First off, Bruce, tell us what prompted you to start blogging about law office economics?
I conceived the idea for "Adam Smith, Esq." in late 2003 and actually launched it at the start of 2004. Long fascinated by the transformational potential of the blog as a new medium, at the time I found myself disappointed by the paucity of blogs with a serious, even rigorous, business mission.
Did you see that void in the blogosphere as a "market opportunity" for your consulting practice?
Surveying the legal blogosphere, I suspected there might be room for an analytically focused, professionally produced blog addressing what was and is my passion—the economics of law firms. Not only did there appear to be no sites consistently addressing those issues, altogether too many blogs in general lacked either a polished, adult tone of voice, an approach driven by critical thinking, or both.
I suppose many bloggers would have called it Bruce MacEwen's Law Firm Economics Blog. Why Adam Smith, Esq.?
Adam Smith (the original) is an intellectual hero of mine. He gave the modern world the priceless and ineffable gift of capitalism. When I was majoring in economics in college, I realized again and again how often we depend to this day on his insights and his analytic foundation to drive the market systems that give us today's unprecedented prosperity. I believe it no exaggeration to say that the intellectual framework he developed around markets, the division of labor, and the sources of "the wealth of nations" spurred the progress of the human race as powerfully as any technological invention.
So, Adam Smith is sort of a...
So when the notion sprung into my mind of combining "Adam Smith" with law, the branding "Adam Smith, Esq." seemed perfect. The only problem at the time was that everyone I asked strongly advised against it: "No one knows who he is;" "It's too obscure;" "Adam who?;" "You'll put people off;" "Sounds way too cerebral to me;" etc. Sometimes you just have to go with your instincts.
Well, your instincts seem to have been very good. It's not many law blogs that have over 90,000 readers a month. You must be doing something right. Could you share one of your blogging secrets with our readers?
A little humor never hurts.
What's the best thing about blogging, for you personally?
The readers and the community. I do not exaggerate when I say that the most compelling professional and emotional benefit I have derived from "Adam Smith, Esq." are the virtual- and real-world connections I have made with people from literally across the English-speaking world whom I would never have had the chance to engage with otherwise.
And what does your blog add to your consulting practice?
The ability to foster and support an on-going dialogue about the management of law firms. While it's a commonplace to say that their management has become increasingly professionalized in the past decade or two (to the point where the managerial infrastructure of the typical large firm today would be unrecognizable to the managing committee of, say, 1985), I happen to believe this development is of surpassing importance to the profession, almost without exception positive, and far from complete.
And your blogging on various topics of interest to your clients is a way of engaging your clients and prospective clients in a dialogue—or what did you call it—a conversation about law office economics and changes in the practice of law?
The opportunity to be part of the conversation surrounding this consummately fascinating trend is, to me, the highlight of my career. I hope you find the discussion as rich as do I.
I really do, Bruce, and I'm sure our readers will, too, when you host Blawg Review #39 next week. Last week's Blawg Review #38 by Evan Schaeffer was a New Year's Resolution...
Isn't there something fundamentally irrational about New Year's resolutions to begin with? After all, if you want to start running five miles a day, getting to work earlier, or cutting out the cheesecake, you shouldn't wait until January 1st to start.
Yeah, but that's not what Evan was talking about with his list of resolutions for better blogging. Specifically for your blog, Bruce, what would you like to do on Adam Smith, Esq. in the next year, that you might call New Year's Resolutions?
To connect with more readers of "Adam Smith, Esq." in the real, off-line world—one of the greatest rewards of this site, to me. To try to make "Adam Smith, Esq." ever more insightful, carefully reasoned, and just plain intrinsically interesting. And to celebrate everyone's entitlement to one vice of their choosing.
Well, you'd probably enjoy getting together with our good friend Professor Bainbridge, a business law and economics specialist and a man with many vices to recommend, whose penance will be hosting Blawg Review for us next election eve.
Steve Bainbridge was on the "Savvy Blawgers Panel" at Adam Smith, Esq.
That's interesting. Speaking of networking bloggers, I see you are one of the Affiliate Bloggers, too, which Blawg Review recently hooked up with. How's that working out for you?
In case you haven't seen the home-page of today, they are launching their "Career Center" with a familiar face.
Wow, that's pretty good coverage, and a nice article you got published there. Bruce, you've been busy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, today. Is there anything special you're looking for in the upcoming Blawg Review that we can help you with?
I'm asking for reader participation. Legal bloggers: Send me a link to what you consider one of your smartest, sassiest posts of this week. Loyal readers: Send me a link to posts from your travels in the legal blogosphere that you either think I ought to see, wish you had written, or both.
Okay, your heard him, blawg reviewers. Let's get our submissions and recommendations in this week to help Bruce MacEwen present the best recent blawg posts on Blawg Review #39 at Adam Smith, Esq.

Blog Fight Club

The first rule of Blog Fight Club is know who you're fighting with.

It seems that Kevin O'Keefe, the president and founder of LexBlog, doesn't have much respect for a lawyer who thinks blawg is a really good name for a law blog. And he certainly doesn't know how to deal with an anonymous lawyer. That's a shame, really.

As some of my Blawg Review collaborators know already, I plan to launch another law blog this year. Like my other blog projects, it's not the plan to use my own name in connection with the new project. It's just not about me, and neither is Blawg Review.

It isn't helpful to any of the various unrelated blog projects I'm involved with to have their individual purposes confused by announcing that all these distinctive blogs have the same editor with different pseudonyms. That would foreclose any future opportunity, however remote, to go public with respect to one or another without compromising the anonymity of the others. I like working on a number of blogs with different bloggers, including lawyers, sharing various special interests.

As an admirer of some of the blogs designed by LexBlog, I wasn't at all surprised when one of Kevin O'Keefe's clients was recognized in the recent Blawg Review Awards, earning the Law Firm Blogs Award for coordinating four diverse practice specialty blogs.

In fact, for my next blog project I planned to approach Kevin about working on the web design and hosting the new law blog. Of course, I wouldn't approach him about the new project as the Editor of Blawg Review, but anonymously nonetheless. I wasn't quite sure how he might react to the prospect of working on a blog project with an anonymous client.

We hadn't ever met, but Kevin did seem genuinely pleased when his client's blogs received special recognition in the Blawg Review Awards, and he expressed his pleasure by blogging about it on LexBlog, and so did his client on theirs. It was a link love fest.

Kevin seemed approachable, and I had a question about the PubSub ranking page called The Law List that's not actually his website, but he's the Editor of it. On that page he writes:
Legal professionals including lawyers, law librarians, marketers and IT people have been publishing blogs for over three years. Some lawyers use the term "blawg" when referring to a law blog. Legal blogs allow for the exchange of ideas and collaboration on various areas of the law.
I don't know who runs PubSub, but I thought I knew Kevin well enough to send him an email about how the LinkCounts rankng works.
Date: Jan 4, 2006 3:32 AM
Subject: PubSub - The Law List

Hi Kevin,

I was recommending The Law List to some law bloggers, who indicated they found it very confusing and had pretty much given up on trying to follow it.

For example, what accounts for Real Lawyers Have Blogs showing the 3rd biggest gain of 34 with only a couple of inbound links in the past few days?

Also, Opinio Juris shows the 3rd biggest gain of 34, as well, with only links from 3 sites, one of which is their own feed that provides 93 Inlinks yesterday.

I'm at a loss to explain how this works. Any ideas?

Kevin replied simply, "Thanks, who are you?"

And now that I read what he posted that same day on LexBlog about me, I'm not sure if he is going to get back to me about the way The Law List ranking system works. Perhaps Kevin wasn't the right person to ask. I see now that the PubSub site says, "If you have comments or suggestions about LinkCounts, send them to" so it was probably wrong of me even to approach Kevin in the first place. Anyway, live and learn.

A3G Gawker Stalker

Yeah, the bitch is back, and we might hear more from her as she moves to Washington, getting even closer to One First Street. But there might be more to the story.

The new WSJ Law Blog has the latest buzz about Article III Groupie.
Queen of the blogosphere Ana Marie Cox is said to be handing over the reins at her spicy political blog Wonkette. David Lat, the federal prosecutor who revealed himself to the New Yorker magazine in November as the author of the popular “Underneath Their Robes” judicial blog, is expected to start blogging for the site. Lockhart Steele, managing editor of Gawker Media, which owns Wonkette, declined to comment. We hear that Lat will have a co-editor.
Nah, couldn't be me. They tell you if it is, don't they?

Anyway, while this is good news, indeed, that David Lat is going to be adding saucy spice to Wonkette, we really hope Nick Denton has it in the works to give our favorite judicial stalker a total makeover as part of Gawker Media.

Underneath Their Robes would be a perfect complement to Gawker, Wonkette, Defamer, and other blogs too hot to mention, offering advertisers access to yet another high-end consumer demographic — lawyers.

Notes from the Underground

Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground presents Blawg Review #38, a helpful list of New Year's resolutions for better blogging. Not your usual eat less, quit smoking, and waste no time blogging, resolutions for the New Year. These resolutions are all doable.

Evan draws from his considerable experience as a leading law blogger—some call him their blawgfather—to compile what might be the best post ever about how to blog. There are lots of valuable tips and tricks for experienced bloggers and newbies alike. And, in Evan's inimitable style, he presents his teachings as learnings; ever the masterful mentor.

Strategically, to start Blawg Review for the new year, Evan has woven into these resolutions some thoughtful examples of the art of the blog by some of our favorite law bloggers. Mr. Schaeffer has served notice that the award for Blawg Review of the Year 2006 will not be taken without a fight, or at least a very clever strategy.