Blawg Review

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

Happy Howelloween

It almost became a tradition around here to celebrate Halloween at Blawg Review with Denise Howell. Not so this year, as the tricking or treating eve falls midweek and, as everyone knows, Blawg Review occurs every Monday.

So, this year, as we look back in wonder at these Howell-o-ween presentations -- Blawg Review #30 and Blawg Review #81 -- we're shelling out some Halloween treats from other law bloggers who also hosted Blawg Review.

Anne Reed writes, "Trick or Treat, If You're Lucky."

Dan Hull says, "If you forgot the candy, turn off the lights and lie on the floor."

Evan Schaeffer brings another Halloween tradition to an end.

David Giacalone says, "nice costume, dude."

Jim Maule writes, "It's Halloween. Somehow, without intending it, I have developed a MauledAgain tradition of focusing on this holiday each year that it rolls around. So I'm going to treat my readers yet again to some spooky thoughts. I might not have a ghost of a chance to amuse anyone or to make them laugh, but perhaps I can trick people into reading til the end."

Last but not least, "Trick or Treat: Have a Preliminary Injunction to Eat" by David Donoghue, who's hosting Blawg Review #133 on Monday at the Chicago IP Litigation Blog.

Home Office Lawyers

Grant Griffiths hosts Blawg Review #132 at Home Office Lawyer, where he called for submissions from solo lawyers, independent practitioners, muscle boutiques, and frustrated Biglaw Associates looking to make a move in search of work/life balance!

Hopefully, we'll see some great submissions and recommendations for next week's Blawg Review from the many leading lawyers with blawgs, including: Evan Schaeffer, Ron Coleman, Dave Swanner, Dan Hull, Al Nye, Enrico Schaefer, Craig Williams, Denise Howell, Ray Ward, Marty Schwimmer, Howard Bashman, Ernie Svenson, Norman Fernandez, Jamie Spencer, Diana Skaggs, Sheryl Schelin, Susan Cartier Liebel, George Wallace, David Giacalone, and everyone else who has given so much of themselves in the previous one hundred and thirty-one issues of this carnival of law blogs. Thank you, everyone.

And a special nod of appreciation to Colin Samuels and Diane Levin who have volunteered to make extraordinary efforts as our next host's Blawg Sherpas.

For those of you logging in from the United Kingdom, this is apparently not about Home Office lawyers after all. Pity!

Why Law Porn?

Professor Ann Bartow really wants to know why it's called law porn.

"Guess I’m not going to get a serious answer…" she snipes:
Dan Solove posted about “A Law Porn Blog” here at Concurring Opinions. I raised this query: “I’m curious, why is the analogy/metaphor law PORN?” And I’d really like to know why “porn” is the descriptor of choice for fancy brochures that law schools circulate to increase their visibility and supposedly, prestige.
We have a serious answer for Professor Bartow. Not surprisingly, the answer comes from Professor Brian Leiter in a post on Leiter Reports, his old blog, as far back as October 1, 2004. Apparently, this neuphemism has etymological roots not in sexism, but in Sextonism:
"Sextonism," after former NYU Law School Dean John Sexton (now President of NYU), is a disease familiar to law faculty, in which a good school suddenly lapses in to uncontrolled and utterly laughable hyperbole in describing its faculty and accomplishments to its professional peers. The NYU alumni magazine, which was sent to all law faculty nationwide, was so plagued by Sextonism that a Stanford professor [Pamela S. Karlan] memorably dubbed it "law porn."
A year later, this classic post appeared on The Columnist Manifesto. And every year since, law professors have blogged about law porn, much to the chagrin of feminists and curmudgeons alike, as noted by Professor Paul Caron here:
Pam Karlan has graciosuly allowed me to share with TaxProf Blog readers her defense of the term "law porn" in an email exchange last night:

When I started using the term "law porn" to refer to the glossy promotional materials from various law schools (and I don't know whether someone else used it first and I just picked it up or whether I was the originator), I was playing off an existing expression -- "food porn." That phrase referred to a kind of breathless, over-the-top journalism about obscure recipes, usually accompanied by arty photos of food shot with annoying lighting techniques and the like. My guess is that the word "porn" was being used there to refer to the titillating way the articles appealed to the senses. Lots of people had been using that term. I was struck by the resemblances between the law school magazines and the foodie publications. Like the food magazines, the law school magazines were characterized by arty photos that often seemed designed to make the buildings or the faculty look vaguely sexy, using come-hither photos. Like the food magazines, the law school magazines used overblown language littered with adjectives designed to convey a sort of excitement. All you need to do is to look at the cover of the current issue of NYU's magazine, with its "Dworkin on Dworkin" cover, and, at least if you're in the legal academy, you'd see what I mean by law porn.

The entire point of calling the magazines "law porn" was to make fun of them, so the fact that the term seems nonsensical to you suggests its utility. At least within the community to which I was directing my remarks -- namely, friends in my faculty lounge and colleagues at other law schools -- my experience has been that the phrase communicates exactly what I intended: people instantly recognize the phenomenon and share my reaction to it.

Mr. Giacalone refuses to yield:

[S]ince your off-the-cuff phrase is now being repeated in the blawgisphere, I am a bit concerned that it will become imbedded -- along with the confusing "porn" suffix -- in a language that continues to lose its commonality and therefore its ability to communicate outside tiny cliques.

The Future of Reputation

Professor Dan Solove, who hosted Blawg Review #75 at Concurring Opinions, has just published a new book. The book has prompted quite a number of thoughtful reactions in the blogosphere.

Now, Dan Solove is looking for bloggers who are especially interested the issues of Internet gossip, rumor, privacy, anonymity, and free speech, who might be interested in writing about those topics in a review of his book. Dan's offering free review copies in exchange for a commitment from selected bloggers to review his book, which he describes as follows:
My book is about blogging, and I discuss how information spreads rapidly throughout the blogosphere – with both good and problematic effects. Obviously, I want to try to harness the good side of the blogosphere’s power, and that’s why I’m trying this experiment. The purpose of my book is to spark a discussion about the issues, and I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to do so than in the blogosphere.

If you’re interested in reviewing the book, please send me an email with your address, a brief description of your blog, information about your readership and visitor traffic, and a link to your blog.
As an anonymous blogger, I look forward to reading the book and the discussions it sparks in the blogosphere. But I won't be sending the Professor my address. ;-) I'll have to buy the book here.

As the anonymous editor of Blawg Review, I'd be very interested in reading insightful reviews by the famous hosts of Blawg Review #68 and Blawg Review #119. What opinions on the future of reputation, gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet could possibly be more personal than those of Jeremy Blachman and David Lat?

Jeremy Blachman, as most of our readers know, became well-known as the author of the Anonymous Lawyer blog, which turned into a popular book and website by the same name. David Lat, is a rather celebrated gossip blogger, who began blogging with the pseudonym Article III Groupie, a.k.a. A3G, at Underneath Their Robes, a provocative blog about the Federal Judiciary in the United States. After being outed in the New Yorker by Jeffry Toobin, David Lat left his job as an AUSA and became a bloggissip, first at Wonkette and now at Above the Law, a Legal Tabloid where he is the founding editor-in-chief.

So yeah, we want to know what these guys think about Dan Solove's new book and the topics he's raising for discussion. We'll update you [here] and [here] when their reviews are published.

In the meantime, I'd like to share a few thoughts on the subject. Here on the Blawg Review weblog we've had heated debates (even blog fights) over the issue of this editor's anonymity. We won't take you back to that brouhaha. In the end, it seems that most, if not all, of the followers and participants in this project are now comfortable with the fact that the character that works behind the scenes here supporting law blogs (or blawgs as some like to call them) is a rather benign and benevolent force in the blogosphere. It has become generally accepted, I think, that the anonymity of the editor here is for the good of the project, rather than for the protection of the editor. In our discussions here, an important distinction was made between anonymity and pseudonymity, the first where the reader doesn't have a clue who is communicating, and the latter in the case of a character with a reputation of its own communicates under an assumed name or identity, however distinct from that writer's person. But enough about me.

Getting back to Dan's book, which has its own website, it will be great when he's got a blog there that will be a forum for discussion of the important issues raised by this book. I see a link there that points back to Concurring Opinions at this time. It might not be obvious how inappropriate that is considering the legal structure of that law blog as a corporation with a reputation of its own, apart from that of one of its shareholder's books. No doubt that linkage is with the agreement of that blog corporation, but it's inappropriate in this anonymous editor's opinion -- for what that's worth. I expect that sometime soon, Dan will have a new blog there, perhaps a blook -- maybe a prize.

As an online "addendum" to his new book, a blog there would follow recent case law and would be the best place for Dan Solove to engage the blogosphere in this ongoing discussion of the issues he cares about. I'm sure Professor Solove would be blogging there today about a post by blog maverick Mark Cuban on Media and Vulnerability, which has sparked a discussion of these very issues in the comments.

Carnival of the Capitalists #211

The editor of Blawg Review, who toils in anonymity with the help of tireless sherpa guides to the blogosphere, is proud to be hosting this week's edition of the longest-running blog carnival, the Carnival of the Capitalists. Blawg Review hosted the CotC #107 and CotC #159 this same week in previous years.

We'e honored to be invited back for our third time hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists, now at the beginning of its fifth year, which is at least eighty in human years. In our view, this granddaddy of blog carnivals is showing its age--and it's not pretty. Those who knew the CotC when it was young and vibrant know what I mean. Loyal followers of the Carnival of the Capitalists, many of whom have hosted once or twice themselves, will appreciate that we have spent several hours reviewing and passing over self-serving submissions of worthless drivel, offers of various products to increase sexual performance, and far too many blog posts of imperceptible relevance.

We trust that our regular readers, and those new to Blawg Review arriving here in search of another excellent Carnival of the Capitalists, will find the following selections from some of the best business blogs and law blogs well worth their valuable time and attention.

Rob May at Businesspundit says, "successful entrepreneurs aren't born or made - they are just good at raising money."

The Green Umbrella: Green Business Opportunities, by Nellie Lide, is recommended by Anita Campbell, who hosted Blawg Review #126 at Small Business Trends, recently.

Gordon Smith, at the Conglomerate blog, has the "inside baseball" analyisis of Joe Torre and Contract Incentives.

Luis Cassiano Neves, at the Sports Law Blog, has an informative post about Sports Agency on the other side of the Pond.

Eric Turkewitz, at the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, describes how Progressive Insurance Blunders Again.

Charles Green at Trust Matters says, "Software programming, oddly, teaches us that treating transactions as one-offs which aren't can cost us a great deal more money than approaching them as part of a series of transactions. This is the same lesson we need to understand about relationships -- that making them into single transactions reduces long term value or increases our costs."

"What is the significance of the fact that the most recently issued subprime mortgages are the ones that are running into the biggest problems?" asks James Hamilton at Econbrowser.

Nate Oman at Concurring Opinions has found a new study guide on YouTube he says is just like "Cops" for Commercial Law Profs.

Christine Hurt, at Conglomerate, make a point about corporate social responsibility: Think Before You Pink.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich features a guest post on gender and the financial voice used in general interest magazines.

Ian Welsh discusses the function of a financial sector and reminds us that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, writing: The "growth" of the last decade, indeed of the last generation, has been bought by borrowing - borrowing from other countries and borrowing against the future - or to put it more crudely, against American's children's and grandchildren's credit. They are the ones, along with those of us who are young enough. And unless you're at least 60, preferably 70, you're young enough, the real victors in this game are mostly already dead, having won the "death bet" of "I'll be dead before this bill comes due. You suckers get to pay."

The Stock Market Crash of 1987 is discussed, 20 years later, at the Fundmastery Blog. Frank Pasquale, at Concurring Opinions, sees it in terms of Boom and Doom.

Brett Trout, at Blawg-IT, tells the story about how a disgruntled Kiwi blogger eviscerated the Amazon 1-Click Patent.

Peter Lattman, at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, features the lawsuit of the week, about a lawyer-bride in New York, who got married this summer but wasn’t happy with the floral arrangements. So she sued. In a breach-of-contract lawsuit, she alleged that the florist substituted pastel pink and green hydrangeas for the dark rust and green hydrangeas that she had specified for the centerpieces. They paid in advance for the flowers, which cost $27,435.14. After the wedding, they asked for a $4,000 refund. Now, they’re asking for $400,000 in damages. Fair and balanced, Lattman's got her side of the story here.

David Lat, at Above the Law, has a YouTube video that shows the potential downside of disputing a claim in The People's Court. Ouch!

A column in the New York Times concerning keyword advertising by attorneys garnered a lot of blogospheric attention. Walter Olson and Ted Frank of Overlawyered were both quoted in the column, with Frank suggesting that rather than competing with one another on price, search keywords are where the interfirm struggle for clients is fought for certain types of claims. William Childs of the TortsProf Blog also was quoted; he noted that mesothelioma in particular is an area of torts where the grapple for keyword supremacy is especially acute. At the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Peter Lattman provided some of the underlying numbers, including those for two mesothelioma-related keyword phrases, which came in at $51.68 and $65.21 per click-through. As the Times columnist noted somewhat sheepishly, "In working on this column, I looked at a bunch of lawyers' Web sites, at a cumulative cost to them of, oh, $1,000. Sorry."

Kevin O'Keefe suggests that "[t]he days of a lawyer directory portal site where Internet users go to look up lawyers are coming to an end" and that Google is the only lawyer directory which matters anymore. Other tools may have their place for niche aspects of lawyer searching, but by and large, Google is the main game in town for firms of all sizes.

William Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel, Google Inc., discussed the somewhat counterintuitive situation wherein copyright laws are invoked to attempt to curb not unauthorized viewings but failures to view. That body of cases concerns the use of technologies to assist viewers in skipping the ads interspersed within a broadcast work. While the outcomes of these cases are of interest to those businesses which are advertising-driven, to the developers and vendors of ad-avoidance technologies, and to the advertisers and viewers playing their games of hide-and-seek, Patry, one of the foremost authorities on copyright is somewhat dubious: "Certainly it doesn't change the actual performance of plaintiffs' works, which are viewed just as before -- it is only the third part [sic] ads that aren't performed, and not performing someone else's work can hardly constitute infringement of the works not performed. Where then is the violation?"

Frank Pasquale, at Concurring Opinions, rounded-up an number of posts concerning Radiohead's novel "pay what you want" online release of its latest album. As Pasquale and the quoted commenters noted, Radiohead's efforts were neither gratuitous nor wholly novel. The band reaped a tremendous data dividend of names, email addresses, street or mailing addresses, mobile phone numbers, and so on which would be immensely valuable to direct marketers or to the band themselves for future tour sales or merchandising efforts. Moreover, the concept of asking fans to pay something when they aren't required to is hardly a new concept, one observer noted, it's called tipping. As to the broader implications for the music or legal industries, Pasquale suggests that "The question of copyright and music industry "business models" may ultimately need to be folded into a larger discussion of cultural policy. What should be the balance of for-profit and non-profit cultural production?"

Colin Samuels, the selfless blawg sherpa who helped research this Carnival of the Capitalists and didn't even suggest his own blog for inclusion, follows up on the Radiohead story with a post headlined: Who says you can't update a post about stealing?

David Maister, who's hosting this week's Blawg Review at his business blog, Passion, People and Principles, has an excellent post about managing client relations that examines the perennial question about customer loyalty to personal service firms -- Loyalty to Whom? -- that attracted a number of thoughtful comments from his readers.

That's it for this week, but there will be more great business blogs featured in next Monday's Carnival of the Capitalists.

Find the next Carnival of the Capitalists here.

Before you go, we'd like to thank you for stopping by our little corner of the blogosphere for the Carnival of the Capitalists and invite you to click on over to Passion, People and Principles to enjoy this week's carnival of law bloggers--Blawg Review #131.

Business 2 Business

David Maister is hosting Blawg Review #131 at his well-regarded business blog, Passion, People and Principles. David's not a lawyer, but many lawyers look to him for business advice, and we're honored to have him host Blawg Review again.
There is nothing so powerful in business as actually having principles that you hold on to passionately and require those around you to believe. One way or another, all my research conclusions, consulting advice and speeches in my professional career as a global consultant, business author, and former Harvard Business School professor come down to passion, people and principles.
Not only will we have the benefit of David Maister bringing the best legal blog writing to his business blog readers, we are also hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists here on the Blawg Review weblog the very same day.

Our longtime followers will remember that we hosted the CotC #107 and the Carnival of the Capitalists #159 the two previous years. So, we're really looking forward to this special business2business opportunity to bring lawyers and business leaders together to review the best current writing on business and law blogs.

This week, we're looking for law blog posts that focus on practice management, client relations, corporate commercial law, and any other legal blog posts that you think might be especially interesting to business blog readers generally, or readers of David Maister's business blog, in particular.

We'll be looking through all the submissions sent to us here, and sorting out which law blog posts are best to be included in one or the other of these two great business blog carnivals -- Blawg Review #131 and the next Carnival of the Capitalists we're hosting here next Monday. What number are they up to at the business blog carnvial of the capitalists, after four years?!

Blawg Conflict Resolution

Mediator Geoff Sharp from New Zealand hosts Blawg Review #130, the Southern Hemisphere edition. Go there, today, where tomorrow comes early and the people are forever young.

And watch the Online Guide to Mediation for tomorrow's Northern Hemisphere edition of Blawg Review #130, by Diane Levin, founder of the worldwide directory of alternative dispute resolution blogs.

It's a Blawg Review twofer in recognition of Blog Action Day, today, and Conflict Resolution Day, on Thursday of this week. Have a conflict-free blog action day.

Most Popular Law Blogs

The 2007 Weblog Awards are seeking nominations for the category of "Best Law Blog." You can nominate a law blog for the contest via this link.

We're reminded by Howard Bashman that the winner of "Best Law Blog" in this contest is "best, as in most popular" because of the voting methodologies of these weblog awards.

So, it's very important at this nomination stage of the proceedings, that we should do our best to make the contest competitive by nominating not those law blogs that are "Simply the Best" but those that will be challengers to The Volokh Conspiracy, voted the winner of this award last year.

Any of the following law blogs might have a real chance to win the award for "Best Law Blog" in The 2007 Weblog Awards, if included in the short list of finalists.

There may be others you think might win -- and you could be right. But, to win, a nominee has to be very popular, and have a loyal following willing to participate in the voting stage. And, remember, the voters will include many who don't regularly follow law blogs.

So let's make sure the list of finalists is very competitive this year. We're not going to suggest (not even tongue in cheek) that anyone nominate Blawg Review this year, because all the finalists should be those who have a real chance to win in the voting stage that will determine the best, as in most popular, law blog.

Nominate a law blog you'd like to see among the finalists before the last day for nominations, October 15th, 2007.

Feed Readers Get RSS

Former GC Anita Campbell, who hosted Blawg Review #126 on her award-winning business blog, Small Business Trends, tells us that issue of Blawg Review was made available to over 86,000 RSS subscribers.
How can it be, you wonder, that an RSS subscriber base can accelerate and grow so much faster once it reaches a certain level?

It's a textbook example of the law of increasing returns. Kevin Kelly defined the law of increasing returns in his book the New Rules for the New Economy as ”The value of a network explodes as its membership increases, and then the value explosion sucks in yet more members, compounding the result.”

In other words, once you reach a certain point, the big get bigger.

So if the law of increasing returns applies, does that mean there's no hope for those just starting out? Of course not.

Every RSS subscriber list — in fact every business — starts with one. One reader, one subscriber, one customer. RSS technology may have been around for a number of years, but in terms of the public's acceptance of RSS it's still early days. There is time and room for up-and-comers to develop a substantial RSS audience. Just don't wait too long.
Click here for some helpful advice from Anita Campbell, a former General Counsel turned business blogger, who offers to help increase RSS subscriptions to your blog.

Columbus Day Blawg Review

The f/k/a natives were first, this morning, to notice the arrival of the special Columbus Day edition of Blawg Review #129 at David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog.

The famous Italian explorer of legal weblogs, Consigliere Giacalone, navigates our way:
Want to discover a New World of Weblawg Treasure? Sail over to the Columbus Day edition of Blawg Review [#129], ably captained by David Harlow of the HealthBlawg. Since the f/k/a Natives are more into pictures than texts this morning, we especially liked learning that lawyers brought discovery to America right after Cristofo Colombo got here.
Columbus, Colombo, Colón: what’s in a name?

What About British Blawgs?

Those who follow Dan Hull's blawg, What About Clients?, know that he's got a thing for British lawyers -- the solicitor and the barrister. So, it's extremely rare that anyone on this side of the pond gets the jump on Dan when it comes to news about British law blogs. But when he's scooped, he graciously acknowledges the fact and credits his source, like the gentleman and professional he is:
Our thanks to Kevin O'Keefe at Real Lawyers Have Blogs for noticing this before anyone else: Nick Holmes at his well-regarded Binary Law has posted "UK Blawgs -- Where Are We Now?". As part of his report, Nick mentions that he has identified over 125 UK blogs at his London-based Infolaw, an on-line legal information service which he started in 1995, and for which he serves as Managing Editor. Note that most of these UK blogs did not exist two years ago. UK blawgs have increased at a rate of about one new site each week.
Now, I know there are some blokes in England who will assume just because I'm practically cross-posting this verbatim from Dan's blog, that it's evidence that he's the anonymous editor of Blawg Review. We can forgive the Brits for arriving a bit late to this blog party, but for those who think they have it all figgered out -- yes, I'm talking to you, GeekLawyer -- RTFM.

Kids Say The Darndest Things

so, what does your dad do?

he's a blogger.


Simply the Best

There are a lot of blawgs out there, and we try to read 'em all. But if this editor had to pick, right now, the top ten law blogs he thinks are simply the best...the winners are:

You're simply the best, better than all the rest
Better than anyone, anyone I've ever met
I'm stuck on your heart, and hang on every word you say

Editor's Note: Sure, there may be better blawgs out there. Just not on this list, which is, admittedly, the personal favorites of one anonymous blogger. And it's subject to change without notice from time to time, anyway, so don't be concerned if your favorite law blog isn't on the list right now. ;-) And I tag each of the bloggers whose law blogs are listed above to do la meme chose.

Who else is "simply the best"?

Click the links below to find more great blawgs nominated on:

May It Please the Court
The Common Scold
The UCL Practitioner
Robert Ambrogi's LawSites
Where's Travis McGee?
What About Clients?
New York Personal Injury Law Blog
Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer
Lowering the Bar
Charon QC
Arbitrary and Capricious
A Public Defender
Binary Law
Sui Generis
Nearly Legal
Legal Blog Watch
StandDown Texas Project
Minor Wisdom
Family Lore
Simple Justice
Sentencing Law and Policy
Law School Innovation
Capital Defense Weekly
lo-fi librarian
China Law Blog
More Partner Income
Patent Baristas
The California Blog of Appeal
Blonde Justice
Decision of the Day
Insurance Coverage Law Blog
Information Overlord
Adams Drafting

It's a Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day. Daithí Mac Síthigh is hosting Blawg Review #128 from the campus of Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland.

Daithí is a Foundation Scholar of the College, employed as a graduate researcher working toward his PhD at this university, where he earned his law degree in 2004. His research is within the contemporary field of what is known as cyberlaw; in particular, Internet governance, intellectual property, and the control of media and information flows across national and regional borders. His thesis is essentially about the regulation (in various forms) of online media (including broadcasting), with a focus on the EU and Canada.

Daithí writes about these interests and other interesting stuff on his blawg, Lex Ferenda. Lex ferenda (also called de lege ferenda) is a Latin expression that means "what the law ought to be" (as opposed to lex lata, "the law as it exists").

In July, Daithí went to the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, attending the Summer Doctoral Programme in for Internet-interested PhD students put on by the Oxford Internet Institute. And he gave two presentations in September -- one at the Society of Legal Scholars annual conference in Durham (in the cyberlaw stream) and one at the second GikII conference in London. Trinity's school year commences today, October 1, and he kicks it off with Blawg Review #128, the first from the Emerald Isle.

Daithí's supervisor, Dr. Eoin O’Dell, will host Blawg Review on his own blog,, on Bloomsday next year.