October 28th, 2009

Blawg Review – Coming Attractions (I’m next week’s host)

Well, I’m hosting Blawg Review again, this coming Monday. So the floor is now open for suggestions on what to include in this weekly round-up of the legal blogosphere that travels from one blog to another on a week-to-week basis.

As with my 2007 marathon-themed Blawg Review (a long-running hit) and my 2008 Thanksgiving Blawg Review (which I loved writing but which some thought was a turkey), I will not be focusing on personal injury law. Because this is, after all, a round-up of posts from around the legal spectrum, not just my itty, bitty niche.

I’m still scratching my head for how to handle this particular review and what theme to use, so feel free to give me ideas. But you should note that the prior sentence was an outright lie and that I’ve already decided on a theme. It’s my blog, and I’m allowed to do that kind of thing. But send me the tip anyway in case I’m afflicted with the sudden onset of Alzheimers.

To be considered for inclusion you can send an email to [email protected] or go to the Blawg Review site (and read the guidelines) and use the template. Or you can hope that I find your blog on my own as I stumble my way across the interwebs.

Blog post submissions (feel free to submit from any blog, including your own) should be:

1. Interesting to read; and
2. Free of self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. If your post has a suggestion to call you (If you too have driven a car into a pool…) then save yourself the cost of the email as well as the potential humiliation.

Unfortunately, I’m following on the heels of some great reads:

Blawg Review #235 at Counsel to Counsel, focused on posts that dealt with how the practice of law has changed with the Great Recession (and a subject I hit back in August with 10 Tips for Laid Off Lawyers);

Blawg Review #234
at Settle it Now, focusing on a “200 year present” and conflict resolution that is so chock full of links and information it scares the hell out of me as I think about my own;

Blawg Review #233 at Popehat with its tribute to Joshua Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico. What? You’ve never heard of him? Neither had I, but I now consider myself at expert as the review wove in the lessons of our revered 19th century emperor and the modern lessons he brought;

Blawg Review #232 at Solo Practice University, with its tribute to — what else? — teaching;

Blawg Review #231 at Legally Unbound with its focus on Sin City. And lawyers have plenty of issues when it comes to sin;

Blawg Review #230 at Unsilent Partners, which comes at us from two long time blogs (Charon QC and Infamy or Praise) on two continents with its takes on war and peace; and

Blawg Review #229 at Blawgletter with its homage to John Harvard. Yes, that Harvard.

I am so dead. So very, very dead.


February 25th, 2009

The Kings of Blawg Review

Blawg Review, that weekly round-up of the legal blogs that travels from site to site, celebrates its 200th edition this week. And with that, we tip our caps to two people:

First, there is Ed., the anonymous Editor of the review who runs the show, who did Blawg Review #200, who has also done ten …count ’em ten …of those reviews. Without Ed., there would be no Blawg Review. And if someone else were doing the organizing, you just know it wouldn’t be nearly as good. That’s Ed. to the right.

And then there is Colin Samuels, winner of the 2008 Blawg Review of the Year at Infamy or Praise with #189, based on the the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. (My nominations are here.)

Of course, Samuels also won in 2005, based on Dante’s Divine Comedy:Inferno. And he won in 2006 based on The Divine Comedy: Purgatorio. And he won in 2007 based on The Divine Comedy: Paradiso. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m starting to see a pattern.

Ron Coleman’s #191 at Liklihood of Confusion took second place with a Chanukah theme. And there was a tie for third between Rush Nigut’s Blawg Review #147 based on the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, and David Gulbransen’s Blawg Review #182, a special bar exam edition. My Thanksgiving themed review with Arlo Guthrie, on the other hand, was apparently a real turkey.

How can Samuels be stopped in 2009? We’re gonna need The Bogeyman to get involved just to give someone else a chance.


January 27th, 2009

Blawg Review of the Year Nominations – 4 Days Left

While the 2008 web awards in so many categories are now history, there is one left: 2008 Blawg Review of the Year. A full list of the reviews from last year is available at that link, with a snippet of information on each to jog the memory.

For those who love Blawg Review, that weekly round-up of the week’s legal blogging, there are only 4 days left to nominate a review for best of the year for 2008. Nominations will be accepted until 11:59 PM on January 31st.

Who can nominate? According to the anonymous editor of the review, who is closely keeping tabs on the ballots:

Every blog that has ever hosted Blawg Review, or is scheduled to host an upcoming issue of Blawg Review, is entitled to post its nominations of as many of the qualified issues of Blawg Review (other than one’s own) as it wishes to acknowledge for consideration for recognition as Blawg Review of the Year 2008.

I posted my own list of the 11 best reviews of the year, nominating three of them for the award, based on the manner in which stories were told, since framing a story properly is a healthy part of what lawyers do.

So if you’ve done a review or plan to do one, the time is running out to put up your nominations. But wait, there’s more! If you nominate by midnight tonight, the editor will waive the shipping and handling of the nominations, and quite possibly, toss in a pocket fisherman, set of Ginsu knives and salad spinner.


January 2nd, 2009

My Blawg Review of the Year Nominations

The anonymous Editor of Blawg Review has once again foisted upon those that have written a Blawg Review (or are currently signed up to write one) the miserable job of picking the “best” of the year.

The problem, of course, is that picking the “best” is highly subjective. There’s no scale to weigh these things. And yet, someone must sit on this jury.

And so, since I’m now a juror, I’m going to pick based on who I think the best storytellers are. And that’s because, as attorneys, what we do is tell stories to present our client’s side of how something occurred. If a juror’s eyes glaze over in boredom then being right won’t help you. And woe unto the lawyer that self-promotes. Do either jurors or readers want to hear self-promotional stuff?

To keep the attention of jurors (or Blawg Review readers), I want to put them in the action. There are no warm-up comments, thank yous, explanations, or other time-wasting crap. Every opening argument I’ve ever given starts exactly the same way: “Today we turn to the clock back to…” and off we go into the middle of the story where I like to start. It’s all about the story. Jurors need to be interested in what’s going on. And so do review readers.

Mere lists of facts can be boring. I don’t generally use them unless I have to.

It can also be hard to shoehorn posts into specific legal topics for a Blawg Review, which many try to do to fit the theme of their blogs. It’s a trick that is tough to pull off. But tell a good story, and leave yourself open to any facts (good blog posts) that you see, and you’ve opened the review up to range near and far on anything of interest.

In fact, when I did my reviews based on the NYC Marathon and Thanksgiving with Arlo Guthrie, storytelling was the technique I used. I kept away from legal themes and I focused on social gatherings, where anyone can talk about anything. I didn’t spend any time with introductory comments. Chuck a little fantasy into the mix of putting people at your side during a race or a dinner, and you can go anywhere with the story so long as you grab their attention and hold it. And I tried, as much as possible, to do it in such a fashion that readers would want to click the links and be sent away from my review. Because that, after all, is the idea behind these weekly reviews.

And so, without further ado, I nominate these three storytellers for Blawg Review of the Year, followed by eight Honorable Mentions:

  • Rush Nigut of Rush on Business took us during Blawg Review # 147 on the annual Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. He was kind enough to put bloggers right into the middle of the race. Without Rush, I never would have learned about Mr. Pork Chop.
  • Mistress Ruthie hosted Blawg Review #160 at Ruthie’s Law, captivating this juror not with the story, but with the persona of the storyteller. She (?) doesn’t waste time with an introduction explaining what she is doing. She just does it. And you get it. And you merrily click on links and come back for more amusement. The law doesn’t feel like work.

Having done that, I also need to give an Honorable Mention to the following:

Charon QC at Blawg Review #141, set the bar high at the start of the year with a review that puts many others to shame. Even if you never clicked a link, the review was (and is) worth reading for the wordsmithing alone.

Marc Randazza
at the Legal Satyrcion did a brilliant job on Blawg Review #190 Bill of Rights Day. Did I say previously that “mere lists” can be boring? Or sticking to legal themes often doesn’t work? Well the Bill of Rights is the greatest of all Top Ten Lists, and Randazza picked a legal theme for sure, and proved me wrong on both counts on how to put a review together. Easily one of the ten best of the year.

Mediator Victoria Pynchon
at The IP ADR Blog picked virginity as a theme for Blawg Review #171. Now how bold was that? She also happened to have done what appears to be the longest review of the year, chock full of so many links it boggles the mind as to how long she must have worked on it.

I liked Joshua Fruchter’s Blawg Review #187 on Evolution Day at his site LawyerCasting. Since the law, and the practice of law, is constantly evolving, it is a theme that lends itself to most anything the writer wants, and in this case he successfully integrated his theme with his practice area. And that is a tough trick to pull off.

It’s worth noting that some had difficulty sticking with the themes they picked, and they wisely abandoned them rather than try to force the issue. George Wallace at Declarations and Exclusions went with a pirate theme at Blawg Review #153, before admitting (aaargh) “We have no posts to link actually involving pirates, in the traditional non-intellectual property sense, but we can present a selection of items dealing with more shorebound offenses.” And off he went for a great review, albeit having little to do with piracy.

Perennial Blawg Review of the Year winner Colin Samuels, at Infamy and Praise put up a daring Blawg Review #189 with the Rime of the Ancient Mariner theme. While picking one of the great stories of literature to tell, he ran into problems when he realized he couldn’t quite sustain the literary element with a journey through the law. (Of course, it didn’t stop him from doing an exceptional and captivating review.) He wrote:

The Mariner chose a life at sea and experienced all that it offered — the mundane and the extraordinary, the routine and the exceptional, the company of crewmates and the boatload of corpses. Similarly, our experiences with the law mix the usual with the unusual and….

Forget it. I’m reaching; you know I’m reaching. Let’s end this charade, shall we? Look, I’ll level with you… I need a section in this Blawg Review where I can put a number of excellent posts concerning substantive legal issues. I’m going to do it here and I’d appreciate it if you’d just nod and go with it, OK? Thanks.

David Gulbransen at Preaching to the Perverted did Blawg Review #182 in a very imaginative exam format, which perfectly suited the fact that he had just taken a blizzard of them.

Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends went with a straightforward list for her Blawg Review #177. And if you are going to go with a list, this is certainly the way to do it. Nice and clean. David Giacalone of f/k/a, who famously wrote that he often finds “themed Blawg Reviews to be annoying, strained and distracting” probably loved it.

Finally: To those nominated and those honorably mentioned, I’ve tried to find your law firm web site in addition to your blog to give you a little Google juice, because you earned it. I missed some, but if you send me the link, I’ll add it in. Email: blog [at] TurkewitzLaw [dot] com


December 29th, 2008

Blawg Review of the Year?

The anonymous Editor of Blawg Review is once again setting up the selection of Blawg Review of the Year as a contest.

Since I did a Thanksgiving-themed Blawg Review (#188), with a little extra help from Arlo Guthrie on guitar, I have a vested interest in who wins.

Ed. has thankfully provided a short thumbnail sketch of each review, so if you are one of the people allowed to vote (see The Rules below) you will not be left scratching your noodle trying to remember which one was which.

Here are the rules, which Ed. has nicely labeled “The Rules,” so we easily follow along…

The Rules
Any of the issues of Blawg Review #141 to #191, inclusive, is qualified to be nominated for Blawg Review of the Year 2008.

Every blog that has ever hosted Blawg Review, or is scheduled to host an upcoming issue of Blawg Review, is entitled to post its nominations of as many of the qualified issues of Blawg Review (other than one’s own) as it wishes to acknowledge for consideration for recognition as Blawg Review of the Year 2008.

Such nomination posts shall be calculated as votes for Blawg Review of the Year only if the nominating blogger advises the Editor of Blawg Review by email of a link to such nominations.

After 11:59 PM, GMT, on January 31, 2009, the Editor of Blawg Review shall determine the Blawg Review of the Year that has earned the most qualified nominations recorded in posts of which the Editor has been duly notified by email before that time.

Editor reserves the right to amend these rules as may be necessary for the sake of clarity and fairness.

If you haven’t done a Blawg Review, I would encourage it. If you’re like me, it a great way to have fun. Of course, if you’re like Greenfield, it can be a misery, which is to say, your mileage may vary.

One last thing: Unlike the ABA contest on the 100 Best Blawgs, in this one you can’t stuff the ballot box, as is happening over there.