The 2006 Blawggies: Dennis Kennedy’s Best Law-related Blogging Awards

Welcome to the 2006 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, the longest-running set of awards honoring blogging in the legal profession. Beginning all the way back in December 2004, these awards, which have become affectionately known as the “Blawggies,” celebrate the best of law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective.
A little background on the Blawggies for those who are new to the concept. The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or scientific measures. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly four years of blogging and several more years before that of reading blogs.
In general, I like to see blogs (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment and talent, with an emphasis on good writing. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis. I read almost all blog posts in a newsreader these days, so the awards will reflect a bias toward blogs with full-text RSS feeds as well as my many other biases and personal preferences.
The Blawggies are also intended to recognize the work of long-time bloggers who might otherwise get overlooked in the usual blogging focus on the newest and latest thing. Once again, I have continued two Blawggie traditions – the executive summary (for those too busy to read the whole post – I recognize that some blogging pundits deplore the very idea of long posts) and giving DennisKennedy.Blog an award (see explanation in 2005 awards post – ah, heck, I do it because it’s my award list and I have all the votes).
I’ll start this post with an “executive summary” that lists the award winners and then tell you more about each of the winners and the awards for 2006, which may become known as the year before onerous state bar ethical regulations changed blogging in the legal profession in an unduly burdensome, paternalistic and micromanaging way. I do encourage you to read the whole post.
I. List of 2006 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.
1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog
2. Best Overall Law Practice Management Blog – Tom Collins’ More Partner Income
3. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Evan Schaeffer’s The Illinois Trial Lawyer Weblog
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs and Canadian Law-related Blogs (Tie)
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Blog and Bob Ambrogi’s and Carolyn Elefant’s Law.com Inside Opinions (Tie)
6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs
7. Best Legal Podcast – Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Coast to Coast Podcast
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Tony Colleluori’s That Lawyer Dude
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Tung Yin’s The Yin Blog
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Peter Lattman’s WSJ.com Law Blog and Adriana Linares’ I Heart Tech (Tie)
11. Best Legal Technology Blog – DennisKennedy.Blog
I encourage you to read more about the winning blogs (and why they were winners) and the honorable mention blogs below.
II. The Details
What do they call it when you get thousands of lawyers, law professors, law librarians, law students, legal consultants and others writing blogs that focus on law-related content? A good start.
My real purpose with the Blawggie awards is to encourage a whole bunch of legal bloggers to do their own “awards.” I think that if they did this, it would be a great way for legal bloggers to highlight the blawgs they really like and a great way for me to learn about some great blogs I might have been unfamiliar with.
I’ll also note that this year I highlight blogs that I read on a consistent basis and are in the “page 1″ folder in my newsreader.
And . . . away we go.
1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog
Marty joins previous winners Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific.com and Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia Blog. Marty has done excellent work this year and the Trademark Blog sets the standard for legal blogging in the way it compelling combines education and entertainment. It remains the model for practice-specific blogs (see #4 below) and is both a treasure trove of useful insights and information on intellectual property issues and a showcase for Marty’s experience and expertise. The only things better than Marty’s blog are his emails and phone conversations with him. My favorite thing about this blog is how you can show wit and personality in a blog while focusing on a specific topic. And Marty’s use of pictures in his blog is second to none. A representative post. Runner-ups in this category – Rob Hyndman’s robhyndman.com and The Technology Liberation Front.
2. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Tom Collins’ More Partner Income
The category is new and probably one I should have done in previous years. For lawyers, the most beneficial aspect of reading blogs is how much you can learn from the enormous amount of useful, practical information you can get about running, marketing and improving your law practice. On a daily basis, you can get tips and insight that can make or save you thousands of dollars. The title of Tom Collins’ blog, More Partner Income, says it all. Even when I have limited time, I read Tom’s posts. The biggest compliment: when I’m struggling to come up with a blog post topic, I know I can point to and write about one of Tom’s recent posts. There is much wisdom in Tom’s writing and he gets right to the heart of the matter. A tremendously valuable resource. Runner-ups in this rich category – David Maister’s Passion, People and Principles and Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq.
3. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific BlogThe Illinois Trial Lawyer Weblog
Rather than give Marty this award every year, I decided to remove Marty’s blog from consideration, recognize his lifetime achievement, and name the award after him. This year’s winner is Evan Schaeffer’s Illinois Trial Practice Blog. I also considered Evan’s work at Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Blog when making this award. Evan’s blog is exceedingly well-written and loaded with practical tips and insights. I also enjoy Evan’s occasional impassioned efforts to defend trial lawyers from the constant stream of criticism they get. I don’t think he’s been able to change many opinions, but I admire the effort. Evan’s now written a book on deposition techniques, in no small part because of his work on this blog. If you are a trial lawyer, this blog is a must-read. If you have to hire a trial lawyer, this blog is a valuable read to help you understand the process and to evaluate what your lawyer is doing. Runner-ups in this category – Ken Adams’ AdamsDrafting and Steve Nipper’s The Invent Blog.
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs and Canadian Legal Blogs (Tie)
I remain a huge fan of law librarian bloggers and enjoyed getting the chance to meet some of them during their convention in St. Louis this summer. As I said last year, “across the board, these blogs have developed into strong information resources, often with links to primary source information that I’m not sure how I would find otherwise.” Anyone else notice in the past year that more and more of the law blogs you read regularly are based in Canada? There’s great work being done north of the border. Let me mention Rob Hyndman, Vancouver Law Library Blog, Connie Crosby and Slaw.ca for starters.
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Blog and Bob Ambrogi’s and Carolyn Elefant’s Law.com Inside Opinions (Tie)
2006 saw the continuation of the trend of blogs that aggregate information from other legal blogs, digest posts from other legal blogs or highlight and point to posts on other legal blogs. These blogs let you monitor the highlights of a number of blogs in one place. Nancy Stinson at the Stark County Law Library Blog has been highlighting and pointing to useful posts for a long time now. Bob Ambrogi and Carolyn Elefant, blogging pioneers in their own right, took over Law.com’s Inside Opinions (f/k/a Legal Blog Watch) this year and continued the great work of Lisa Stone. I really like the way that they will point to great posts outside the Law.com network from time to time.
6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs
I renamed this category as a bit of an inside joke so I could make Kevin use the word “blawg” when he mentions that he won this award (bloggers like to do little things like that to each other). Kevin’s blog was definitely a candidate in categories #1 and #2 above this year. No one covers the world of legal blogging better than Kevin does. I appreciate his insights, which are informed by his long experience on the Internet. Kevin is not shy about letting his opinions be known, comments incisively, and points to great information that you might not otherwise find. He likes to get conversations started. His blog is also chock-full of practical information for bloggers and bloggers-to-be. Kevin’s blog is also a textbook example of how you can blog about the business you are in and provide great information rather than self-promotional content. Kevin’s expertise speaks for itself. Runner-ups in this category – Bill Gratsch’s Blawg’s Blog and Tim Stanley’s Justia Legal Marketing Blog.
7. Best Legal Podcast – Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Coast to Coast Podcast
This regular weekly podcast of interviews and panel discussions is the clear choice as best legal podcast. Good production values (especially since they got Bob off his cell phone), great topics, excellent guests and a regularly flow of shows are some of the strengths of this podcast. There’s always good coverage of topical issues. Bob and Craig have a comfortable and engaging style and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a guest on this podcast. An excellent example of how law-related information can be offered through the podcast format. Runner-ups in this category – Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Podcast and The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast (especially for the episodes on podcasting and Web 2.0). Bonus Award: Best Podcast Episode – Marty Schwimmer’s excellent discussion of the basics of trademark law on this Podcast Brothers podcast episode (link to mp3).
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Anthony Colleluori’s That Lawyer Dude
I’m a big fan of the pure writing ability of some of the best legal bloggers. I named this award after the legal blogger who had the biggest influence on my blog writing Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler, who just ended her blog, Stay of Execution, one of the important blogs in the history of legal blogging, to start a new blog called “Stay.” Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson won this award in 2005 and could have easily done so again with his great posts on post-Katrina New Orleans. However, the blogger whose writing really grabbed me this year was Tony Collelulori at That Lawyer Dude. After meeting Tony, I always describe him as having a heart of gold. That comes through in his writing and his writing often has an emotionally compelling quality that you don’t often see. Some of his posts make me think about them for days – they grab you. Here’s the recent post that clinched this award. His analytical posts are great, but his personal essays are the highlights of his blog. If you are not reading Tony’s blog, you should be. Runners-up in this category – Ernest Svenson and Denise Howell.
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Tung Yin’s The Yin Blog
Professor Yin’s blog covers both law and popular culture. It’s also an enjoyable read and I like the fact that he and I are fans of some of the same television shows. The blog shows that law professors can write about academic topics without being overly academic. Congratulations on the great tenure news. Runner-ups in this category – Jim Maule’s Mauled Again and Paul Caron’s TaxProf Blog.
10. Best New Legal Blog – Peter Lattman’s WSJ.com Law Blog and Adriana Linares’ I Heart Tech Blog (Tie)
The new blog awards go to representatives of two different styles of blogging. Peter Lattman’s Law Blog is a tour de force of legal news blogging. It’s professional, it covers current legal issues as they happen, and it has a newsy approach. It’s also very well-written. I recommend the blog highly, but, for my taste, the number of posts can feel a bit overwhelming, and the focus is on general legal matters and news, case developments and the like, not on a specific topic area. Adriana’s blog focuses on practical aspects of legal technology, with an emphasis on practical tips to help you with things you use your computer for on a daily basis. The blog has a great friendly, humorous style and is a pleasure to read. I also highly recommend it. It would be instructive to read and compare the two blogs to see how people can write great blogs using very different approaches. Runner-ups in this category – Denise Howell’s Lawgartihms and Ross Kodner’s Ross Ipsa Loquitur.
11. Best Legal Technology Blog – DennisKennedy.Blog
DennisKennedy.Blog covers legal technology and related topics from a variety of perspectives, with an emphasis on the business and practical implications of technology in the practice of law. You will find coverage of electronic discovery, strategic planning, technology developments, Web 2.0 and Law 2.0, sometimes in the same post. This blog also makes an effort to point you to great articles from other blogs and elsewhere. From practical tips to posts that challenge your assumptions and make you think about the future, you will find a broad range of legal technology coverage on DennisKennedy.Blog. [Note: For explanation of why I always give my own blog a Blawggie award, see the explanation in the 2005 awards post. Runner-ups in this category – Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology and Rick Georges’ FutureLawyer (great coverage of new product).
And there you have it – the 2006 Blawggie Awards.
I had to make many difficult choices this year and it pains me to leave blogs like Between Lawyers, Matt Homann’s Nonbillable Hour, Rethink IP, Bag and Baggage, Golden Practices, George’s Employment Blawg, Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips, and so many other great law-related blogs off the list.
These awards obvious reflect my personal perspective on the Blawgosphere today. I welcome your feedback, but really invite you to post your own awards as a way of saying “thank you” to the blogs and bloggers that matter most to you.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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By Request: Will You Be Announcing the 2006 Blawggie Awards Soon?

Thanks for asking. I’m currently making my list and checking it twice. The third annual edition of my somewhat infamous Blawggie awards for excellence in law-related blogging will be announced on this very blog on December 22.
To see what all the commotion is about, prepare yourself for the announcements, and generally get into the Blawggie frame of mind, check out the 2004 awards and the 2005 awards. The one thing of which I am certain is that the 2006 awards post will be shorter than the 2005 announcement post. I think.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Like what you are reading? Check out the other blogs where I post – Between Lawyers (feed) and the LexThink Blog (feed).
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Best of Strongest Links Column 2006

I’ve been helping out Tom Mighell with the Strongest Links column in the Law Practice Today webzine off and on through 2006. The column selects, collects and annotates helpful Internet resources on a variety of law practice topics.
Our most recent effort is a “best of” column that highlights our favorite links from the previous columns this year. You’ll find some great starting points for your Internet research in this column.
While many sing the praises of Google, the sad fact is that search engines have become less effective for taking you to the best starting points for basic information on law-related topics. The Strongest Links column is an effort to share some of the best entry points for further research. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned in 2006 is how difficult it is to find links for these columns using search engine results alone.
Check out the column here.
I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to write with Tom this year and you can expect to see more of our writing collaborations in 2007.
You’ll also see some of my reflections on legal technology in 2006 in a roundtable article in this issue of Law Practice Today called “Leading Technology Trends for 2006 and Beyond.” Simon Chester, Terry Gill, Joe Kashi and John Tredennick are the other contributors and the article will make you think and start some good discussions.
In the meantime, I’m busily at work on my annual legal technology predictions article. Until it’s done, take a look back at last year’s legal tech predictions article and the collection of legal tech and tech law predictions for 2007 on the Society for Computers and Law website. There’s lots of good stuff in the SCL article, with, to be sure, some overlap, with my thoughts, but I’m sure that you’ll find my 2007 predictions will reflect my unique perspective and be thought-provoking. That’s one prediction I can guarantee.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Toward Knowledge Management 2.0

I really enjoyed Scott Spanbauer’s CIO magazine piece on “Knowledge Management 2.0″ and was planning on writing about it here, but instead I’ll point to Bruce MacEwen’s post “Knowledge Management 2.0” and recommend it to your attention. I like the approach Bruce took to the topic and the conclusions he draws.
The money quote from Bruce:

Just as the days of top-heavy, intricate, heavy-maintenance IT “solutions” to KM may be in danger, so is the need to exhaustively present binder upon binder of ROI analyses to senior management to get buy-in. Rather than have to promise benefits two years (or more) down the road after exorbitant expenditures, just show people actually sharing their work through blogs and wikis.

Let me touch on Scott’s article for a moment because I had it in the back of my mind when I wrote my recent post on knowledge sharing, mainly for the way it showed a few examples of where KM “actually worked” using blogs, wikis and the other lightweight apps known collectively as Web 2.0 tools.
The money quote:

But recently, a new wave of smaller, lighter and less expensive tools has started to go where the larger KM systems often don’t—bringing corporate knowledge back out into daylight.

I like the 2.0 metaphor, even though I know that some do not, and I tend to use it in the sense of approaches that use the Internet as a platform. If you want to learn more about my thoughts on Web 2.0 and its implications for the practice of law, check out this podcast.
Web 2.0. KM 2.0. What’s next? Law 2.0? Electronic Discovery 2.0? Litigation 2.0?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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