The 2007 Blawggies: Dennis Kennedy’s Best Law-related Blogging Awards

Welcome to the 2007 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, first unleashed on an unsuspecting readership in December 2004 and now an annual pre-Christmas tradition here. 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.

Background.
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, God forbid, scientific measurements. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly five years of blogging and several more years before that of reading blogs.
My original idea was simply to illustrate how your blog is essentially your own printing press and you can do whatever you want with it – like hand out official-sounding awards. I actually expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and do their own awards posts. Still do – call me an optimist.
Surprisingly, if only to me, the Blawggies post has annually been one of my most controversial posts. Comments have ranged from “who is this guy?” to “he’s so full of himself” to my personal favorite, “he only gives awards to the blogs he reads.” Well, yeah. For what it’s worth, it was no surprise at all to me that the ABA Journal’s top 100 blawg list generated some controversy when announced a month or so ago.
Perhaps I should have done the Blawggies instead as one of those “tag, you’re it” blog memes that said, “hey, I did some blawg awards and gave you one, now you need to do a set of awards too.” Be that as it may, the Blawggies have become a tradition at DennisKennedy.Blog.

About the Blawggie Criteria.
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, so the awards will reflect a bias toward blogs with full-text RSS feeds as well as my many other biases and personal preferences, which are too numerous to list here.
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 provided an executive summary for those too busy to read the whole post, and I do recognize that some blogging pundits deplore even the idea of long posts, even as I consistently break that “rule.”
But, first, let’s do away with the suspense.
Executive Summary.
Here’s the “executive summary” of the award winners. I do encourage you to read the whole post for details and the honorable mention choices.
2007 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Tom Collins’ More Partner Income
2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Ken Adams’ AdamsDrafting
3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Tom Collins’ More Partner Income
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs, Non-US Law-related Blogs and Solo Lawyer Blogs (Tie)
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Blog
6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs
7. Best Legal Podcast – Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Ernest Svenson’s Ernie the Attorney
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Jim Maule’s Mauled Again
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Doug Cornelius’s KM Space
11. Best Legal Technology Blog – DennisKennedy.Blog
12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Niche Blogs

I encourage you to read more about the winning blogs (and why they were winners) and the honorable mention blogs below. If you’d rather simply see if your blog is included in the honorable mentions, simply use the “find on this page” feature in the edit menu of your browser. ;-)
The Details.
As I’ve said in connection with earlier award posts:
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.
1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Tom Collins’ More Partner Income
Tom joins previous winners, Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific.com, Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia and Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog. I wanted to use these year’s awards in part to celebrate Tom Collins’ retirement from active blogging. What a run he has had! I read this blog everyday and almost always put it into my starred and shared items in my Google Reader. I enjoy Tom’s selection of topics, his style, his perspective, his incisive analysis, and the personal warmth and generosity that permeates his work. Tom has long history of seeing how law firms are run and we are all blessed that he has decided to share his perspectives and wisdom. In many ways, Tom’s blog illustrates how organizations could use blogs to share the insights and wisdom of the most experienced people in KM blogs. Best wishes to Tom on his retirement. We’ll miss your steady stream of excellent posts but always appreciate the mark you have left on law-related blogging. Best wishes to Brian Ritchey on taking over for Tom. Honorable Mention – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs - I read every post and occasionally comment on them.
2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Ken Adams’ AdamsDrafting
I named this award for Marty Schwimmer’s lifetime achievement with The Trademark Blog in setting an example of what you can do with a practice-specific blog. There are many more practice-specific blogs this year than ever before and that makes choosing a winner a difficult task. The big issue in choosing a practice-specific blog is that I tend to read the blogs that relate to my individual practice. Therefore, I’m going to miss great blogs that cover areas I don’t work in (and that’s why it’s a good idea for others to do their own awards). Ken Adams’ blog focuses on the practical aspects of contract drafting. He covers many of the issues that we transactional lawyers have discussed and debated over the years (e.g., “indemnify and hold harmless” or just “indemnify”?). His posts are especially valuable to my practice and his mission of helping lawyers create clear, precise and readable contracts is a laudable one. Honorable Mention – Rob Robinson’s Information Governance Engagement Area (Electronic discovery seems to have become a practice area of its own, hasn’t it?)
3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Tom Collins’ More Partner Income
Sensing a bit of a trend here? Thank you again Tom for the great work that you’ve done with your blog. I said last year that “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.” When I sometimes struggle to find a topic for a post on my blog, I often look to Tom’s blog for an idea or a post of his that I can point to. As a former partner in a law firm, I can attest that Tom hits on all the issues that partners have concerns and points the way to effective solutions. Honorable Mention – Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq.
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs, Non-US Legal Blogs and Solo Lawyer Blogs (Tie)
I have to be one of the biggest fans of law librarian blogs there is. I learn so much from these blogs and they get named for this award every year. As I said before, “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.” There’s a whole list of great law librarian blogs listed here. I’ve also been reading more non-US law-related blogs this year, limited only by my lack of non-English language skills. I singled out the great Canadian blogs last year, but have noticed more non-US blogs, especially UK blogs, in my reading in 2007. Here’s a great starter list on Non-US blogs. 2007 also seemed to be the year that blogs of solo lawyers, always an important part of the “blawgosphere,” really came to the forefront. There are a diverse mix of solo blogs out there, focusing on a variety of topics, and they all have a lot of personality and have developed a voice, to me the key in becoming a great blog. Add a few solo blogs to your reading list (start here) and you’ll agree.
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Blog
There are some excellent blogs that aggregate information from other legal blogs, digest posts from other legal blogs or highlight and point to posts on other legal blogs. You can effectively monitor the best posts from a number of blogs in one place. Nancy Stinson at the Stark County Law Library Blog has been blogging in this fashion for a long time and I’ve been reading her blog for just as long. It’s a great way to keep up with developments when you don’t have much time. Honorable Mention – Rob Robinson’s Information Governance Clearance Area.
6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs
The name of this category is an inside joke so I could make Kevin use the word “blawg,” which he hates, when he mentions that he won this award (bloggers like to do little things like that to each other). No one covers the world of legal blogging better than Kevin does. And no one today knows more about the practical aspects of legal blogging and what lawyers are doing in blogging than Kevin does. I’ve also enjoyed several chances to present with and talk with Kevin this year. If you want to learn how to start blogging and how to blog better, there’s no better place to start than Kevin’s blog. Honorable Mention – not a blawg, but Darren Rowse’s Problogger Blog Tips is my favorite blog for learning about ways to blog better.
7. Best Legal Podcast – Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast
This regular weekly podcast of interviews and panel discussions has a new name for 2007, but is once again the clear choice as best legal podcast. The ability to produce a consistent weekly show with great topics and guests helps this podcast move to the top of the list. I’m consistently impressed by the way Bob Ambrogi and Craig Williams put together shows on the leading stories of the day. If you want to learn about how to do a good legal podcast, you can go to school on this one. And it’s fun to be a guest on ths podcast. I also like how their podcast intro shows that they have no blog or podcast self-esteem issues (see my comment on blog self-esteem in #11 below). Honorable MentionThis Week in Law.
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Ernest Svenson’s Ernie the Attorney
Before commenting on this award, I wanted to quote my favorite paragraph of blawg writing this year from a post called “Law Blog vanity contests : ABA adds to the silliness” from Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs:

Law blogs represent disintermediation of publishers and gatekeepers. No more are those in supposed power and control going to screen and serve up what they think is important. A lawyer in a town with a water tower, an old grain elevator and 3 four way stops is on equal footing with a lawyer who clerked for a Supreme Court Judge. The democratization of publishing and dialogue we get through law blogs is at the very heart of what we stand for in America.

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. Ernie has won this award before, but I just like reading his blog, as do many others. No matter what his choice of topic, I’m ready to ride along with him. This year, Ernie has moved away from a legal focus, but I’m more than happy to move with him. Honorable Mention – Denise Howell, especially for Lawgarithms.
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Jim Maule’s Mauled Again
Practicing lawyers often feel that their blogs never even get onto the radar of the law professors. Law professors often say, “there are blogs by practicing lawyers?” But, seriously, I always attempt to bridge that chasm (although realizing that a favorable mention of a law professor’s blog outside academia might be disastrous for his or her tenure chances, I try to be careful). Jim Maule’s Mauled again is all about tax law developments and it is so darn interesting that you won’t believe. Or maybe the time I spent earlier in my career as a tax lawyers colors my opinion toward this blog. Jim has a great accessible style and an always-interesting perspective on his topics and legal education. Probably the best compliment you can pay a law professor blog is that it makes you want to take a class with them, and Jim’s definitely does. Honorable Mention – the multi-authored MoneyLaw.
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Doug Cornelius’s KM Space
It’s a bit of a Blawggie tradition for me to accidentally give this award to a blog that actually started before the year of the award, so I checked the starting dates of the blogs under consideration this year. Doug Cornelius has been blogging since January 2007 on one of my favorite area, knowledge management, for almost a year. I got to meet him in person at the ILTA conference in August. One of Doug’s signature skills is his ability to “live blog” conference sessions. Knowledge management seems to be making a comback in the legal profession and Doug’s blog is a great place to track developments in this area. Honorable Mention – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning.
11. Best Legal Technology Blog – DennisKennedy.Blog
I’ve tried, but, continuing my annual tradition (see my actual explanation here) of giving my own blog a Blawggie, I just can’t objective about my blog – there are apparently no blawg self-esteem issues here. 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 all in one post. This blog also makes an effort to point you to great articles from other blogs and elsewhere, with the popular “money quote” from the blog posts mentioned. 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. Posts of note this past year include: Recapping ILTA 2007; Are Lawyers Doing Work That Should Be Done By Machines?; Green Legal Technology: Is the TIme Ripe?; Birth of the Blawg – A Historical Visit and Thoughts about the Future; 26 Electronic Discovery Trends for 2008; and How About 3 ED Trends Instead of 26?. Honorable Mention – Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology, Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia (I’ve gotten a lot of great tips from Tom’s non-blawg-of-the-day posts), Rick Georges’ FutureLawyer, Jeff Beard’s Law Tech Guru, Ross Kodner’s Ross Ipsa Loquitur, Adriana Linares’ I Heart Tech, Rick Borstein’s Acrobat for Legal Professionals, and ABA TECHSHOW.Blog.
12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Niche Blogs
If you read Tom Mighell’s Blawg of the Day posts, you cannot help but be struck by the number of blogs that have titles like [State Name] [Practice Area] Law Blog. Throughout the history of blogging (and websites), niche blogs (blogs that focus on specific, targeted audiences) have always done well. My original blog was called “Estate Planning Links” and did exactly what you would expect from the title and drew a surprisingly audience. I’ve often said that strategically I know that my best bet for a blog for my legal practice would be “The Missouri Information Technology Transactions Law Blog,” but I would have found that way too constricting. With “DennisKennedy.Blog,” anything I want to write about is “on topic.” Kevin O’Keefe has played a huge role in popularizing the niche blogging concept and it’s clearly become a feature of this generation of law-related blogging, with positive results for many who have tried it. I still miss, a little bit, the early days of blogging when Latin legal phrases were often used for blog names, but I think that they were all used up. Honorable Mention – Law-related blogs from traditional legal publishers and mainstream media publications.
And there you have it – the 2007 Blawggie Awards.
It’s painful not to give awards to all the blogs I like, but, as with any awards, you have to make some choices. This year, however, I’m making available for download an OPML file (you’ll need to right-click on the link and “save as” the file) with the Blawggie winners and a pretty large list of many of the other law-related blogs to which I currently subscribe and grabbed for this list. Follow the instructions in your RSS reader for importing OPML files and you’ll be able to instantly start reading the law-related blogs I do. 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. Or, perhaps most important, if you don’t have a blog, but have been thinking about starting one, I encourage you to jump right in.
Best wishes for 2008.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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Comments

  1. says

    Dennis: We sincerely appreciate your selection of Lawyer2Lawyer as best podcast. It is a true honor, especially given that it comes from a fellow podcaster.
    Wishing you all the best for the holiday season.

  2. says

    Dennis, guess I should pay more attention to my feeds! Didn’t even realize you were kind enough to give “Ross Ipsa Loquitur” an honorable mention! Thanks from one of your biggest fans!