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Dennis Kennedy

Technology Law and Legal Technology. Dennis Kennedy is one of the few technology lawyers who is also an expert on the underlying technologies. Dennis an award-winning leader in the application of technology and the Internet to the practice of law. DennisKennedy.com gives you access to a wide variety of Dennis Kennedy's resources on legal technology, his writings, his well-known blog, DennisKennedy.Blog, and information about how you can have Dennis speak to your organization or group.

Dennis Kennedy is one of the most knowledgeable legal technologists you will find. - Michael Arkfeld.

Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and legal technology expert in St. Louis, Mo., has been a significant influence in the ever-evolving relationship between lawyers and the Web. - Robert Ambrogi

Archive for the ‘Blawggies’ Category

Announcing the 2013 Blawggie Awards – Tenth Edition

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Welcome to the 2013 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, affectionately known as the “Blawggies.”

The Blawggies, which honor the best law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are an annual tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog.

This historic tenth edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by a lawyer named Dennis Kennedy living in St. Louis, Missouri. What was originally just a crazy idea turned into a bit of an institution in the world of law-related blogging, illustrating my original premise: “Hey, I have a blog and there’s nothing stopping me from making up my own awards.”

I’ve included some explanatory and historical information about the Blawggies at the end of this post. As I’ve said before and explain in more detail at the end of this post, the Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. I choose the winners from only the blogs I read regularly. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone as I write this post.

Executive Summary.

Spoiler Alert In this era of short attention spans, many people, especially lawyers, do not like three thousand word posts such as this one. Even fewer like long introductions to even long blog posts, or reading through commentary to learn the award winners. What follows is the executive summary list of winners. If you’d like to keep up the level of suspense, you’ll want to scroll quickly past the summary list. If all you really want to know is whether I mention you or your blawg, hit control-F (or command-F for Mac users) and search for your name or your blawg’s name.

Here’s the list of the award winners. I will encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices, and my thoughts about the blawgs. And I definitely encourage you to add the RSS feeds to all of these blogs to your RSS reader or “regularly-visited blogs” list.

2013 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.


1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

2. The “Marty Schwimmer” Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Adam Smith, Esq.

4. Best Law-related Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

5. The “Kennedy-Mighell Report” Best Legal Podcast – The Return of the Legal Talk Network

6. The “Sherry Fowler” Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Legal Skills Prof Blog

8. The “DennisKennedy.Blog” Best Legal Technology Blog – V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM

9. Best New Blawg – Jerry Lawson’s NetLawTools

10. Best Blawg Aggregator – Tie: TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld; Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I encourage you to keep reading this post to learn about the winning blogs (and why I felt that they were winners) and about the runners-up.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE 2013 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

I decided to single out the excellent 3 Geeks and a Law Blog not only for great content, but also for its ability to generate serious discussions. With everyone involved in several forms of social media, “engagement” and discussion with blog posts and blog comments is becoming harder to find than ever before. This blog has raised a lot of great questions about law and law practice and gotten people talking about those issues. I admit the authors and especially like how they’ve been able to keep a group blog going in a vibrant way – a rarity in the blawg world. My hat is off to 3 Geeks and a Law Blog for making themselves an easy choice for this award in 2013. Congratulations to Toby Brown, Greg Lambert, Lisa Salazar and their team of helpers.

Runner-up – Jordan Furlong’s Law21 blog won the 2012 Blawggie in the “best overall” category and continued in a very strong fashion this year, ending the year with a thought-provoking post called “You Say You Want a Revolution” that’s garnered a lot of attention. The post exemplifies Jordan’s coverage of law practice and the legal profession with insight, creativity and a willingness to challenge business-as-usual approaches.

2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

This category is named for Marty Schwimmer, whose The Trademark Blog, has long been my gold standard for what a practice-specific blog should be. Cybersecurity, discovery and data privacy have become front-and-center issues for many lawyers in 2013 (and should become top of mind for many more lawyers). I’ve really enjoyed Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning blog this year. She focuses on computer security and ediscovery, but has branched out in privacy and other areas. The posts are practical and thoughtful and often cover breaking developments with real-world insights. These topics cut across all traditions areas of law practice and I give this award in part in recognition that lawyers should no longer think of their niche practice areas as isolated islands that are somehow unaffected by the changes technology is bringing us.

Runner-up – The Inhouse Blog took the runner-up prize in this category for 2013. Since I work as an in-house counsel, this blog is a very useful resource with practical information, links, news and developments relevant to in-house counsel. Highly recommended for anyone who is an in-house counsel, wants to be an in-house counsel or wants to work better with in-house counsel.

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Adam Smith, Esq.

The Adam Smith, Esq. blog has long been the gold standard in analytical study of the practice of law, with an emphasis on legal economics. The blog usually focuses on so-called BigLaw issues, but there is much to be learned for firms of all sizes. The blog also does the occasional longer, multi-part thought pieces that are well worth your time and attention.

Runner-up – Allison Shields’ LegalEase Blog. I know that Allison had to spend time away from her blog this year to write two books with me, but her blog (and email newsletter) have lots of great practical tips. There’s a series of time management tips she’s been writing and I really like her recent experiments with infographics.

4. Best Law-related Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

I use this category annually to highlight the blogs written by law librarians, a category that I don’t think gets enough attention. These blogs are places to find great information, help for finding information, links to great resources and just plain interesting insights into topics like knowledge management and our changing world of information. If you want to try just one, Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific Blog provides a steady stream of links to great US government and other information. The Law Librarian Blog is a great starting place and there’s a great list of law library blogs here.

Runner-up – Non-US Law-related Blogs – I also use this category to remind people that blawgging is a global phenomenon. As longtime readers know, I’m a huge fan of Canadian bloggers. As I’ve said before, “If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global.” Diversity is a good thing. Why not start in Canada? The annual Clawbie awards will give you a starter list. In the UK, I especially like the Legal Futures Blog.

5. The Kennedy-Mighell Report Best Legal Podcast – The Return of the Legal Talk Network

I name this category after the podcast Tom Mighell and I do, since I can’t really give it the best podcast award without causing much eye-rolling from Tom. Last year, we thought the Legal Talk Network was finished, but it was resurrected by the great people at Lawgical and I’m thrilled that LTN is again a vibrant resource for legal and law-related podcasts.Lots of choices. If you have not tried listening to podcasts, the Legal Talk Network gives you a great place to start. Try out a few of them.

6. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

I’m a big fan of the pure writing ability of some of the best blawggers. I named this award after the legal blogger who had the biggest influence on my blog writing, Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler (who hasn’t been a lawyer blogger for many years). This is my favorite of the Blawggies, my most-opinionated award, and the one I historically get most criticized for. The bottom line: I like the writing I like.

As I was thinking about this award, I started thinking about how much I enjoy reading Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning blog on a regular basis. Sometimes when you have known someone for a long time and are friends with them, you tend to take for granted how good their work really is. Sharon’s an excellent wrier and her blog captures her voice so well. Blog pioneer, Dave Winer, has defined a blog as “the unedited voice of a person.” Sharon encapsulate that notion well. It’s time to recognize that.

Runner-up – Jane Genova’s Law and More – Topical, opinionated, wide-ranging, thoughtful and well-written, the Law and More blog is one that I just enjoy reading every day. I like the way Jane addresses issues like alcoholism, depression, burnout and other things that many lawyers like to avoid.

Special Mention – Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest – Although technically not a blog, Jeff Brandt’s daily email newsletter selects three or four worthy blog posts and summarizes them in a pithy, witty and engaging style. Jeff also illustrates Dave Winer’s idea that a blog is the “unedited voice of a person.” We all get too much email, but this is an email newsletter that you won’t mind at all in in your inbox.

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Legal Skills Prof Blog

Although, I’m nominally a contributing editor of the Legal Skills Prof Blog, I’m way more a reader than a contributor. As the debate about the future of legal education started to take hod in 2013 and gain momentum, the “practical skills” approach started to get a lot of attention. THis blog’s coverage of those issues was excellent and it’s a great place to keep up-to-date on discussions about the future of legal education, analysis of current trends, and generally help links and information.

Runner-up – Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog What more can I say than that this blog covers tax topics in such an interesting way that I want to read every post. My greatest compliment: reading this blog makes me want to take a class from Paul. I hope he’s thinking about doing some online courses.

8. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM

[Note: I used to give my own blog this award every year, in part because of the attribution issue I talk about in this post and in part because I thought some of my blogging friends got a laugh out of it. They did, but others didn't, and, instead, I started the tradition of naming the award for my blog rather than having my blog win it. I still get some criticism for that, and my friends laugh even more at that. Or maybe they just like to laugh at me.]

Legal technology takes many forms and covers a wide rage of areas. This category’s winner, V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM, covers an area I’ve long been interested in gaining more expertise – knowledge management. Interest in legal KM has ebbed and flowed over the years, but it seems to be gathering attention, especially as we start to enter the realm of Big Data. I find that I look to Mary’s blog for thoughtful commentary and her always excellent notes on presentations she attends. It’s a niche topic, but also one that has broader insights and principles.

Runner-up – Law Technology Today OK, I’ll admit that this blog is one that I post to on a once-a-month basis, but I really like what Josh Poje and his team are doing with this blog. If Above and Beyond KM is an example of a niche legal tech blog, Law Technology Today is a great example of a practical, general audience legal tech blog. Lots of great practical advice, often from well-known legal tech writers.

9. Best New Blawg – Jerry Lawson’s NetLawTools

I’m kind of cheating in this category, but you’ll see the reason for my selection. Jerry Lawson is one of the true Internet pioneers among lawyers. I had the chance to write a regular column with Jerry on Internet marketing more than ten years ago. Jerry is the one who first noticed that I had written that blogs might be a great thing for lawyers about two years before I actually got around to starting my blog. In 2013, I noticed that Jerry had started posting to his blog again after a long absence. It’s so great to have his voice and insights back on a regular basis that I knew that I had to give him this award, even if I had to change the rules. Then I realized that I made up all the rules and can do whatever I want. It is very welcome news to see that Jerry is back to writing regularly and I highly recommend you check out his blog.

10. Best Blawg Aggregator – Tie: TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld; Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

Two different approaches to keep up with legal tech and law practice management blogs and other posts related to the legal profession. If you read DennisKennedy.Blog, then you should be (and probably already are) a member of Neil Squillante’s excellent TechnoLawyer community, with its great set of resources on legal tech, marking and management. TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld is a weekly email newsletter that uses human editors to cull out usedul blog posts and other materials. They say, “Week after week, BlawgWorld provides you with everything you need from the legal Web but nothing you don’t.” The Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest is a daily email newsletter in which Jeff Brandt highlights three or four blawg posts on legal tech and summarizes and comments on them in his perceptive, concise and often witty way. His eye for selection is also great and I usually find myself checking out a few of the linked posts everyday.

And there you have it – the 2013 Blawggie Awards.

I wish I could give awards to all the blawgs (and blogs) I like, but this post is already long enough (another Blawggie tradition). Once again, I encourage you to create your own awards (although I’d prefer that you not call them Blawggies – that makes me feel that you don’t read my blog).

When it really comes down to it, the Blawggies are really my way of saying thank you to the blawgs I enjoy most. There are times when blogging can seem like a thankless pursuit, so remember that all bloggers welcome a thank you from readers from time to time.

Some Background on the Blawggies.

The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly ten years of blogging and from reading blogs voraciously for a good number of years before that.

The reactions to the Blawggies have traditionally run the gamut from “who does this guy think he is?” to “if he’s so smart about blawgs, why didn’t he give my blawg an award?” to “who is Dennis Kennedy?”

I used to get some criticism for giving myself awards or naming awards after me on this list (in fact, I still do), but, as I’ve explained before, most of the reason for that stems from my longtime experience of seeing lists I made republished without attribution or linkbacks. Adding myself to the list is a way to make sure that someone finds his or her way back to my work if the list is “repurposed.”

I’ve always wanted to do three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to those who write them.

2. To direct my readers to the law-related blogs I enjoy.

3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and write their own awards posts. After all, there is no barrier to entry for posting your own awards. I thought that I could then get great recommendations for blogs to add to my reading list from other awards posts in much the same way you can get great recommendations for new music to listen to from the “best of the year” posts by music bloggers that appear at this time of year.

As I’ve said before, “When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t simply post your own awards, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital ‘B.’”

The best response to my list is to post your own list, although I do invite your comments and discussion about my list.

The Blawggie-winning Criteria.

I like blogs with (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment, personality and talent, with an emphasis on good writing. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis.

The awards necessarily reflect my many biases and personal preferences, which are far too numerous to list here.

It’s very important to remember that the awards also reflect the blawgs I actually read. While I read a lot of law-related blogs, the number of blawgs I read continues to decrease and the number of non-law-related blogs I read increases. Also, the blawgs I do read are concentrated in my areas of interest and day-to-day focus.

I’m a transactional lawyer, who focuses on information technology law, legal technology and law practice management issues. For better or worse, I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented, criminal defense, regulatory or other specialized blogs. You get the idea.

A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”

Among the historic documents of law-related blogging are a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg,” and I had on the question whether “Blawggies” (as well as “blawgger” and “blawgging”) should be spelled with one or two “gs”. As a result, I’m pretty confident of the correct spelling, although I’m seeing more of the single “g” approach lately.

I use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related blogs.” I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover.

All best wishes for 2014.

Dennis

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Announcing the 2012 Blawggie Awards

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Welcome to the 2012 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, affectionately known as the “Blawggies.”

The Blawggies, which honor the best law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are an annual tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog.

This ninth edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by a lawyer named Dennis Kennedy living in St. Louis, Missouri. What was originally just a crazy idea turned into a bit of an institution in the world of law-related blogging.

I’ve included some explanatory and historical information about the Blawggies at the end of this post. As I’ve said before and explain in more detail at the end of this post, the Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. I choose the winners from only the blogs I read regularly. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone as I write this post.

Executive Summary.

Spoiler Alert In this era of short attention spans, many people, especially lawyers, do not like three thousand word posts such as this one. Even fewer like long introductions to long blog posts, or reading through commentary to learn the award winners. What follows is the executive summary list of winners. If you’d like to keep up the level of suspense, you’ll want to scroll quickly past the summary list. If all you really want to know is whether I mention you or your blawg, hit control-F (or command- F for Mac users) and search for your name or your blawg’s name.

Here’s the list of the award winners. I will encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices, and my thoughts about the blawgs. And I definitely encourage you to add the RSS feeds to all of these blogs to your Google Reader (or other RSS reader) or “regularly-visited blogs” list.

2012 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.


1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Jordan Furlong’s Law21.ca

2. The “Marty Schwimmer” Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Steven B. Levy’s Lexician Blog

4. Best Law-related Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

5. The “Kennedy-Mighell Report” Best Legal Podcast – Lu Ann Reeb’s Legal Talk Network

6. The “Sherry Fowler” Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Evan Schaeffer’s Beyond the Underground

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog

8. The “DennisKennedy.Blog” Best Legal Technology Blog – Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D.

9. Best New Blawg – MoFo Tech Blog

10. Best Blawg Aggregator – Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I encourage you to keep reading this post to learn about the winning blogs (and why I felt that they were winners) and about the runners-up.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE 2012 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Law21.ca

Jordan Furlong’s Law21 blog was the runner-up in the “best overall” category and it just made sense to move it up to the top spot this year. As I said last year, Jordan covers law practice and the legal professions with insight, creativity and a willingness to challenge business-as-usual approaches. The typical post is a thoughtful, well-written meditation on the changing landscape for the practice of law. He makes you think. This year, Jordan has offered great perspectives on legal education and many of the trends lawyers and law firms must come to terms with – soon. Always a pleasure to read, I can’t recommend this blog highly enough.

Runner-up – Ride the Lightning – I’ve really enjoyed Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning blog this year. Sharon’s a longtime friend of mine and I like the way her writing captures her voice. She focuses on computer security and ediscovery, but has branched out in privacy and other areas. Her post on digital estate planning got a lot of deserved attention and got many people thinking about that important subject.

2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – The Trademark Blog

Perceptive readers will note that this category is named for Marty Schwimmer, whose The Trademark Blog, has long been my gold standard for what a practice-specific blog should be. As I thought about this category this year, I came to the conclusion that Marty’s blog really is the best practice-specific blog this year. Marty is one of the original lawyer bloggers (blogging for more than ten years) and The Trademark Blog continues to have great energy and wit, while providing great information about trademark and related issues and developments. It’s a great example of a blawg that can be enjoyed by those who don’t even practice in the trademark field. If you are writing a blawg, you’ll want to read Marty’s blawg to get ideas about how improve your blawg. If you have trademark questions or want to learn more about trademarks, you will quickly realize that Marty is the go-to-guy on trademark.

Runner-up – The Contracts Guy Blog – I wanted to recognize the good work of a fellow lawyer in St. Louis. Brian Rogers’ The Contracts Guy Blog is a great example of a niche practice blog that provides useful and practical information on a specific topic, in this case contracts law with a Missouri focus. Brian has a corporate law practice and, as an in-house counsel, I appreciate how his blog reflects the concerns of corporate counsel and business people. It’s another good example of how to create an effective practice-specific blawg.

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Steven B. Levy’s Lexician Blog

There are so many great law practice management blogs out there that it’s difficult for me to choose just one. However, Steven B. Levy’s Lexician Blog emerged as my winner. Steven focuses on the very important area od legal project management and incorporates his technology experiences and insights gained from working at Microsoft earlier in his career. This blog has the consistent posting of thoughtful and though-provoking material that I find so appealing. If you aren’t familiar with the legal project management trend, this blog is where you want to start.

Runners-up – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Management Tips Blog; Allison Shields’ LegalEase Blog; 3 Geeks and a Law Blog; Adam Smith, Esq. – So many great blogs in this category and so many had great 2012s. I picked the four runners-up to highlight some of the best and give you a way to sample the great content and different approaches out there. I especially want to congratulate Allison, who was able to keep a steady flow of great posts going this year while writing two books with me.

4. Best Law-related Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

I use this category annually to highlight the blogs written by law librarians, a category that I don’t think gets enough attention. These blogs are places to find great information, help for finding information, links to great resources and just plain interesting insights into topics like knowledge management and our changing world of information. If you want to try just one, Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific Blog provides a steady stream of links to great US government and other information. The Law Librarian Blog is a great starting place and there’s a great list of law library blogs here.

Runner-up – Non-US Law-related Blogs – I also use this category to remind people that blawgging is a global phenomenon. As longtime readers know, I’m a huge fan of Canadian bloggers. As I’ve said before, “If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global.” Diversity is a good thing. Why not start in Canada? The annual Clawbie awards will give you a starter list.

5. The Kennedy-Mighell Report Best Legal Podcast – Lu Ann Reeb’s Legal Talk Network

I was tempted to give The Kennedy-Mighell Report the actual award this year, but I knew that would embarrass Tom. However, I really thought our podcast had a great year, with many great topics. We’re on a short hiatus with the podcast, as I’ll explain shortly, but expect to announce the re-start of the podcast in the very near future.

This year’s award is an emotional one for me. As you probably know, Lu Ann Reed had to shutter the Legal Talk Network family of podcasts this fall (see Bob Ambrogi’s post about the last Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast). I could not have enjoyed my relationship with the Legal Talk Network (and working with Lu Ann, Kate Kinney, Mike Hochmann, Scott Hess and others at LTN) any more and I’ll always remember the call I got from Lu Ann wanting to know if Tom and I would bring our podcast to LTN. LTN played a huge role in the history of legal podcasting and set a standard of professionalism that raised the bar for legal podcasts. Most important to me, Lu Ann was able to provide a platform to make legal issues accessible to lawyers and the public and developed a great list of podcasting talent. It was a sad day to learn about what was happening this fall, but what a body of work and a legacy. The archive is still available, so start downloading the episodes that interest you most. Lu Ann, you are the greatest.

6. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Evan Schaeffer’s Beyond the Underground

I’m a big fan of the pure writing ability of some of the best blawggers. I named this award after the legal blogger who had the biggest influence on my blog writing, Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler (who hasn’t been a lawyer blogger for many years). This is my favorite of the Blawggies, my most-opinionated award, and the one I historically get most criticized for. The bottom line: I like the writing I like.

This fall, longtime blawgger Evan Schaeffer sent me a copy of his new book, How to Feed a Lawyer: And Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground (Disclosure: link is through my Amazon Affiliate account and may generate income to me), which is a collection of some of his blog posts over the years and includes many of his classic blog series about traits of lawyers. The book is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was great to revisit those early posts and re-experience them.

It also made me think about how many of the early blawgger were/are excellent writers. Evan is a classic example. I often tell people that my blog was an “experiment in writing” where I could try new things. Evan always took an experimental and writerly approach and it’s fascinating to see the posts collected together and remember the buzz at the time when I would be reading these great posts on a regular basis from Evan. The Legal Underground blog (as it was formerly named) became quite popular, especially with law students. The humor in the posts is still very funny.

It’s also interesting to see how today the advice to bloggers is to stay on topic, think carefully about what you post, follow standard formats, keep posts short and the like. In the early days of blawgging, those rules definitely did not exist. Yet, blawgs became quite popular even though they broke all of today’s rules. Something to think about, no? You definitely have to check out Evan’s blog. And he’s another St. Louis blawgger.

Runner-up – Jane Genova’s Law and More – Topical, opinionated, wide-ranging, thoughtful and well-written, the Law and More blog is one that I just enjoy reading every day.

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog

The Blawggies have always had a spot for the best law professor blog. In part, it’s my little effort to bridge the great divide between practicing lawyers and law professors.

I have a repeat winner here and it’s a great blog to read as we approach the fiscal cliff. As I said last year, the test of a great blog is how it keeps me returning to it time after time because of its great posts when it’s outside my subject matter. The topic here is U.S. tax, but Paul ventures into the real word with regular, thoughtful posts. It’s a blog with an academic focus and a a real world impact. My greatest compliment: reading this blog makes me want to take a class from Paul. I hope he’s thinking about doing some online courses.

Runner-up – Legal Skills Prof Blog – Yes, I know, I’m involved in this one, but I don’t post very often, so I can pretend to be objective. This blog has great coverage of the current debate about what needs to be done with the current approach to legal education and what law schools are doing in the area of skills education.

8. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D.

I own an iPhone, an iPad (that will probably go to my wife or daughter soon) and an iPad Mini. I enjoy reading Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D. every day. It’s another of example of how a blogger can cover a niche topic and become a “go to” resource. Jeff does a great job of covering the iOS waterfront from the perspective of the practicing lawyer. Jeff provides news, tips, apps and hardware recommendations and more.

Runners-up – Tie, V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM; Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology; The TechnoLawyer Blog – Again, a category with lots of great choices. Ron’s blog won this category last year. We have similar interests in and perspectives on legal technology and he’s great at posting about issues that intrigue me, like outsourcing, strategy and bigger issues. I have long been interested in knowledge management and Mary’s blog has done an excellent job this year of covering KM and related topics, with coverage of tech conference, too. It’s another great example of a blogger posting thoughtful and thought-provoking content on a regular basis. The TechnoLawyer Blog covers technology issues from a practitioner’s perspective with a focus on practical and helpful material. It’s also the external portal for you to enter all of the great resources at TechnoLawyer.

[Note: I used to give my own blog this award every year, in part because of the attribution issue I talk about in this post and in part because I thought some of my blogging friends got a laugh out of it. They did, but others didn't, and, instead, I started the tradition of naming the award for my blog rather than having my blog win it. I still get some criticism for that, and my friends laugh even more at that. Or maybe they just like to laugh at me.]

9. Best New Blawg – MoFo Tech Blog

Last year, I was disappointed that I didn’t have a new blawg to highlight. This year, I have a winner and a runner-up, so there seems to be new life in the blawg world. I did notice an increase in law firm group blogs this year and Tom Mighell certainly did not run out new blogs for his Blawg of the Day feature.

This year’s winner is the MoFo Tech Blog from the Morrison & Foerster law firm. Again, this choice reflects my own subject matter interest, but it’s also a good example of a group blog from a prominent law firm on a specific niche, in this case technology law. I like the coverage of the technology industry, intellectual property issues and much more. However, I especially like the name of the blog. It seems that many lawyers and law firms have doubts about what names they can use, whether they can use pictures of judges, court houses or dogs on their websites and whether and how they can use social media. There’s a general concern about what kind of “professional” image lawyers and firms must project. Amidst all that, Morrison & Foerster brands to the “MoFo” name and strides boldly across this part of the legal ethics and discipline landscape like a, well, like a mofo brandishing the MoFo brand. I admire that. And I admire their tech blog, too.

Runner-up – Law Technology Today The Law Technology Today blog is a new blog that I’ll be a small part of (one post a month) from the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center. I’m also on the LTRC Board. Hmm, perhaps I’m a little biased on this choice. Josh Poje got the blog launched and we’ve assembled a stellar cast of legal tech experts to contribute regular posts. This blog should become a must read for anyone interested in the use of technology in the practice of law.

10. Best Blawg Aggregator – Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

Here’s a daily email newsletter in which Jeff Brandt highlights three or four blawg posts on legal tech and summarizes and comments on them. Jeff’s comments are witty, perceptive and generally great, and I enjoy reading them everyday. His eye for selection is also great. In a world where no one likes to get more email, this free email newsletter is one that you will want to have.

And there you have it – the 2012 Blawggie Awards.

I wish I could give awards to all the blawgs (and blogs) I like, but this post is already long enough (another Blawggie tradition). Once again, I encourage you to create your own awards (although I’d prefer that you not call them Blawggies – that makes me feel that you don’t read my blog).

When it really comes down to it, the Blawggies are really my way of saying thank you to the blawgs I enjoy most. There are times when blogging can seem like a thankless pursuit, so remember that all bloggers welcome a thank you from readers from time to time.

Some Background on the Blawggies.

The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly ten years of blogging and from reading blogs voraciously for a good number of years before that.

The reactions to the Blawggies have traditionally run the gamut from “who does this guy think he is?” to “if he’s so smart about blawgs, why didn’t he give my blawg an award?” to “who is Dennis Kennedy?”

I used to get some criticism for giving myself awards or naming awards after me on this list (in fact, I still do), but, as I’ve explained before, most of the reason for that stems from my longtime experience of seeing lists I made republished without attribution or linkbacks. Adding myself to the list is a way to make sure that someone finds his or her way back to my work if the list is “repurposed.”

I’ve always wanted to do three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to those who write them.

2. To direct my readers to the law-related blogs I enjoy.

3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and write their own awards posts. After all, there is no barrier to entry for posting your own awards. I thought that I could then get great recommendations for blogs to add to my reading list from other awards posts in much the same way you can get great recommendations for new music to listen to from the “best of the year” posts by music bloggers that appear at this time of year.

As I’ve said before, “When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t simply post your own awards, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital ‘B.’”

The best response to my list is to post your own list, although I do invite your comments and discussion about my list.

The Blawggie-winning Criteria.

I like blogs with (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment, personality and talent, with an emphasis on good writing. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis.

The awards necessarily reflect my many biases and personal preferences, which are far too numerous to list here.

It’s very important to remember that the awards also reflect the blawgs I actually read. While I read a lot of law-related blogs, the number of blawgs I read continues to decrease and the number of non-law-related blogs I read increases. Also, the blawgs I do read are concentrated in my areas of interest and day-to-day focus.

I’m a transactional lawyer, who focuses on information technology law, legal technology and law practice management issues. For better or worse, I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented, criminal defense, regulatory or other specialized blogs. You get the idea.

A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”

Among the historic documents of law-related blogging are a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg,” and I had on the question whether “Blawggies” (as well as “blawgger” and “blawgging”) should be spelled with one or two “gs”. As a result, I’m pretty confident of the correct spelling, although I’m seeing more of the single “g” approach lately.

I use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related blogs.” I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover.

All best wishes for 2013.

Dennis

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Will There Be Blawggie Awards in 2012?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

[Note: I’m running a Q&A series all the rest of December on DennisKennedy.Blog (details here).]

Will there be Blawggie Awards in 2012?

The answer is: Yes, I think so. In fact, I’m pretty sure there will be. Probably on the usual date: December 20. I suspect that I’ll have a smaller list of awards and less-expansive commentary than in the past, but you never know.

I started the Blawggie Awards for best law-related bogs back in 2004. 2012 will be the 9th edition of the Blawggies, making them, as I like to say, the longest-running set of awards for law-related blogging presented by a lawyer blogger named Dennis Kennedy located in St. Louis, MO.

I started the Blawggies because I wanted to acknowledge the blogs I read every day and really liked, and I wanted to see if you could just announce your own set of awards on your blog and people would take them seriously. Blogging is about experimenting.

Over the years, the Blawggies have become something of an institution. As I’ve often said, the reactions to the Blawggies have varied greatly, with a common reaction being “Who is this guy and why does he think he can give awards?” On the other hand, the Blawggies have actually inspired some other annual legal blogging awards. One of my goals with the Blawggies has always been to help people find great blogs to read.

I occasionally get asked if someone can nominate a blog (OK, surprisingly, it’s often their own they have in mind) for consideration for the Blawggies. Unfortunately, the main criterion for the awards is that I actually read the blogs on a regular basis, so the idea of nomination doesn’t really make sense. However, I don’t mind if you mention some law-related blogs in the comments that you think are especially good and that you’d like to bring to the attention of readers of this blog.

If you have a question for me to answer in this series, you may submit it for me through the usual channels – email at denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com, a comment left on the original post about the Q&A series, this post or a subsequent post, or through Twitter (@dkennedyblog), or whatever other way you want to reach me.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Announcing the 2011 Blawggie Awards

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Welcome to the 2011 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, affectionately known as the “Blawggies.”

The Blawggies, which honor the best law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are an annual tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog.

I’m very pleased that this eighth edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by a lawyer named Dennis Kennedy living in St. Louis, Missouri – just a crazy idea that has turned into a bit of an institution in the world of law-related blogging.

I’ve included some explanatory and historical information about the Blawggies at the end of this post. As I’ve said before and explain in more detail at the end of this post, the Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone as I write this post.

Longtime readers will note that I’ve dropped a few categories from last year, in large part because of the continuing movement of bloggers away from blogging to social media and the impact that’s had on blawgs. And, in no small part, it’s because, as I describe below, because I base these awards on blawgs I actually read.

Executive Summary.

Spoiler Alert Many people do not like long blog posts such as this one. Even fewer like long introductions to long blog posts, or reading through commentary to learn the award winners. What follows is the executive summary list of winners. If you’d like to keep up the level of suspense, you’ll want to scroll quickly past the summary list. If all you really want to know is whether I mention you or your blawg, hit control-F and search for your name or your blawg’s name.

Here’s the list of the award winners. I will encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices, and my thoughts about the blawgs.

2010 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.


1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Adam Smith, Esq.

2. The “Marty Schwimmer” Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Ken Adams’s The Koncise Drafter

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Law21.ca

4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

5. The “Kennedy-Mighell Report” Best Legal Podcast – The Unbillable Hour Podcast

6. The “Sherry Fowler” Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Tie, Tom Mighell and Allison Shields

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Tie: Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog and Jim Maul’s Mauled Again

8. The “DennisKennedy.Blog” Best Legal Technology Blog – Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology

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I encourage you to keep reading this post to learn about the winning blogs (and why I felt that they were winners) and about the runners-up.

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THE 2011 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Adam Smith, Esq.

Bruce MacEwen’s recent post pointing out that he didn’t consider Adam Smith, Esq. a “blawg,” rather an “online publication,” only cemented my decision to give Bruce (and his Adam Smith, Esq. partner, Janet Stanton) this award for 2011. While Adam Smith, Esq.’s coverage of the legal profession from an economic perspective has a depth most do not associate with blogs, I won’t debate the semantics of the term “blawg,” but I will say that I’m happy any day a post from Adam Smith, Esq. shows up in my Google Reader. I appreciate the detailed, boundary-pushing analysis of the economics of legal practice and other issues, and the sometimes surprising, but always thoughtful, insights. Always a rewarding read.

Runner-up – Jordan Furlong’s Law21.ca – Jordan Furlong covers law practice and the legal professions with insight, creativity and a willingness to challenge business-as-usual approaches. As I’ve said before, if you want to get the jump on what people will be talking about a year or two from now, you’ll want to read what Jordan is writing today.

2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Ken Adams’s The Koncise Drafter

A repeat winner, legal drafting expert Ken Adams covers every aspect of improving contract drafting. If you ever find yourself in a debate over whether you need to say “indemnify AND hold harmless,” this blawg will be the resource you will want to know. A recent post delved into the use of “sole and absolute discretion.” His blog is the premier resource for transactional lawyers who draft and review contracts, and it would also be useful for litigators who need help in interpreting specific contract language. More importantly, Ken is leading the charge for clear and concise contract language.

[Note #1: This category is named for Marty Schwimmer, whose Trademark Blog, has long been my gold standard for what a practice-specific blog should be. Note #2: This category illustrates how my choices are based on blogs I actually read and my own subject matter areas, and should give you a reason to create your own awards to highlight the best blawgs in your practice areas.]

Runner-up – In House Blog – In House Blog is one of the rare group blogs that works for me. It’s a nice selection of posts of information of general interest to in house counsel, with enough helpful information to make it useful without feeling overwhelming.

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Jordan Furlong’s Law21.ca

I couldn’t bear the thought of giving Jordan two runner-up awards. Jordan makes you think. He questions standard law practice management approaches and challenges business as usual think. He also makes helpful recommendations. If you want to get a head-start on how law practices will be managed in the future, you’ll want to consider what Jordan is writing today.

Runner-up – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Management Tips Blog – Jim Calloway has a voice that is perfectly tuned to solo and small firm lawyers. His common sense and practical tips and commentary also speak to a wider audience. I learn something from Jim’s posts on a regular basis. Jim is the Practice Management Advisor of the Oklahoma Bar, a popular author and speaker, and one of the most knowledgeable experts on law practice management you will ever find. Think of him as the genuinely helpful teacher you wish you could have had – now you can. I’m happy to call him a friend, too.

4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

I use this category to highlight the blogs written by law librarians, a category that I don’t think gets enough attention. These blogs are places to find great information, help for finding information, links to great resources and just plain interesting insights into topics like knowledge management and our changing world of information. If you want to try just one, Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific Blog provides a steady stream of links to great US government information. The Law Librarian Blog is a great starting place and there’s a great list of law library blogs here.

Runner-up – Non-US Law-related Blogs – I also use this category to remind people that Blawgging is a global phenomenon. There are many great United Kingdom blawgs and, as longtime readers know, I’m a huge fan of Canadian bloggers. As I’ve said before, “If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global.” Diversity is a good thing. Why not start in Canada? The annual Clawbie awards will give you a starter list.

5. The Kennedy-Mighell Report Best Legal Podcast – Rodney Dowell’s Unbillable Hour Podcast

[Disclosure: Our podcast, The Kennedy-Mighell Report, is produced by the Legal Talk Network and I’m an unabashed fan of the production team at LTN. That has no impact on my choice, but you might wish to factor that into account and it gives me another chance to remind you that these awards are my personal, opinionated choices. I used to get some criticism for giving myself awards or naming awards after me on this list (in fact, I still do), but, as I've explained before, most of the reason for that stems from my longtime experience of seeing lists I made republished without attribution or linkbacks. Adding myself to the list is a way to make sure that someone finds his or her way back to my work if the list is "repurposed."]

There are many great legal podcasts and it’s difficult to choose just one, but I’ve chosen Rodney Dowell’s Unbillable Hour podcast this year. Rodney Dowell has interviewed a series of great guests in 2011 (including me talking about listening to podcasts). I really like his interviewing style and, even when I’m not sure I’m interested in the topics, his guests are excellent and Rodney brings out some great comments from them. His enthusiasm is very apparent.

Runner-up – The Legal Talk Network Family of Podcasts – I went with my heart and chose the whole family of blogs on the Legal Talk Network, the best one-stop shop for law-related podcasts. This family of podcasts includes the “granddaddy” of legal podcasts, Lawyer to Lawyer with Bob Ambrogi and Craig Williams (congratulations on hitting Episode 300 this year!), and excellent podcasts from Rodney Dowell, Monica Bay, Sharon Nelson and John Simek, and others. With consistently great production values, top-notch hosts and great topics, LTN is the place to go for legal podcasts. This award is, in part, a small way to thank LuAnn Reeb, Kate Kenney and the whole LTN team for all the great work they do.

6. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Tie, Tom Mighell for Inter-Alia, TKMReport.com and iPad4Lawyers; Allison Shields for the LegalEase Blog

I’m a big fan of the pure writing ability of some of the best blawggers. I named this award after the legal blogger who had the biggest influence on my blog writing, Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler (who hasn’t been a lawyer blogger for many years). This is my favorite of the Blawggies, my most-opinionated award, and the one I historically get most criticized for. The bottom line: I like the writing I like.

This year, I decided to single out two of my writing collaborators. Tom Mighell revamped his main blog, revitalized our podcast show notes blog and started a new blog for his iPad in One Hour for Lawyers book. Tom has such a great, seemingly-effortless style that’s very hard to duplicate. For example, he writes a daily post describing his “Blawg of the Day.” It seems so simple, but it is so hard to write these little summaries and do them on a regular basis. Just try it.

Allison Shields is co-authoring a new book with me to be called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers,” that will be published in the spring. I’ve always enjoyed Allison’s practical approach and conversational style. I told Allison recently that I liked the way she could take a topic and make it accessible to a novice, yet, at the same time, provide something for advanced readers and give people a thing or two to think about, all in a concise package. It’s been a pleasure to write the book with Allison and I strongly recommend her blog and email newsletter to you.

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Tie: Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog and Jim Maul’s Mauled Again

The Blawggies have always had a spot for the best law professor blawg and now that I’m a contributing editor to the Legal Skills Prof Blog on the great Law Professor Blog Network, I feel I’m much closer to this category than ever before. In part, it’s my little effort to bridge the great divide between practicing lawyers and law professors.

I have repeat winners here. To me, the test of a great blog is how it keeps me returning to it time after time because of its great posts when it’s outside my subject matter. Jim and Paul both do a great both of covering the tax beat, with welcome excursions into legal education, the economic crisis and other areas. Both show how to write a blog with an academic focus and a a real world impact.

Runner-up – Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog – Eric’s blawg covers my own area of work – information technology law and related and intellectual property law issues with gusto, style and excellent insights, all done in a way that keeps touch with the real world. Very helpful.

8. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology

As I mentioned, I used to give my own blog this award every year, in part because of the attribution issue I talk about in this post and in part because I thought some of my blogging friends got a laugh out of it. They did, but others didn’t, and, instead, I started the tradition of naming the award for my blog rather than having my blog win it. I still get some criticism for that, and my friends laugh even more at that.

When it comes to my own interests in legal technology, Ron Friedmann’s blog is my go-to blog. Ron and I have similar interests in and perspectives on legal technology and he’s great at posting about issues that intrigue me, like outsourcing, strategy and bigger issues. Although the solo and small firm market is not Ron’s target audience, his blog is a good place to get a sense of trends and big-picture issues.

Runner-up – Tie, Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D. and Vivian Manning’s Small City Law Firm Tech – I own an iPhone and an iPad. Jeff Richardson does a great job of covering the iOS waterfront from the perspective of the practicing lawyer. Jeff gives you developments, tips, news, apps recommendations and more. Vivian provides a great stream of article annotations, links, practical tips and observations on tech. I often find good information here.

9. Biggest Blawg Disappointment of the Year

I see this as my failing, not that of the blawgosphere. I simply do not have a winner of the best new blawg category. This probably reflects the great movement away from blogging to social media by distinct individual voices, as well as the continuing emphasis on niche, practice-oriented group blogs by law firms. If you aren’t in the audience for the topic area, you likely won’t follow the blog. I’m sad that I don’t have a winner, but invite you to mention your favorite blawg started in 2011 in the comments. And I’ll make a special effort to track down some new blawgs in 2012.

And there you have it – the 2011 Blawggie Awards.

I wish I could give awards to all the blawgs (and blogs) I like, but this post is already long enough (another Blawggie tradition). Once again, I encourage you to create your own awards (although I’d prefer that you not call them Blawggies – that makes me feel that you haven’t read my blog).

When it really comes down to it, the Blawggies are really my way of saying thank you to the blawgs I enjoy most. There are times when blogging can seem like a thankless pursuit, so remember that all bloggers welcome a thank you from readers from time to time.

Some Background on the Blawggies.

The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly nine years of blogging and from reading blogs voraciously for a good number of years before that.

The reactions to the Blawggies have traditionally run the gamut from “who does this guy think he is?” to “if he’s so smart about blawgs, why didn’t he give my blawg an award?” to “who is Dennis Kennedy?”

Seriously, though, I’ve always wanted to do three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to those who write them.

2. To direct my readers to the law-related blogs I enjoy.

3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and write their own awards posts. After all, there is no barrier to entry for posting your own awards. I thought that I could then get great recommendations for blogs to add to my reading list from other awards posts in much the same way you can get great recommendations for new music to listen to from the “best of the year” posts by music bloggers that appear at this time of year.

As I’ve said before, “When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t simply post your own awards, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital ‘B.’”

The best response to my list is to post your own list, although I do invite your comments and discussion about my list.

The Blawggie-winning Criteria.

I like blogs with (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment, personality and talent, with an emphasis on good writing. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis.

The awards necessarily reflect my many biases and personal preferences, which are far too numerous to list here.

It’s very important to remember that the awards also reflect the blawgs I actually read. While I read a lot of law-related blogs, the number of blawgs I read continues to decrease and the number of non-law-related blogs I read increases. Also, the blawgs I do read are concentrated in my areas of interest and day-to-day focus.

I’m a transactional lawyer, who focuses on information technology law, legal technology and law practice management issues. For better or worse, I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented, criminal defense, regulatory or other specialized blogs. You get the idea.

A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”

Among the historic documents of law-related blogging are a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg,” and I had on the question whether “Blawggies” (as well as “blawgger” and “blawgging”) should be spelled with one or two “gs”. As a result, I’m pretty confident of the correct spelling, although I’m seeing more of the single “g” approach lately.

I use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related blogs.” I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover.

All best wishes for 2012.

Dennis

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com. Twitter: @collabtools

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The 2010 Blawggies – Dennis Kennedy’s Annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Welcome to the 2010 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, affectionately known as the “Blawggies.” The Blawggies, which honor the best law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are an annual tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog.

I’m very pleased that this seventh edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by a lawyer named Dennis Kennedy living in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s difficult to keep a blog going for that length of time, let alone maintain an ongoing feature on blog for so long. I’ve enjoyed seeing how what once was just a crazy idea has turned into a bit of an institution in the world of law-related blogging.

Some Background on the Blawggies.

The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly eight years of blogging and from reading blogs voraciously for a good number of years before that.

The reactions to the Blawggies have traditionally run the gamut from “who does this guy think he is?” to “if he’s so smart about blawgs, why didn’t he give my blawg an award?” to “who is Dennis Kennedy?”

Seriously, though, I’ve always wanted to do three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to those who write them.

2. To direct my readers to the law-related blogs I enjoy.

3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and write their own awards posts. After all, there is no barrier to entry for posting your own awards. I thought that I could then get great recommendations for blogs to add to my reading list from other awards posts in much the same way you can get great recommendations for new music to listen to from the “best of the year” posts by music bloggers that appear at this time of year.

As I’ve said before, “When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t simply post your own awards, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital ‘B.’”

The best response to my list is to post your own list, although I do invite your comments and discussion about my list.

The Blawggie-winning Criteria.

I like blogs with (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment, personality and talent, with an emphasis on good writing. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis.

The awards necessarily reflect my many biases and personal preferences, which are far too numerous to list here.

It’s very important to remember that the awards also reflect the blawgs I actually read. While I read a lot of law-related blogs, lately I find the number of blawgs I read is decreasing and the number of non-law-related blogs I read is increasing. Also, the blawgs I do read have become concentrated in my areas of interest and day-to-day focus.

While the trend toward creating niche blogs has its benefits, I’m not really able to follow law-related blogs in niche areas outside of my subject matter. For example, I’m a transactional lawyer, who focuses on information technology law, legal technology and law practice management issues. For better or worse, I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented, criminal defense, regulatory or other specialized blogs. You get the idea.

A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”

Among the historic documents of law-related blogging are a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg,” and I had on the question whether “Blawggies” (as well as “blawgger” and “blawgging”) should be spelled with one or two “gs”. As a result, I’m pretty confident of the correct spelling, although I’m seeing more of the single “g” approach lately.

I use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related blogs.” I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover.

The 2010 Social Media Factor.

As I predicted in my 2009 Blawggies post, the biggest trend in blawgging in 2010 is the continuing movement of blawggers into social media. It’s definitely decreased the frequency of blog posting by many blawggers and changed what gets written about on a blog as opposed to distributed via social media. As I considered the 2010 Blawggie awards, I was surprised by how many well-known blawgs were not very active this past year because the authors were using social media as their primary daily outlet.

Executive Summary.

Spoiler Alert I’ve found that many people do not like long blog posts such as this one, or long introductions to long blog posts, or needing to read through commentary to learn the award winners. What follows is the executive summary list of winners. If you’d like to keep up the level of suspense, you’ll want to scroll quickly past the summary list. If all you really want to know is whether I mention you or your blawg, hit control-F and search for your name or your blawg’s name.

Here’s the list of the award winners. I will encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices, and my thoughts about the blawgs.

2010 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Real Lawyers Have Blogs

2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Ken Adams’s The Koncise Drafter

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Management Tips

4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Weblog

6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging and Social Media – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs

7. The Kennedy-Mighell Report Best Legal Podcast – The Legal Talk Network Family of Podcasts

8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Jordan Furlong’s Law21.ca

9. Best Law Professor Blog – Tie: Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog and Jim Maul’s Mauled Again

10. Best New Law-related Blog – Tie: Jane Genova’s Law and More and Rebecca Stahl’s Is Yoga Legal?

11. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D.

12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Social Media, the Mobile Platform and Personal Portals

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I encourage you to keep reading this post to learn about the winning blogs (and why I felt that they were winners) and about the runners-up.

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THE 2010 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs

Dave Winer has famously defined a blog as “the unedited voice of a person.” Nobody covers the ways lawyers are using blogging , social media and other outlets in the way Kevin does. His blog is informative, feisty, conversational in the best sense of the word, highly-opinionated and a treasure trove for anyone wanting to learn about how lawyers are using the Internet and the issues that arise. In other words, he has the unedited voice of a person and his blog is a must-read. I always learn a lot from Kevin and he regularly gives me new ways to thing about aspects of blogging and social media that help me question what I’m taking for granted. One of my favorite experiences of 2010 was a webinar on managing your online presence I moderated with Kevin and Jim Calloway – it’s definitely worth looking for the replay. Kevin is one of the early Internet pioneers who has had a big impact on lawyers using the Internet for many years. He’s a true believer in the best sense of the term. In the interest of disclosure, Kevin’s company hosts the companion blog for the collaboration tools book Tom Mighell and I wrote.

Runner-up – SLAW – It’s worth noting that Kevin kept the SLAW blog from achieving a Blawggie three-peat this year. SLAW is still a great blog, but I liked what Kevin did this year more and I’ve started to feel that the large number of contributors to SLAW might have caused it to lose some focus and personality. SLAW is still great, however, and has consistently useful posts, a welcome diversity of viewpoints and focus, and shows off the excellent Canadian blawgosphere.

2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Ken Adams’s The Koncise Drafter

Legal drafting expert Ken Adams recently renamed his Adams Drafting blog to Ken Adams’s The Koncise Drafter and revamped his site. Ken covers every aspect of improving the drafting of contracts. If you ever find yourself in a debate over whether you need to say “indemnify AND hold harmless,” this blawg will be the resource you will want to know. His blog is a fantastic resource for transactional lawyers who draft and review contracts, and it would also be useful for litigators who need help in interpreting specific contract language. [Note #1: This category is named for Marty Schwimmer, whose Trademark Blog, has long been my gold standard for what a practice-specific blog should be. Note #2: This category illustrates how my choices are based on blogs I actually read and my own subject matter areas, and should give you a reason to create your own awards to highlight the best blawgs in your practice areas.]

Runner-up – Evan Brown’s Internet Cases – One the one hand, Evan’s blog is a model for a practice specific blog focused on a single niche topic (the title says it all), but it also shows how really good blogs can transcend the genre, show personality and create an enjoyable experience for those not practicing in the niche. If you want to keep up with legal developments on the Internet, Evan’s blog is the place to start.

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Management Tips Blog

Repeat-winner Jim Calloway is a model of consistently good blogging and Jim has a great understanding of what his audience will find helpful. Jim is the Practice Management Advisor of the Oklahoma Bar, a popular author and speaker, and one of the most knowledgeable experts on law practice management you will ever find, especially in the solo and small firm space. His genuine helpfulness and willingness to teach always shine through in his blog. I’m happy to call him a friend, too.

Runner-up – Jordan Furlong’s Law21.ca – Jordan Furlong covers law practice both as a journalist and a thought-provoking commentator. His blog both keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments and gives you Jordan’s insights and analysis about these developments. Simply put, if you want to get the jump on what people will be talking about a year or two from now, you’ll want to read what Jordan is writing today.

4. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

I’ve long been a fan of blogs written by law librarians. These blogs are places to find great information, help for finding information, links to great resources and just plain interesting insights into topics like knowledge management and our changing world of information. Just this past week, I was noticing how often I was finding links to useful documents and information sources on a variety of topics on Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific Blog. The Law Librarian Blog is a great starting place and there’s a great list of law library blogs here.

Runner-up – Non-US Law-related Blogs – There is a whole world of law-related blogs outside the United States. If I could read a language other than English, I’m sure that I’d know even more about these than I do now. There are many great United Kingdom blawgs and, as longtime readers know, I’m a huge fan of Canadian bloggers. As I’ve said before, “If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global.” Diversity is a good thing. Why not start in Canada? The annual Clawbie awards will give you a starter list and I’m proud to have received a 2009 Clawbie for being a “Friend of the North.”

5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Weblog

Nancy Stinson and the Stark County Library Weblog gets the three-peat this year. If you can’t or don’t want to follow a lot of blawgs, be aware that some blogs aggregate information from other law-related blogs, digest posts from other law-related blogs or highlight and point to posts on other law-related blogs. You can effectively monitor the best posts from a number of blogs in one place. Nancy Stinson at the Stark County Law Library Weblog is my favorite example of this category. She makes excellent selections and I find a lot of good posts from this blog. If you don’t have much time, this blog is a great way to keep up with the best of the blawgosphere. I always enjoy seeing that Nancy has highlighted a blog post that I also liked.

Runner-up -Legal Blog Watch – This blog has had a major transition from the halcyon days when blawgging giants Carolyn Elefant and Bob Ambrogi ran it, but it’s moved forward and is still a good place to find coverage of what’s being talked about on other blawgs as well as coverage of news and developments. Also, although technically not a blog, I really like Tom Mighell’s “Linkstream” as a resource for following the blog posts Tom finds most interesting and useful – I find lots of great information there.

6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging and Social Media – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs

I have to admit that I started this category as an inside joke so I could make Kevin use the word “blawg,” which he hates (or used to), when he mentioned that he won this award, as he has done every year. I now think it really does deserve its own category, especially as social media has transformed the world of blawgging. As I said in 2008, “No one covers the world of legal blogging (and now related topics like Twitter and social networking) 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. . . . 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.”

Runner-up – Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia and its Blawg of the Day feature – For me, the best way to learn about blogging, especially as a beginner, is to look at and read as many blogs as you can and decide what you like and dislike. For years, Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia has offered a Blawg of the Day feature in which he has highlight thousands of blawgs. This feature provides a service to the blawgging community and gives you a way to find lots of new blawgs. It also is a great way to spot trends and patterns and see what is happening in terms of design and content in new blawgs.

7. The Kennedy-Mighell Report Best Legal Podcast – The Legal Talk Network Family of Podcasts

[Disclosure: Our podcast, The Kennedy-Mighell Report, is now produced by the Legal Talk Network and I’m an unabashed fan of the production team at LTN. That has no impact on my choice, but you might wish to factor that into account and it gives me another chance to remind you that these awards are my personal, opinionated choices. I used to get some criticism for giving myself awards or naming awards after me on this list (in fact, I still do), but, as I've explained before, most of the reason for that stems from my longtime experience of seeing lists I made republished without attribution or linkbacks. Adding myself to the list is a way to make sure that someone finds his or her way back to my work if the list is "repurposed."]

2010 has been the year of the legal podcast. There are many great legal podcasts and it’s difficult to choose just one. So, I took the easy way out (and went with my heart) and chose the whole family of blogs on the Legal Talk Network, the producers of the The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. This family of podcasts includes the “granddaddy” of legal podcasts, Lawyer to Lawyer with Bob Ambrogi and Craig Williams, and excellent podcasts from Rodney Dowell, Monica Bay, Sharon Nelson and John Simek, and many others. With consistently great production values, top notch hosts and great topics, LTN is the place to go for legal podcasts. This award is, in part, a small way to thank LuAnn Reeb and the LTN team for all the great work they do.

Runner-up – Denise Howell’s This Week in Law – I’m not sure whether it was Denise’s decision to actually make this a weekly (rather than an occasional) podcast, the addition of Evan Brown as a regular, or great topic choices and guests, but TWIL really found its stride this year. The podcast covers new developments in technology law and occasionally strays into other interesting areas of technology. It’s a great place to find discussion of the legal issues arising out of technological change. The podcast is very long (usually at least an hour), which some might find off-putting, but you can always listen at double speed on you iPod (my favorite tech tip of the year).

8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Jordan Furlong for the Law21.ca blog

I’m a big fan of the pure writing ability of some of the best blawggers. I named this award after the legal blogger who had the biggest influence on my blog writing, Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler (who hasn’t been a lawyer blogger for many years). This is my favorite of the Blawggies, my most-opinionated award, and the one I historically get most criticized for. The bottom line: I like the writing I like.

On Jordan Furlong’s Law21.ca, Jordan writes longer essay posts of the type I favor. You will find well-crafted, thoughtful and thought-provoking essays on a variety of law practice management topics, including legal technology and economics of practice. Often the first to delve into a topic, Jordan always makes you reconsider your assumptions and to look at the world with new eyes. His posts often get retweeted by many people on Twitter. Highly recommended.

Runner-up – Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson – Ernie is one of the pioneering lawyer bloggers and one of my favorite people to read. He’s created a small family of blogs, including the excellent PDF for Lawyers blog. His writing on technology is patient, accessible and enlightening, as Ernie is in person. I always find something of value in his thoughtful posts, even those on topics I think I’m quite familiar with. Ernie’s perspectives and insights are always a welcome visitor to my Google Reader.

9. Best Law Professor Blog – Tie: Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog and Jim Maul’s Mauled Again

The Blawggies have always had a spot for the best law professor blawg and now that I’m a contributing editor to the new Legal Skills Prof Blog on the great Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog and Jim Maul’s Mauled Again. I like how they both cover tax law and tax developments, explain the practical implications, and branch out into the economic crisis, law school issues and much more. Both bloggers show how to write a blog with an academic focus and a a real world impact. I admire them greatly. Perhaps my highest compliment is that their blogs make me wish I could take a tax law class from them, which is no small feat when you consider that the late Martin Ginsberg was one of my favorite professors at Georgetown University Law Center.

Runner-up – Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog – Eric’s blawg covers my own area of work – information technology law and related and intellectual property law issues with gusto, style and excellent insights, all done in a way that keeps touch with the real world. Very helpful.

10. Best New Law-related Blog – Tie: Jane Genova’s Law and More and Rebecca Stahl’s Is Yoga Legal?

I found this to be the hardest award to decide on this year, in large part because so much of the new action seems to be taking place in social media and in part because most of the new blogs I’ve begun to follow this year are not law-related blogs. With today’s focus on niche-oriented blawgs and so much happening in social media, my sense is that it’s harder than ever for a new blog to get traction and find a general audience.

I found two new blawgs this year that have found a home in my Google Reader and that I enjoy reading on a regular basis. Both blogs illustrate my belief that good writers make for good blogs.

The first is Jane Genova’s Law and More. It’s one of my favorite types of blogs – opinionated, feisty, thoughtful and always interesting. Even if I don’t agree with Jane’s point of view, I enjoy reading the argument. I especially like the way Jane writes fearlessly about topics often like to avoid.

The second is Rebecca Stahl’s Is Yoga Legal?. This blog actually started in late 2009, but I wanted to include it and, since I make up the rules, I stretched the rules a bit. It’s perhaps turned into a blog more about yoga than law, but I find myself looking forward to reading each post. It’s like a small oasis in my Google Reader list. It’s always important for you to read some blogs that fall outside your beaten path.

11. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D.

As I mentioned, I used to give my own blog this award in part because of the attribution issue I talked about earlier and in part because I thought some of my blogging friends would get a laugh out of it. They did, but others didn’t, and, instead, I started the tradition of naming the award for my blog rather than having my blog win it. I still get some criticism for that and my friends laugh even more at that.

Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D., as I mentioned last year when it was a runner-up in this category, is the perfect example of a niche legal technology blog and how a niche blog, if done well, can grow a larger audience as it expands its coverage and reflects the interests and personality of its author. This blawg has excellent coverage of the use of the iPhone in legal practice – developments, tips, news, apps recommendations. It also meets one of my favorite crtieria of a great blog – I don’t even have an iPhone and I’m a regular reader.

Runner-up – Tie: Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology; Ernie Svensons’s PDF for Lawyers blog; and Rick Borstein’s Acrobat for Legal ProfessionalsRon Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology has long been one of my favorite legal technology blogs. Ron and I have similar interests in and perspectives on legal technology and he’s great at posting about issues that intrigue me, like outsourcing, strategy and bigger issues. Ernie Svensons’s PDF for Lawyers blog is a great resource to help practicing lawyers use PDFs in their practices. Rick Borstein’s Acrobat for Legal Professionals is both a great practical resource for tips and techniques for using Adobe Acrobat and a model for how a software vendor should use a blog to distribute useful information to users.

12. Most Important Trends in Law-related Blogging – Social Media, the Mobile Platform and Personal Portals

I really see this as one trend with three components. Tom Mighell and I have talked quite a bit about these topics on our podcast this year. Social media has had a huge impact on the frequency and types of posting blawggers do. If you take my blog as an example, my frequency of blogging might be the lowest ever (about once a week or so) and many of the things I probably would have blogged about in the past now appear as links on DennisKennedy.Microblog, my blog’s Twitter account.

Readers now find information you publish in many places, especially on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Part of my blog posting regimen is tweeting about a blog post after it has been published and issuing a Facebook status update about it. Readers often read your material using a smartphone as we all move onto the mobile platform.

It used to be that websites and blogs made a great effort to drive people back to the website or blog and capture the reader there. The website or blog was the one central “home base” (as Chris Brogan and others call it). Now, I see our web presence as much more distributed and our audience finding us in a variety of unrelated ways. The key thing is not to “drive and capture,” but to recognize the different routes people take and the different audiences, and make each location a “personal portal” that lets your audience easily find and get to your other presences, if they choose to do so. This means more repurposing, more linking and a more open and fluid web presence than in the past. It’s challenging, but it’s exciting. It will be interesting to see how much longer blogging awards like the Blawggies still make sense in the dynamic world of social media, apps and new developments.

I’m looking forward to seeing how all of this year’s winners deal with these challenges, the experiments they try, and the lessons we share. And I’m especially looking forward to those not even on my radar this year who will rise to the top and teach me new things next year.

And there you have it – the 2010 Blawggie Awards.

I wish I could give awards to all the blawgs (and blogs) Ilike, but this post is already ridiculously long (another Blawggie tradition). Once again, I encourage you to create your own awards (although I’d prefer that you not call them Blawggies – that makes me feel that you haven’t read my blog). The Blawggies are really my way of saying thank you to the blawgs I enjoy most. There are times when blogging can seem like a thankless pursuit, so remember that all bloggers welcome a thank you from readers from time to time.

Best wishes for 2011.

Dennis

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

A great addition to your bookshelf for 2011! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com. Twitter: @collabtools

Dennis Kennedy’s 2009 Law-related Blogging Awards (The Blawggies)

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Welcome to the 2009 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, better known as the “Blawggies.” The Blawggies, which honor the best-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are now an annual pre-Christmas tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog. I’m very pleased that this sixth edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by a lawyer named Dennis Kennedy living in St. Louis, Missouri.
Background.
The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly seven years of blogging and several more years before that of reading blogs voraciously.
Over the years, the reaction to the Blawggies has run the gamut from “who does this guy think he is?” to “if he’s so smart about blawgs, why isn’t mine included?” Actually, almost all of the reactions fall into the first category.
Seriously, though, I want to accomplish three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to the bloggers who write them.
2. To direct my readers to the law-related blogs I enjoy.
3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and do their own awards posts. That has started to happen in the last year or two. When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t simply post your own awards, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital “B.”
So, the best response to my list is to post your own list, although I do invite your comments and discussion about my list. See, e.g., ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 or the Clawbies.
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.
It’s very important to remember that the awards also, necessarily, reflect the blawgs I actually read. That reflects my own interests and the focus on my own legal work. I read a lot of law-related blogs, but it’s still only a small fraction of the available blawgs. For example, I’m a transactional lawyer, so I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented, criminal defense or regulatory blogs. You get the idea. I also tend to focus more on law practice management and legal technology blogs than others might. Another reason to do your own list.
A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”
Among the historic documents of law-related blogging is a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg,” had on the question whether “Blawggies” should be spelled with one or two “gs.”As a result, I’m pretty confident of the correct spelling.
I tend to use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related” blogs. I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” (as opposed to “illegal blogs”?) to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover. You’ll also notice that the blogs I highlight fall more into the law practice category than the substantive law category.
The Twitter Factor.
Last year, I said, fairly presciently in my Blawggie post: “It’s easy to overstate the importance of Twitter as of right now, but the potential for the future is very intriguing. Even in the last month or so, you can see many of the law-related bloggers using microblogging as an alternative channel. Definitely the trend to watch.”
Many active bloggers actually tend to post more to Twitter than to their blogs. It’s definitely had an impact on the frequency of blog updates for many bloggers.
Executive Summary.
First, let’s do away with the suspense.
Here’s the “executive summary” of the award winners. I do encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices.
2009 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – SLAW
2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Tie: Steve Nipper’s The Invent Blog and Patrick Lamb’s In Search of Perfect Client Service
3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Management Tips
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Non-US Blawgs
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Weblog
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 – Allison Shields’ Legal Ease Blog
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Social Media Law Student
11. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology
12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Tie: Group Blogs and Microblogging

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I encourage you to read more about the winning blogs (and why they were winners) and the runners-up. If you’d rather simply see if your blog is named on mentioned, simply use the “find on this page” feature in the edit menu of your browser. ;-)
THE 2009 BLAWGGIE AWARDS
1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – SLAW
SLAW is a repeat winner. It is a group blog written by a steadily growing list of the brightest minds in Canada on the subject of law practice management and other legal topics. Like last year, whenever I sat down and thought about what blawgs were candidates for this award, I always came back to SLAW. It can be very difficult to achieve continuity and continue to keep momentum and quality with a group blog (especially where contributors have their own individual blogs), but SLAW has continued to succeed. I like the steady stream of high-quality, useful posts on a variety of topics, often with practical advice you can use immediately. Simon Fodden is the SLAW administrator and there is a stated aim “to share knowledge, offer advice and instruction, and occasionally provoke.” Which they do.
Runner-up - Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq. provides the best analysis of the business and economic aspects of the practice of law you will find. Constantly thought-provoking, this blog is mandatory reading in these complicated economic times).
2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Tie: Steve Nipper’s Invent Blog and Patrick Lamb’s In Search of Perfect Client Service
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 and because, otherwise, he would win every year. His blawg still rocks. This category is always a difficult one for me because I don’t read a lot of practice-specific blogs and there are many great blawgs in that cover topics well outside my area of focus (that’s another it makes sense for you to do your own awards).
I chose the two winners this year because they illustrate how you can maintain great practice-specific blogs with names other than “ Blog” and how the best practice-specific blogs can go “off topic” with great results.
Steve Nipper’s Invent Blog covers patent law, with lots of great practical information, but he also covers topics in his local community, technology tips and other useful information. When you combine Steve’s efforts on his blog with his Twitter presence, you can see how the many ways you can use social media to create visibility and community. The one thing that always stands out in Steve’s efforts is a sense of helpfulness.
Patrick Lamb’s In Search of Perfect Client Service is a great example of a way to use a blawg as platform for thoughtful commentary and grow an audience for that material that also cannot help but conclude that this thoughtfulness and insight must also be part of your lawyering skills. Patrick is in the forefront of alternative billing and client-focused innovation in providing legal services and his blog will keep you on top of developments in those areas.
Runner-up – Matt Buchanan’s Buchanan Intellectual Property Office is the continuation and evolution of Matt’s Promote the Progress. I really like where Matt is going – he is one of the most insightful of all lawyer bloggers – but, as he reminded me recently, this is a blog-in-progress. I want to see where the progress takes us.
3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Management Tips Blog
Every now and then, a blogger will get in the “zone” and write a string of great posts, one after another. Jim had one of those stretches this year, where everything he posted was great. Jim is the Practice Management Advisor of the Oklahoma Bar, a popular author and speaker, and one of the most knowledgeable experts on law practice management you will ever find, especially in the solo and small firm space. His genuine helpfulness and willingness to teach always shine through in his blog.
Runner-up - Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq. could win this category every year and has long been one of the best law practice management blogs, with an audience of some of the biggest decision-makers in the legal profession. Bruce has a great talent for applying economic analysis to the business of the practice of law and writing about it in a compelling and engaging manner. The blog offers vital insights and perspective in these complex economic times.
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Non-US Law-related Blogs
There is a whole world of law-related blogs outside the US. If I could read a language other than English, I’m sure that I’d know even more about these than I do now. The United Kingdom blawgs got my attention this year, but, as many readers know, I really like the Canadian bloggers. As I’ve said before, “If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global and there’s no better place to start than in Canada.” The Clawbie Awards are a great starting point for Canadian law-related blogs, which cover a wide variety of law practice management, technology and knowledge management. It’s time to diversify the list of blogs you read and move outside the US.
Runner-up – For my money, you just can’t beat the law librarian blogs for great information, links to great resources and just plain interesting insights into topics like knowledge management and our changing world of information.
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Weblog
Another repeat winner. Some 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 Weblog is my favorite example of this category. She makes excellent choices and it’s a great way to keep up with developments in the blawgosphere when you don’t have much time.
Runner-up - Legal Blog Watch. There was a momentous transition this year when Carolyn Elefant stepped away from the Legal Blog Watch, but they’ve done a good job of keeping momentum. Legal Blog Watch is another great place to find links and commentary on some of the best blawg posts of the day in one handy place.
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. As I said in 2008, “No one covers the world of legal blogging (and now related topics like Twitter and social networking) 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. . . . 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.”
Runner-up – The vast majority of attention has been on lawyer’s using Twitter and other forms of social media than blogs this year. However, you can learn a lot about blogging simply by looking at and reading as many blogs as you can and noting what you like and dislike. For years, Tom Mighell’s Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia has offered a Blawg of the Day feature that both provides a service to the blawgging community and gives you a way to find lots of new blawgs. It also is a great way to spot trends and patterns and see what is happening in terms of design and content in new blogs.
7. Best Legal Podcast – Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast
Disclosure: Our podcast, The Kennedy-Mighell Report, is now produced by the Legal Talk Network and I’m an unabashed fan of the production team at LTN. That has no impact on my choice, but you might wish to factor that into account Interestingly, we’re at LTN in part because of an off-hand comment I made about re-starting our podcast in last year’s Blawggies post.
The winning podcast is Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast is, I believe, the longest-running regularly-scheduled legal podcast, with well over 100 episodes. The podcast does a great job of pulling in great guests on the leading topics of the day. The coverage is broad, which is both a plus and a minus, since an episode might stray outside your area of interest.
Runner-up – While I’m really likely where we are going with The Kennedy-Mighell Report, I’m not sure I have a clear runner-up this year. There are some good law-related podcasts out there, especially on the , but, even more so than blogs, your interest in legal podcasts will be directly proportional to what you are interested in. As a big podcast fan, let me just highlight a few good ones for you to sample – Denise Howell’s This Week in Law; The Digital Edge with Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway; Charon Podcast, and Adrian Dayton’s Weekly Voir Dire.
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Allison Shields’ Legal Ease Blog
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 is now blogging at Rhubarb Pie). This is my favorite of the Blawggies. In most years, I spend a lot of time making my decision, but I’ve known who the winner this year would be for a long time.
This year’s winner is one of last year’s runners-up, Allison Shields at the Legal Ease Blog. I said last year that “Allison has a practical, comfortable style, focused yet informal, that strikes me, after meeting her, as right in line with her speaking style – I enjoy her writing, no matter the topic.” Allison covers a number of areas- law practice management, legal marketing, legal technology. She is succinct, well-organized and fills her posts with a surprising amount of sage advice, often in a fairly short post. I always read whatever she writes.
Runner-up – Tie: showcases Jordan’s stylish and thoughtful essays on a variety of law practice topics. Often the first to delve into a topic, Jordan always makes you think and his posts are often retweeted by many people on Twitter. Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson is one of the pioneering lawyer bloggers and, although he doesn’t write so much about law any more, he’s great on legal technology, New Orleans and wry observations about the human condition. I always enjoy reading whatever Ernie writes.
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog
The Blawggies have always had a spot for the best law professor blawg. In part, it’s my little effort to bring closer (unsuccessfully, as of yet) the great divide between practicing lawyers and law professors (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). When I find an interesting post in Google Reader, I star it. I’m not sure any law-related blog has gotten more starred posts than Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog, although my early background in tax law has something to do with that. Paul covers not just tax issues, but the economic turmoil, law school topics and more.
Runner-up - Tie: Jim Maule’s Mauled Again is another great tax law blog with a broader scope and very interesting posts. Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog has great coverage of cyberlaw and intellectual property law issues.
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Social Media Law Student
As you will see in the next award, the two biggest trends in law-related blogging in 2009 were group blogs and social media. This category’s winner combines both and answers the question “what will blogs of people who establish a reputation in Twitter or other social media look like?” In fact, I’ve argued that this blog gives us a glimpse of what the next generation of blogging will look like. For the purists out there, I realize that the winner had a few posts in late 2008, but I’m still counting it as a new blawg for 2009.
The story of Rex (@rex7) Gradeless and his immense Twitter following has been widely told, but fewer people know about the blog that grew out of the initial Twitter success. Social Media Law Student is a group blog that he is a founder of and it covers a lot of territory in the areas of social media and law and law practice. It’s evolved into a great resource with thoughtful articles with a slightly irreverent style and lots of energy. Definitely a blog to watch.
Runner-up - Tie: Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D. and the Hildebrandt Blog. Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D. is the perfect example of a niche legal technology blog. Great coverage of the use of the iPhone in legal practice – developments, tips, news, apps recommendations. I don’t even have an iPhone and I’m a regular reader. The Hildebrandt Blog is almost too new for me to mention, so I hope they keep it going for a while. Suffice to say, it’s off to a great start with insightful and incisive posts on law practice management topics, exactly what you’d hope to see from one of the leading law practice management consulting firms.
11. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology
Longtime readers will know that I used to give my own blog this award every year, which had more to do with the tendency for the author’s attribution on a list like this to disappear when the list gets reposted on the Internet than my sense of humor about putting myself on the list. Last year, I simply named this award after my blog so I could keep a mention and a link in the post. There’s no bigger fan of legal tech blogs than I am and it’s always difficult for me to pick a winner, but this year I felt one blog really stood out.
Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology was last year’s runner-up and Ron has, especially lately, been posting great items on the “big picture” legal technology topics (he’s great on outsourcing, for example) and legal technology strategy. In a way, his blog reminds me on an Adam Smith, Esq. on legal technology. The fact that Ron and I have similar perspectives on legal technology and similar interests doesn’t hurt either.
Runner-up – I couldn’t decide on a legal tech blog as a runner-up, so I decided to go with a tech advice blog I really like that I think many lawyers will find quite useful – Ask Dave Taylor, which is a great Q&A blog that offers practical answers to all kinds of technology questions. Give it a try.
12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Tie: Microblogging (Social Media) and Group Blogging
It is impossible to overestimate the impact Twitter and social media have had on law-related blogging in 2009. I use the term microblogging to describe the use of Twitter as a vehicle to publish content that might have otherwise gone into a blog post. Because a post on Twitter (known as a “tweet”) is limited to 140 characters, microblogging consists of quick insights, short observations and pointers to links. There are also community and communications aspects to Twitter/microblogging that are somewhat different than what you get with blogging and comments.
What happened in 2009 was that microblogging siphoned a huge amount of content and energy away from blogging into social media. I like to say that any tweet on DennisKennedy.Microblog (my blog’s Twitter account – @dkennedyblog) would have probably ended up as an extended post on my blog in the past. The same is true for many other bloggers. So, we are seeing a movement of bloggers into social media and, even more interesting, a movement of people successful in social media into blogging (e.g., Social Media Law Student). Where it will end up, I don’t know, but it’s definitely where the action is in law-related blogging.
A second trend, somewhat related, is the movement to group blogging. If a blogger is running a blog, participating in other blogs, using social media, podcasting and other things as well, something has to give. Often, the traditional blog post is what gets pushed back and you see bloggers posting to their blogs much less frequently than before. One solution is to add additional bloggers to an existing blog. Another approach is simply to start group blogs. Law firms are also using the group blogging approach to get blogs up and running.
I, only half-jokingly, like to say that I’ve participated in more now-dead group blogs than any other blawgger. I can attest to the fact that it is very difficult to sustain group blogs over the long haul.
Runner-up – Federation. There might be a better word for this. The idea is that, if I have all of these outlets for what I am producing, I should be able to see them automatically in one place and people should be able to subscribe to everything I’m doing in one place. People are looking at things like FriendFeed, Posterous and other tools/services for help with this.
And there you have it – the 2009 Blawggie Awards.
As usual , it’s painful not to give awards to all the blogs I like, but, as with any awards, you have to make some choices. I’m making available for download soon an OPML file with the Blawggie winners and a 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, as ever, I 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 2010.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog; Follow me – @denniskennedy
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com. Twitter: @collabtools
The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast – Legal technology with an Internet focus.
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Dennis Kennedy’s 2008 Law-related Blogging Awards (The Blawggies)

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Welcome to the 2008 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, better known as the “Blawggies.” The Blawggies, which honor the best-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are now an annual pre-Christmas tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog. This fifth edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by Dennis Kennedy on the whole Internet.
WARNING: What follows is what is known in blogging as a “long post.” An executive summary of the winners will follow shortly, although I hope that you will take the time to read the entire post.
Background.
A little background on the Blawggies for those who are new to them. The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly six years of blogging and several more years before that of reading blogs.
Over the years, the reaction to the Blawggies has generally fallen into two categories. The first can be summed up as “who does this guy think he is?” The second category is . . . well, maybe there isn’t a second category.
Seriously, though, I want to accomplish three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to the bloggers who write them.
2. To direct my readers to the blogs I enjoy.
3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and do their own awards posts. With a few exceptions (e.g., Blawg Review, the Clawbies, ABA Journal Blawg 100), that didn’t happen until this year.
While I’d like to take credit for the surge this year in blawg awards and top ten lists (see, e.g, Susan Cartier Liebel’s great blogs I read challenge, Jordan Furlong’s list, Victoria Pynchon’s list, and the Tony(c) Awards (and especially for the nice comments about me here).
I attribute it primarily to the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 list. It seems to have prompted the sense of “who do they think they are and what do they know?” that inspires people to say, “If they can do a list, why can’t I do that on my blog?” When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital “B.”
So, the best response to my list is to post your own, although I do invite your comments and discussion.
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 awards also, necessarily, reflect the blawgs I actually read. That reflects my own interests and the focus on my own legal work. I read a lot of law-related blogs, but it’s still only a small fraction of the available blawgs. For example, I’m a transactional lawyer, so I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented blogs. You get the idea.
A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”
Among the historic documents of law-related blogging is a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg” had on the question whether “Blawggies” should be spelled with one or two “gs.” You see the result.
I tend to use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related” blogs. I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” (as opposed to “illegal blogs”?) to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover. You’ll also notice that the blogs I highlight fall more into the law practice category than the substantive law category.
Executive Summary.
First, let’s do away with the suspense.
Here’s the “executive summary” of the award winners. I do encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices.

2008 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – SLAW
2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Evan Brown’s Internet Cases
3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq.
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Canadian Law-related Blogs
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Weblog
6. Best Blawg About Legal Blawgging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs
7. Best Legal Podcast – Tie, This Week in Law and Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Chuck Newton Rides the Third Wave
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Jim Maule’s Mauled Again
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Jordan Furlong’s Law 21
11. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Rick Georges’ Futurelawyer
12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Microblogging

I encourage you to read more about the winning blogs (and why they were winners) and the runners-up. If you’d rather simply see if your blog is named on mentioned, simply use the “find on this page” feature in the edit menu of your browser. ;-)
I’ve also put together an OPML file that you can import into your RSS reader (e.g., Google Reader or FeedDemon) with all the blawgs mentioned here and a few others for you.

THE 2008 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – SLAW
You will notice a distinctly Canadian theme to the Blawggies this year. SLAW joins previous winners, Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific.com, Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia, Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog,/a>, and Tom Collins’ (now-retired) More Partner Income blog. SLAW (recent post) is a group blog written by a steadily growing list of the brightest minds in Canada on the subject of law practice management. Although there were almost too many worthy candidates for this award and the choice was difficult, SLAW was always one of my favorites throughout the year. I like the steady stream of high-quality, useful posts and the fact that they have been able to maintain a group blog for an extended period of time, something that I can attest is quite difficult to do. Simon Fodden is the SLAW administrator and there is a . The stated aim is “to share knowledge, offer advice and instruction, and occasionally provoke.” And they do an excellent job.
Runner-up – Tie:
Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq. (must-reading in these troubled economic times) and Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs (great coverage of lawyers using the Internet – from blogs to Web 2.0 to Twitter and beyond).
2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Evan Brown’s Internet Cases
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 and because, otherwise, he would win every year. This category is always a difficult one for me because I don’t read a lot of practice-specific blogs and there are many great blawgs in that cover topics well outside my area of focus (that’s why it makes sense for you to do your own awards). I chose Evan Brown’s Internet Cases blog (recent post) as this year’s winner because it covers an area of strong interest to me and does a solid and comprehensive job of covering the category with timely news and discussion of cases and other developments in the area of Internet law. The idea behind a good blawg can be quite simple – what matters is how you execute it. Evan gives you a great example of how to execute on practice-specific blog.
Runner-up – Tie: Ken Adams’ AdamsDrafting blog (excellent coverage and discussion of practical contract drafting issues) and Steve Nipper’s The Invent Blog (consistently interesting and useful information, links and resources and intellectual property and related topics)
3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq.
Adam Smith, Esq. (recent post) has long been one of the best law-related blogs and has an audience that includes some of the biggest decision-makers in the legal profession. Bruce has a great talent for applying economic analysis to the business of the practice of law and writing about it in a compelling and engaging manner. See his recent post on the billable hour as just one example. I’ve long been a fan and one of my 2008 blog-related highlights was getting the chance to have an in-person conversation with Bruce this summer. In these times of economic turmoil, Adam Smith, Esq. is mandatory for me and many others.
Runner-up – Tie: Jordan Furlong’s Law 21 (great thoughtful, topical analysis on a variety of practice management topics – see more below), Matt Homann’s The Nonbillable Hour (Matt’s return to regular blogging after being reinvigorated by Twitter is welcome news – innovation and asking hard questions are the topics here) and Carolyn Elefant’s MyShingle (the top resource for solo lawyers will probably become even more important if layoffs and closures make more lawyers “suddenly solo”).
4. Best Legal Blog Category – Canadian Law-related Blogs
A look through this year’s awards will show you what an impact the Canadian law-related blogs are making this year. And they make it easy for you to dig in to the long list of excellent Canadian law blogs (see Vancouver Law Librarian Blog’s List of Canadian Law Blogs,/a>). I’ve gotten the chance to meet a good number of the Canadian bloggers and that’s been great because they are as interesting and helpful in person as they are on their blogs. They’ve won this award before, but it seems that, as a group, they took things to a new level in 2008. If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global and there’s no better place to start than in Canada.
Runner-up
Law librarian blogs (Consistently the most useful and helpful of all the law-related blogs – great resources on many topics, and the combination Canadian law librarian blogs is especially a good one)
5. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Weblog
Some 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 is my favorite example of this category. She makes excellent choices and it’s a great way to keep up with developments when you don’t have much time.
Runner-upLegal Blog Watch (great coverage and I admire the way Bob Ambrogi and Carolyn Elefant have kept up the pace of daily posting – well-chosen items) and Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs (a regular feature highlights significant posts from the LexBlog family of blogs).
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. No one covers the world of legal blogging (and now related topics like Twitter and social networking) 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 always enjoy getting the chance to talk with and present with Kevin. 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.
Runner-up – Tie: Steve Matthews’ Law Firm Web Strategy Blog (great discussion of practical blogging topics with an emphasis on strategy – he also does the Clawbie awards); Darren Rowse’s Problogger Blog Tips (not a blawg, but my favorite blog for learning about ways to blog better), and Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia (I believe that you really learn how to blog and how to improve your blog by seeing and reading a lot of blogs – Tom’s Blawg of the Day provides a service to the blawgging community and gives you a way to find lots of new blawgs).
7. Best Legal Podcast – Tie: This Week in Law and Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast
I really like podcasts and listen to a lot of them, although most of them are not legal podcasts. Tom Mighell and I are also discussing the revival of our podcast, The Kennedy-Mighell Report, and I have some audio I’m working on editing. I couldn’t decide which legal podcast was the winner of this category, so I named two. Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig Williams’ Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast is the longest-running weekly legal podcast and has more than 100 episodes. They cover many legal topics, which is both a plus and a minus, since an episode might stray outside your area of interest. But they generally do a great job of finding broad enough topics and getting excellent guests on leading edge topics. Denise Howell’s This Week in Law is not exactly weekly, but is a regular podcast on Internet and technology topics that are right in my area of interest. Her regular contributors are often friends of mine and listening to the podcast is like hearing a group of your smartest friends discussing subjects that matter to them. Excellent insights abound.
Runner-up – Jim Calloway ‘s and Sharon Nelson’s The Digital Edge podcast (monthly discussions and interviews on legal technology topics, with great information, even though often I want to suggest that they run a fund drive to get Jim a better microphone)
8. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Chuck Newton Rides the Third Wave
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 is now blogging at Rhubarb Pie). In many ways, this is the most important of the Blawggie awards and I spent a lot of time thinking about it. This year’s winner is Chuck Newton Rides the Third Wave. Chuck’s blog (recent post) covers solo practice and the very important idea of Third Wave legal practice (recent post). However, he’s succeeded in establishing a writing style that makes me willing to follow wherever his article reads. Chuck is also example of someone (Matt Homann is another) who might not have started out blogging with the feeling that they were a “great writer,” but blogging has made them so. I wrote a post called “The Land of Hope and Dreams” in which I cited some examples of bloggers, including specifically Chuck for this post, who wrote “off-topic” with a compelling compassion and authenticity that produced great pieces of writing. My hat is off to Chuck on his evolution as a blogger and his ability as a writer and his wise and practical posts.
Runner-up – Tie: Allison Shields Legal Ease Blog (Allison has a practical, comfortable style, focused yet informal, that strikes me, after meeting her, as right in line with her speaking style – I enjoy her writing, no matter the topic, and am grateful to her for contributing the closing comment to this recent roundtable article that ended the piece perfectly and was exactly the type of comment I was hoping she’d write); and Jordan Furlong’s Law 21 (Jordan blows me away with his excellent, polished, thought little essays on a variety of topics and, in person, is a marvelous storyteller – like Allison, I found his writing and speaking voices to be very much in sync).
9. Best Law Professor Blog – Jim Maule’s Mauled Again
I always attempt to bridge that chasm between practicing lawyers and law professors (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 (recent post) is all about tax law developments and, as I’ve said before, it is so darned interesting that you won’t believe you are reading a tax law blog by a tax law professor. I’ve found his coverage and insights into the current economic crisis to be invaluable.
Runner-up – Tie: the multi-authored MoneyLaw (coverage of new approaches to legal academia) and Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog (great coverage of cyberlaw and intellectual property law issues).
10. Best New Law-related Blog – Jordan Furlong’s Law 21
I asked Tom Mighell (@tommighell) a while back whether there were so many new blogs that a new blog really could not grab much attention with other law-related bloggers from the start. Jordan Furlong’s explosive debut of the brilliant Law 21 blog (recent post) shows that you can still command a lot of attention with the launch of a new blog. Jordan is a gifted writer, an incisive thinker, and has a winning approach. The topic of Law 21 is law practice management and the legal profession, with a firm eye on the future and sharp on current practices. Simply put, it’s a must read and one of my favorite blogs.
Runner-up – Tie: Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM (Knowledge management is a big interest of mine and I’ve noticed that I’m constantly impressed and informed by Mary’s posts – check it out) and 3 Geeks and the Law (almost by definition, I’m a fan of anything Toby Brown is involved in, but this new group blog has caught my eye with its insightful posts and attitude). On the topic of new blawgs, don’t forget about the new Lawyers Guide to Collaboration blog Tom Mighell and I started earlier this year as a companion site to our book (and its companion microblog at @collabtools).
11. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – Futurelawyer
I’ve had an annual tradition of giving my own blog the Blawggie award for legal technology blog, in part because of the tendency for attribution on a list like this to disappear when the list gets reposted on the Internet, but also for other reasons I’ve explained before. While I’ve done some cool things on my blog this year, like DennisKennedy.Microblog, it’s time to end the tradition and, instead, simply name the award after my blog so a mention and link will stay in the list. This award is difficult because every legal technology blog is excellent in its own way. This year, however, Rick Georges’ Futurelawyer (recent post) is the clear winner. I appreciate the “everydayness” of his posts and the nuggets of information, reviews and insights he posts on a regular basis. I might not agree with all of Rick’s conclusions, but I’m always interested in how he gets there. I learn a lot and keep up-to-date with this blog. A must-read.
Runner-upRon Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology (Ron and I have similar perspectives on legal technology and his blog covers the strategy of legal technology very well, with an emphasis on legal process outsourcing).
12. Most Important Trend in Law-related Blogging – Microblogging
In simplest terms, microblogging refers to the use of Twitter as a vehicle to publish content that might have otherwise gone into a blog post. The trick, however, is that a post of Twitter (known as a “tweet”) is limited to 140 characters. As a result, microblogging consists of quick insights, short observations and pointers to links. There are also community and communications aspects to Twitter/microblogging that are somewhat different than what you get with blogging and comments. I’m intrigued by the way bloggers with very focused niche blogs use Twitter as a vehicle for more personal or “off-topic” posting. Very interesting indeed.
I have two stories to relate about microblogging. First, it was exchange of emails with Marty Schwimmer (@mschwimmer) that gave me the idea that became DennisKennedy.Microblog (@dkennedyblog). I wanted to try it as an experiment and I’ve been very encouraged by the results, particularly as it helps give me an “everydayness” about my blog without the need to do full posts and it complements my personal Twitter ID (@denniskennedy). The second involves Tony Colleluori (@thatlawyerdude). I had a moderately negative attitude about Twitter and microblogging and their potential until one Thursday evening the Jets were playing on NFL Network (not available to me) and I noticed Tony tweeting almost play-by-play on a very exciting game. Suddenly, I “got it,” and saw the potential for microblogging as a way to create community. I felt like I was watching the game with Tony in New York. Tony has commented on my influence on him, but I’ve also been influenced by his non-techie ability to grasp the true potential of technology to connect people.
It’s easy to overstate the importance of Twitter as of right now, but the potential for the future is very intriguing. Even in the last month or so, you can see many of the law-related bloggers using microblogging as an alternative channel. Definitely the trend to watch. To get started, take a look at the list of lawyers on Twitter compiled by Adrian Lurssen on the JD Scoop blog.
Runner-up – Sadly, my guess is that state-based ethical regulation, largely misguided, will have a confusing and ultimately negative impact on law-related blogging in 2009. I hate to say that and to see it, but I think it’s very likely.
And there you have it – the 2008 Blawggie Awards.
As usual , it’s painful not to give awards to all the blogs I like, but, as with any awards, you have to make some choices. 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 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 2009.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog; Follow me – @denniskennedy
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com. Twitter: @collabtools
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DennisKennedy.Blog Named to ABA Journal Blawg 100

Monday, December 1st, 2008

It was great to get notice today that this blog was again named as one of the ABA Journal Blawg 100 for 2008 in the “Plugged-in” category. There are nine other excellent blogs in the category and other excellent ones that did not get named, so I’m honored to be in the company and it’s always nice to get recognition for what I do with this blog. I also like the way the blurb about my blog both referred to me as a “tech guru” and mentioned my companion microblog (DennisKennedy.microblog – @dkennedyblog), probably the most innovative thing I’ve tried in blogging in the last few years.

I want to congratulate every blogger who made the list. I also want to compliment the ABA Journal on the immense amount of work that went into the Blawg 100 selections and descriptions and for its support of the blawgging community.
However, I do have some mixed feelings about this recognition that come from the fact that, as the author of a monthly technology column for the ABA Journal, I’m a paid contributor to the magazine. For that reason, I really wouldn’t mind if they left me off the list entirely, but, because of this and because my relationship with the ABA Journal might not be completely clear from the Blawg 100 blurb, I do have a favor to ask.
Part of the Blawg 100 is a contest for votes for the top blog in each category. There are nine other great choices in the Plugged-in or Technology category, several of which are likely to end up with one of my own 2008 Blawggie awards. Please vote for one of them – I would be very uncomfortable if I won this category and was a paid contributor to the magazine. It wouldn’t feel right to me, and it probably wouldn’t look right to others.
Instead, if you like my blog, I ask you to check out my most recent ABA Journal column, consider becoming a follower of my microblog (@dkennedyblog), subscribing to the RSS feed for this blog, or buying a copy of The Lawyers Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together.
While you’re looking at the Blawg 100, pay special attention to the interview with Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson, with his observations on blogging and a great quote from Martha Graham.
And, of course, the Blawg 100, in addition to generating conversation about law-related blogs, gives you a great way to sample blogs and pick some new blogs to subscribe to.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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The 2007 Blawggies: Dennis Kennedy’s Best Law-related Blogging Awards

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

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/)]
Get your legal technology information by audio. Check out The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast.
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The 2006 Blawggies: Dennis Kennedy’s Best Law-related Blogging Awards

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

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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