Announcing the 2014 Blawggie Awards – Eleventh Edition

Welcome to the 2014 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. Dennis Kennedy photo

This historic eleventh 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 has 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 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.

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 3,000 word posts such as this one. Even fewer like long introductions to even longer 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.

2014 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Law Technology Today

2. The “Marty Schwimmer” Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – The Inhouse Blog

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

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

5. Best Legal Podcast – The Kennedy-Mighell Report

6. The “Sherry Fowler” Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Legal Skills Prof Blog

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

9. Best New Blawg – John Simek’s Your IT Consultant

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.



1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Law Technology Today

I must disclose that I’m the vice chair of the board for the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center, but I’m so impressed with the LTRC’s Law Technology Today blog that I’m giving it the grand prize this year. It deserves a much bigger audience than it already has. The team of Josh Poje, Gwynne Monahan, Rose Frommelt and Lauren DeGroot have built and will continue to build a great resource with strong regular content on legal technology (obviously) and other law-related issues. For example, a recent post, Four Areas of Legal Ripe for Disruption by Smart Startups, generated a lot of attention and discussion. There’s already a great list of contributors and the opportunity for others (perhaps you) to join up.

Runner-up – Security, privacy and related matters are at the center of attention these days and no one covers these issues as well and in as plain language as Sharon Nelson in her Ride the Lightning blog. Her posts practical and thoughtful posts often cover breaking developments with real-world insights that apply to real people focusing on real issues. These topics cut across all traditional areas of law.

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

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. I’m an inhouse counsel, so my definition of “practice-specific” might vary from yours. This blog just keeps getting stronger and more valuable – a highly useful resource with practical information, links, news and developments relevant to inhouse counsel. Highly recommended for anyone who is an inhouse counsel, wants to be an inhouse counsel or wants to work better with inhouse counsel.

Runner-up – The Exari Blog took the runner-up prize in this category for 2014. One of the goals of the Blawggies is to get you to think in different ways and look off the beaten path for helpful blogs. I’ve been thinking a lot about contract lifecycle management, contract automation and contracting processes this year. The Exari Blog is a great example of a vendor blog that provides useful information and thoughtful commentary on a regular basis. Check it out.

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

The title of Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog basically says it all. It’s a combination of great practical tips, pointers to other useful information and helpful practical insights, all delivered in Jim’s great plain-spoken style that everyone can understand and relate to. Blawgs that have been around for a long time can ebb and flow, but Jim has been on a roll recently, with a nice run of great posts. This blog should be on every practicing lawyer’s list.

Runner-up – Allison Shields’ LegalEase Blog. The Blawggies are all about highlighting the work of my friends who produce high-quality practical content. I can’t let this year’s list go by without a hat tip to Allison and her blog. Even though Allison and I regularly write and speak together, I always know that I’ll find something new and insightful in her writing, often of the “I wish I had said that” type. This blog is great on social media, ethics, and a variety of law practice management topics.

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, and has been especially good over the last few months. 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. Take a chance and globalize your approach to blawgs.

5. Best Legal Podcast – The Kennedy-Mighell Report

My friend and podcast Tom Mighell will be rolling his eyes and shaking his head when he reads this award, but, darn it, I thought that we did a really good job in 2014. Our last couple of podcasts have been really good – Pardon the 2014 Legal Technology Interruption (our look back at legal tech developments in 2014) and Controlling Your Social Media Strategy. I especially like our recent podcast on discovering and listening to podcasts called The Fundamentals of Podcasts: Listening and Subscribing, a primer on how to get started in listening to podcasts and to find podcasts that really help you. Our podcast appears every other week and covers, as we say, “legal technology with an Internet focus.” We’re nearing our episode #150 of the podcast.

Runner-up – The Digital Edge Podcast – Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway have done a great job this year with their legal tech and law practice management podcast on the Legal Talk Network and I’ve really enjoyed all the episodes this year.

6. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark 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.

Martin Schwimmer could win this award every year. However, he locked up this year’s award with just one post called 5000 Trademark Blog Posts, which I will now quote in full:

There have been 5000 posts on The Trademark Blog since May 2002. If your trademark attorney had read all 5000 posts, then they would be informed. If they had written all 5000 posts, then they would be me.

If you ever heard the term “drops the mic” and wondered what it meant, this post illustrates exactly what it means.

Runner-up – 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 blossomed and took on a sense of urgency in 2014, the “practical skills” approach in law school programming 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 helpful links and information.

Runner-up – The Legal Whiteboard – Bill Henderson and his fellow contributors cover the cutting edge of law practice, legal education and delivery of legal services. If you want to now what’s happening on the frontier of the practice, this is the outpost you want to visit.

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

[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 range of areas. Ron’s blog is always one of my “go to” blogs on legal technology because Ron thinks deeply and carefully about the implications of legal technology. His posts also give me plenty to think about and he comfortable ranges across the landscape of the coming future of legal technology and law practice.

Runners-up – Jeffrey Taylor’s The Droid Lawyer and Jeff Richardson’s iPhone J.D. – Mobile devices became a large category of legal technology in the last few years. Fortunately, there are two great blogs from two great Jeffs that are essential for those of us using iOS and Android devices. Lots of practical information, tips, news and examples of the way lawyers are using mobile devices. Although having the name “Jeff” probably is not a requirement to blog about mobile devices for lawyers, maybe in 2015 we’ll see a Microsoft Surface blawg.

9. Best New Blawg – John Simek’s Your IT Consultant

John Simek hit the ground running with this new blog in May 2014 and hasn’t let up on the pace. I really like the title, especially because whenever I have difficult tech questions, John is always someone I ask. The blog is direct and to the point, as is John, and gives you practical advice, makes you think, and, most important, gets you to take some action.

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

Here are 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 useful 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 2014 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). You might also take a look at the awards for prior years to find even more great blawgs.

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 more than 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.”

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 that I have the correct spelling.

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 2015.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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

Reflections on 2014 College of Law Practice Management’s Futures Conference

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be inducted as a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management, joining a group full of people I have long admired and gotten the opportunity to speak, write and work with over the years.COLPM Induction 2 - 10730193_10152796951291407_5441207644036415288_n

Even better, I got to attend the 2014 Futures Conference held at Suffolk University School of Law. Suffolk could not have been a better host and the program – a combination of TED-type talks and brainstorming sessions leading to a “Shark Tank” competition was quite fun, giving both the opportunity to learn and the chance to meet and collaborate with many other attendees. My thanks to everyone involved with the conference.

Tom Mighell and I devoted a recent episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast – “The College of Law Practice Management’s 2014 Futures Conference” – to our reflections on the conference and I recommend it for your listening.

Deborah McMurray, on the Law Firm 4.0 Blog, has posted notes from the sessions and speakers and a great list of links to posts about the conference from other attendees.

The Futures Conference is an annual event. I recommend that you keep it on your radar as a place you might want to be in 2015.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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

#ABATECHSHOW: LinkedIn How-to Session and Much More

It’s time for ABA TECHSHOW and I’m wrapping up my preparations. Hope to see you there. If you can’t be there, remember that you can get a peek of what is happening at the conference by checking out the Twitter hashtag #ABATECHSHOW. I’ll note that you can still get registered and attend. You can also get an Exhibit Hall pass for a day, and I always strongly encourage law students in Chicago to take advantage of special deals for law students.

I have a typically busy schedule, starting right away with an introductory “State of Legal Technology” panel presentation at the opening of TECHSHOW with Adriana Linares, Tom Mighell, Allison Shields and Paul Unger that will give a fast-paced summary of highlights from the 2013 ABA Technology Survey.

My main presentation is 2:15 PM on Friday, March 27, when Allison Shields and I will present a session on LinkedIn for Lawyers as part of the “How-to” track. We have decided on what we hope will be a great approach to learning LinkedIn. We’ll focus on LinkedIn Profiles and do some real-time editing of my LinkedIn Profile in an interactive way to help people learn how to edit their own Profiles and follow along and make changes during the session. I think this will be fun, practical and also result in me getting some updates to my own Profile actually done.

For people who want to talk more about LinkedIn after the session or can’t attend the session, Allison and I are hosting a Taste of TECHSHOW dinner on Friday night at Roy’s Hawaiian Restaurant. Be sure to sign up for the dinner before it sells out. For an even more radical approach, I believe there might still be an opportunity to sponsor the dinner.

Obviously, both the session and the dinner will help get the word out on our two new LinkedIn books, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers (Second Edition) and LinkedIn in One Hour. LIOHFL 2ed Image

Allison and I have published a couple of LinkedIn articles in 2014: Fourteen LinkedIn Tips for 2014 and Making the Most of LinkedIn. Allison’s LegalEase blog also has great ongoing coverage of LinkedIn for lawyers. We’ll also be presenting a webinar on LinkedIn for Lawyers: Getting Real World Results from Online Networking for ALI CLE on April 7.

I’ll also be co-hosting a Taste of TECHSHOW dinner on Thursday night on the topic of living in two tech worlds (Mac and PC, iOS and Android, et al.). Tom will be speaking on iPads for Lawyers at the Chicago Apple Store on Michigan Avenue tonight. There’s also what should be another excellent LexThink .1 tonight.

I’ll also be working booths for the ABA Law Practice Division Publishing Board, the Legal Technology Resource Center, and the Conference Concierge booth (Saturday morning 8:00 to 9:30 (maybe the best time to talk to me)). I’ll also be involved in a “So You Want to Write for the ABA” session, where I’ll discuss ways to write for the Legal Technology Resource Center (a great opportunity for anyone interested in legal technology).

Wow, I’m going to be busy, but ABA TECHSHOW is always my favorite technology conference. And, as I’m sure I’ll be reminding myself, it’s the good kind of tired.

Hope to see you there. If you read this blog, be sure to introduce yourself.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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

52 Books in 52 Weeks – 2014

For the last few years, I’ve enjoyed reading the posts of several bloggers who are trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I’ve also wanted to find a good way for me to keep track of the books I’ve read. And it gives me a good reading target to shoot for.

Last year, I read exactly 52 books. Or, more accurately, I listed exactly 52 books that I read. I “read” many business books in the form of getAbstract summaries and I don’t list books that might reveal certain things I might (or might not) be working on. 2013 was an unusual year for me, too, in the significant number of books I started and gave up on before finishing.

I’m doing the same thing in 2014. My approach is the same in previous years – I’ll simply update this post from time to time sporadically throughout the year as I finish books.

I’ve enjoyed doing this challenge every year and hope you find the list useful. And I encourage you to take the challenge yourself.

As Bill Taylor says, “Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?” Challenging yourself to read 52 books is probably a good way to start to answer that question.


58. Wait for Signs, Craig Johnson
57. Bitcoin and the Future of Money, Jose Pagliery
56. FastExercise, Michael Mosley
55. The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, Greil Marcus
54. The Counterfeit Agent, Alex Berenson


53. The Heist, Dan Silva
52. Jobs-to-be-Done: The Handbook, Chris Spiek and Bob Moesta
51. Rock Breaks Scissors, William Poundstone
50. The American Mission, Matthew Palmer


49. How the Light Gets In, Louise Penny
48. The Outlandish Companion, Diana Gabaldon
47. The Brutal Telling, Louise Penny
46. Talk Like TED, Carmine Gallo
45. Driving Honda, Jeffrey Rothfeder


44. The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins
43. There Goes Gravity, Lisa Robinson
42. Wild Storm, Richard Castle
41. The March of Mobile Money, Sam Pitroda and Mehul Desai
40. A Trick of the Light, Louise Penny
39. A Rule Against Murder, Louise Penny
38. Rework, Jason Fried


37. How the World Sees You, Sally Hogshead
36. The Fires of the Gods, I. J. Parker
35. The Cruelest Month, Louise Penny
34. The Beautiful Mystery, Louise Penny


33. Murder on the Home Front, Molly Lefebure
32. Saints of the Shadow Bible, Ian Rankin
31. You are Your Own Gym, Mike Laurer
30. Still Life, Louise Penny


29. Let Loose the Dogs, Maureen Jennings
28. Poor Tom is Cold, Maureen Jennings
27. Jony Ive, Leander Kahney


26. Any Other Name, Craig Johnson
25. Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Eduardo Galeano
24. How to be Danish, Patrick Kingsley
23. Pitch Perfect, Bill McGowan
22. A Short Guide to a Long Life, David Agus
21. George Washington’s Secret Six, Brian Kilmeade
20. The Janson Option, Paul Garrison
19. The Vikings, Neil Oliver


18. The Haunted Monastery, Robert Van Gulik
17. Night Work, Laurie R. King
16. Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Brad Stone
15. The Mongolian Conspiracy, Rafael Bernal


14. The Bourne Retribution, Eric Van Lustbader
13. Judge Dee at Work, Robert Van Gulik
12. Wild Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz


11. The Chinese Lake Murders, Robert Van Gulik
10. The Chinese Gold Murders, Robert Van Gulik
9. Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, Robert Van Gulik


8. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams
7. Europe Between the Oceans, Barry Cunliffe
6. Feldenkrais:The Busy Person’s Guide to Easier Movement, Frank Wildman
5. A Short History of the Twentieth Century, John Lukacs
4. Spirit of Steamboat, Craig Johnson
3. A Man Without Breath, Philip Kerr
2. A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
1. Italian Ways, Tim Parks

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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