Welcome to the 2015 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, affectionately known as the “Blawggies.”

Dennis Kennedy photo
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.

In perhaps the majority of those 12 years, there has been an end-of-the-year debate about whether blogging, especially law-related blogging is “dead” or no longer relevant. 2015 is no exception. I like what Kevin O’Keefe has to say on that topic.

I’ve started to wonder whether there might be some truth and substance at the foundation of those questions. It strikes me there are fewer memorably individual blogs than ever before even though there are plenty of firm and group blogs. And there are plenty of niche and practice-area blogs. However, there is definitely less of what Dave Winer drives at in his seminal definition of a blog – “the unedited voice of a person.” I have always liked that definition of blogging.

I also realize that the blogs I read are not the same blogs that many other lawyers read – for many different reasons. It has become difficult to appreciate what blogs are part of what the “general legal audience” reads. Perhaps selfishly (and tautologically), I ultimately care about only the blogs that I care about.

At the same time, longtime bloggers have turned to social media, podcasts and video as better media for them than blogging, even though their blogs still exist. I’m an example of that, with a posting frequency of about a post a month. I see the Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast as the primary outlet for what I was once writing on my blog. TKMR Logo
To a lesser extent, my ABA Journal column is also an outlet for material that would have gone into my blog in the past.

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 BLAWGGIE WINNERS. When I looked over the 2014 Blawggie awards in preparation for making the 2015 Blawggie awards, I decided that it really was a good list and I wasn’t sure how I’d change it for 2015.

After much thought and consultation, my blog and I have decided that for the 2015 Blawggie Awards, the winners are the 2014 Blawggie Award winners.

In a way, that feels a bit like cheating, so we needed to come up with something extra for you the reader.

Since I have have turned so much toward audio and podcasts for information and entertainment in the place of blogs, I thought it might be good to offer readers a glimpse into the podcasts I listen to and how I now use podcasts.

Podcast Listening App. Another iTunes update that broke the Podcast app, and I moved away from iTunes plus the Apple Podcast app to the dedicated podcast app, Overcast (now free). Although there are some differences that impact the way I used to organize podcasts for listening, I’m generally happy with the switch, especially Overcast’s approach to speeding up the playback of podcasts and squeezing dead air out of podcasts. You can also use Overcast as an online service at Overcast.FM.

Podcast Search. I found iTunes podcast search to be a great way to do research. If I wanted a good overview of a topic, an interview of a book author, or other information, either introductory or advanced, on a topic, searching for relevant podcast episodes on iTunes was a great way to do that. Overcast is not as good, but OK for now. I cannot recommend this approach to using podcasts episodes to find focused information enough. Another handy podcast search tool is Huffduffer.

Listen to Podcasts on a Trial Basis. When I find an interesting podcast, go ahead and subscribe to it. If it’s not that interesting to me, I unsubscribe fairly quickly. Not all podcasts or podcasts episodes are great or what you want. That’s why listening at a higher speed is a great approach. Listen and edit aggressively.

Law-related Podcasts. The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast is on the Legal Talk Network. LTN has a lot of great law-related podcasts and is always the best place to start for finding useful law-related podcasts in one place. For other law-related podcasts, you’ll have to do some searching and know what you are looking for. Using iTunes to search for and identify promising podcasts in your area of interest is a great way to start.

Podcasts Related to Your Practice. Ultimately, law-related podcasts may not be the tool that helps you the most. If you represent clients in certain industries, podcasts on the industries might be way more helpful to you than legal podcasts. In my world of digital payments, podcasts like the Consult Hyperion podcast and Payments of Fire are much more useful that any law-related podcasts I’ve found. Podcasts that keep you up on news, developments, trends, industry players and the like may well make your clients feel that you are much more helpful as a lawyer.

A Huge Sampling of Podcasts I Listen to These Days. I’m disappointed that there’s not a great way to collect, send out and share links to podcasts episodes that you like. Huffduffer is one example. Some people tweet about a great podcast episode. But it’s hard to make the move from seeing a link to listening to the episode. Here are some podcasts I’ve enjoyed at various time in 2015 to give you some ideas of what podcasts you might want to try. I’ve added links (a process that only reinforced for me how difficult it is to share links to podcasts – I suggest looking for any of these that interests you in iTunes our the podcast app you use).

A16z
Ari Meisel – Less Doing
Bill Simmons Podcast
Consult Hyperion podcast
Cool Tools
The Critical Path
The Current from CBC Radio
Cycling 360
Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel Podcast
Great Work Podcast
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
HBR Idealist
In Our Time
the Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast (of course)
Lawyerist Podcast
Legal Talk Network podcasts
Listen to Lucy (Financial Times)
Mac Power Users
The Needle and the Mouse
Pardon the Interruption
Payments of Fire
Rdella Training
Seminars about Long-term Thinking
The Slate Political Gabfest
Spark from CBC Radio
TechNation Radio Podcast
The Torch: The Great Courses Podcast
Wealthtrack’s Podcast
What’s the Point

Well, there you have it – the 2015 Blawggie Awards post. The winners can be found here. The Blawggies have always aimed to inform, educate and surprise. In 2015, the emphasis was on surprise.

Best wishes to all for 2016.

– DennisKennedy.Blog and Dennis

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

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