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/)]

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.

I’m a big fan of the Law Technology Today blog. [Disclosure: I’m the chair of the board for the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center, which publishes the blog.

Dennis Kennedy photographed on December 19, 2010.

A new monthly feature of the blog is a roundtable discussion post featuring members of the LTRC Board and occasional guests. The series is a great way to hear the perspectives of some of the leading thinkers on legal technology issues in an accessible and fun way.

The format has been to serve up five questions on a topic to the roundtable participants and let the participants run with the questions.

The November roundtable on password management is probably the best one so far, in large part due to the large number of participants. While it was a little crowded around the table, I believe the the more the merrier.

The password management discussion is full of practical tips, key insights and informed perspectives. You can learn a lot from the discussion. I sure did.

Earlier roundtables covered artificial intelligence, automation and digital assistants.

I invite you to read the roundtable posts and to visit the Law Technology Today blog on a regular basis, or, even better, subscribe to it in your favorite newsreader. The LTRC board also welcomes your comments and suggestions for future roundtable topics.

[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

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.

I developed a new presentation on technology competence and legal ethics for the recent Missouri Bar Lex Port 2015 conference.

Lex Port Start Slide

I took a new and practical approach and wrote the following as part of the handout materials. It largely reflects the direction I took in the presentation.

Let me know what you think of this approach.

Timely Technology Competence Tips for the Non-Technological Lawyer

The Key Text. Continue Reading Timely Technology Competence Tips for the Non-Technological Lawyer

There’s been a lot of discussion about how the definition of “competence” for lawyers also includes the duty to keep up with applicable technologies.

Talk can be cheap, but the good news is that doing something about learning about applicable technologies lawyers can be an inexpensive proposition, at least in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

lexportlogo_2015_DATED_70

Exhibit A on this topic is the Missouri Bar’s Lex Port 2015, which takes place on October 26 – 27 this year. Early bird pricing of $259 for up to 12.2 tech-focused CLE hours and up to 4.2 hours of ethics CLE. In Missouri, that will satisfy your ethics CLE requirement for two years.

There looks to be a ton of great sessions with some nationally-known speakers. Here’s the program brochure.

I’ve already turned in my handout materials – early. Just something for program planners to keep in mind about me.

I’ll be doing three presentations:

  1. Taking LinkedIn to the Next Level
  2. (more important now than ever)

  3. Technical Competence and the Rules of Professional Conduct
  4. (for Ethics CLE credit – a new presentation and a new approach to the topic from me)

  5. 50 Sites, Tips & Gadgets in 50 Minutes – with an all-star panel of Catherine Sanders Reach, Ben Schorr and Jeffrey Taylor

I like Lex Port because I always learn new things. If you are in the St. Louis area (or can make it there), it’s a great use of your time and CLE money. Registration information here.

Hope to see you there.

[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

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.

I’ve had quite a few articles, podcasts and other things appear over the last few months, but not on this blog. It seemed like a good time to catch up and point to some of those.
Podcasting portrait
Tom Mighell and I have continued a good run of episodes on The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. Recent ones include:

The summer reading episode brought us one of my favorite responses ever. A listener told us that listening to the podcast actually got him to start reading books again.

Tom and I love doing the podcast, are grateful to our listeners, and, as always, welcome your suggestions for show topics and other feedback.

I believe that I’m now officially allowed to announce that I’ll be the chair of the board for the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center for the next year. Watch that space – there should be some exciting developments. As just one example, check out a new monthly roundtable series on the Law Technology Today blog that will feature LTRC board members discussing timely legal tech topics.

The first is already up: Five Questions on Artificial Intelligence. It was sort of funny that it wasn’t my insights into AI that got attention, but my line that “The Wikipedia entry for ‘artificial intelligence’ will make you wish you had an AI tool to interpret the entry.” that got picked up in other articles.

My most recent ABA Journal Kennedy on Tech column is called “Speech Recognition Moves Past the Dream Stage.”

I was honored in 2014 by being inducted as a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. There’s a new interview of me on the site in which I talk a bit about some of the things I’ve done in the world of legal tech over the years. Q&A: Meet Dennis Kennedy, Class of 2014

Somewhat dissatisified with the pace of my posting on this blog, my blog is also trying to tweet more links to interesting things on it’s personal Twitter account: @dkennedyblog.

For those who like my #bikeride and other personal tweets, there’s always @denniskennedy on Twitter. I’m trying to do more retweeting through that account as an experiment. Stay tuned there for upcoming news about a new bike for me.

If you are a regular reader of this blog and would like to connect on LinkedIn, I’d be happy to connect. Just mention that you are a reader in your invitation to connect.

2015 has also been a big international travel year for me – Austria, Switzerland, France, Israel and Greece, with Singapore on the agenda for later this year. Hence, the word “everywhere” in the title of this post.

And that seems like a good update for now. Thanks for reading.

[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

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.

Tom Mighell and I have had an especially good run of episodes recently on The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. I especially want to recommend the most recent one “Are Lawyers Ready for Artificial Intelligence?Podcasting portrait

I had been seeing a lot of blog posts, articles, tweets and other mentions of AI, IBM Watson, machine learning and the like. I wanted to talk about it on the podcast. I had to convince Tom that we had something to add to the conversation. As usual, he did’t think he’d have much to say. And, as usual, when he says that, we have some of our longer episodes.

In a way, it was a perfect topic. I like topics where I can push Tom to react to some of my wildest ideas and we both start to see practical opportunities. This episode will also be known by us as the one where I left Tom speechless with one of my ideas.

There’s some interesting stuff in this podcast and I encourage you to listen to it and to subscribe to the podcast.

Here’s the show summary:

“Artificial Intelligence is a means of designing a system that can perceive its environment and take actions that will maximize its success.” -Tom Mighell

Developments in Big Data, machine learning, IBM Watson, and other advancements in technology have brought back the cyclical discussion of what artificial intelligence might mean for lawyers. Has anything really changed, or have we just reached another round of the AI debate?

In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell analyze recent discussions about artificial intelligence and lawyers, try to separate myth from reality, and ponder whether AI can take over the work of lawyers. Together, they discuss the definition of AI, robotics, Technology Assisted Review, driverless cars, document assembly software, LegalZoom and how lawyers are assisted or threatened by these technologies. Dennis points out that lawyers are often worried about computer system mistakes but comfortable with the lower success rate of humans. Tom aptly explains that comfort in certain technologies stems from psychological acceptance.

In the second half of the podcast, Dennis and Tom revisit traveling with technology. As Dennis was just in Europe, and Tom is headed there soon, they talk about wireless routers, mobile wifi, headphones, phone chargers, backpacks, and the other various technology necessities to bring on your vacation. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.

In the “B segment” of our next episode, which will be released soon, Tom and I revisited the topic of AI and Tom challenged me to come up with practical examples of the ways lawyers might use AI. I think even Tom will (grudgingly) admit that I won that challenge. Be sure to tune in to that episode.

[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

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.

Another ABA TECHSHOW (#ABATECHSHOW) blazed by and I barely have had time to catch my breath afterward. I also had little time to catch my breath at the show – it was a whirlwind.Podcasting portrait

The good news is that Tom Mighell and I captured our reflections on TECHSHOW in an episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast called, perhaps somewhat vaguely, “Dennis and Tom Go to ABA TECHSHOW,” which is the best place to get my thoughts on the show.

No surprise – I had a great time, met lots of old and new friends, had some great conversations, saw some interesting new products, learned a few new things and had some new ideas and potential projects. And I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with the great people at the Legal Talk Network (you know who you are).

At the end, I counted up that I had done three presentations, co-hosted a podcast, guested on a podcast, was on the critic’s panel for an Appathon, went to a Chicago legal tech meetup, had some great dinners and even found time for a trip to the Chicago Art Institute to visit some of my favorite Brancusi sculptures. I certainly got my money’s worth of that trip to Chicago.

If you use the hashtag #ABATECHSHOW, you can still find lots of great links to resources, photos and more.

I presented on the 60 Sites in 60 Minutes panel this year (I played the role of the serious one) – a first for me – and the list of the 60 or so sites is posted here. The whole notion of “sites” is an interesting one – some of my selections played with whole notion of what a “site” was anymore and whether the term still made sense.

I invite you to take a listen to the podcast episode. And I’ll hope to see you at TECHSHOW 2016 next year.

[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

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.

I’ve been thinking lately about whether changes in technology should be causing us revisit ideas and approaches that we have tossed aside or put on the back burner for many years. In simplest terms, the question would be if high-speed Internet connections, mobile access, processor power, memory, storage and the Cloud now make it possible for us to do some of the things we’ve talked about for many years, but that never quite worked.

TKMR Logo

Another way to pose the question is to ask whether you have started to notice that things that never quite worked are now starting to work noticeable better.

I ran these questions by my legal tech friends Tom Mighell and Marc Lauritsen a while back and found out that they had been thinking about the same thing.

That gave Tom and I the idea to try to do an series of occasional podcasts on the The Kennedy-Mighell Report in which we would revisit some “old” technology ideas that people haven’t thought about for a while and see if new developments have made them more possible or things we should reconsider or even implement.

In our first episode in this series, Revisiting Technology: Speech Recognition, we start with speech recognition, a technology that seemed to never quite get to where we wanted it over many years and tended to ultimately disappoint.

I had noticed that I had been using dictation on my mobile phones for short emails and texts. I’m not a great typist on mobile phones, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised how useful and accurate speech recognition has become.

It turns out that speech recognition is a perfect example of how technology change has refreshed the potential of an old standard, and, in the podcast, Tom and I delve into changes in speech recognition and our new perspectives on it.

It’s a lively conversation and we invite you to listen to the podcast. We also encourage you to share your thoughts. We’d also like to hear your ideas for other topics in this series.

[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

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.

My latest “Kennedy on Tech” ABA journal column is my attempt to answer a question I frequently hear from lawyers – “What mobile apps should I have?”

ABAJ Column - Feb 2015

One of the things that intrigues me most about our new world of apps is how personalized each of our experiences using tech, especially mobile devices, has become. The apps that I like might not be the ones you like. The apps I use most might well be apps you don’t even use. It becomes more difficult than ever to compare what I’m seeing on my screens to what you are seeing on your screens.

As a result, I find that lists of “best” apps or even app reviews to be somewhat unhelpful for me.

In my new column, the title largely reveals my point of view: “Which apps are must-haves? It depends on your practice.”

In the article, I set out a framework for you to use when considering what mobile apps might work best for you.

I divided apps into four categories:

  1. Apps for programs you already use.
  2. Apps for convenience.
  3. Apps for how you work.
  4. The elusive “other” types of apps.

The money quote:

There are plenty of useful apps out there, especially if you take a step back and think about how you practice, how you use mobile devices and the intersection of the two.

Mobile apps are especially good for three things: allowing you to perform tasks anywhere and at any time, extending the range of what you can do with computer programs or Web services, and taking advantage of the features of a mobile device (camera, microphone, sensors) to give you new tools right at hand.

As always, I like to hear what you think of these columns. Let me know. Longtime column readers will notice that the column has a new photo of 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

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.

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

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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 2014 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

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.

Dennis

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

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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.