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.
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.


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 <a href="http://www.slaw.ca/slaw-contributors/"long and impressive list of contributors. 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.
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 (https://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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