Tomorrow, April 11, 2006, is Blawg Review’s first anniversary (see
Blawg Review #1, at The Legal Underground). Congratulations to
the named and nameless ones who have made it possible, and
nurtured BR into an institution that (a) gave this weblog a very nice
(stress-inducing) award, and (b) gave f/k/a the honor of rounding out
the first-year run of the original law[yer] weblog “carnival.” If there are
further horns to be blown about this Blawg Review milestone, we should
let its Editor do it.
digital age –
at the keyboard
If you’ve been here often, just skip down to that little picture of
Carolyn Elefant for Blawg Review substance. If you’re new here,
click on the About page to learn how we evolved from ethicalEsq
to f/k/a and came upon “our” [Your Editor and his often unruly alter
egos] three-pronged mission:
(1) Nudge lawyers to put their client’s interests first for real –
(2) Bring the pleasures of real haiku to folk who never knew,
forgot, or just want more.
(3) Allow the clowns, curmudgeons, and other characters inside
the Editor to express themselves, despite thirty years lugging
around a law degree. (for example, see Prof. Yabut’s Favorites)
the accused teen
and his lawyer…
dressed for spring
Barry George, J.D.
she groans with pleasure
. . . at my puns
Scrolling down our homepage will give you a good taste of what it’s like
more thoughtful and provocative than usual). This Blawg Review edition
is set up like most of our posts: a lot of white space, a little organization,
some graphic images for contrast, and a bunch of haiku (which relate humans
to nature) and senryu (which focus on human nature), touched off with occasional
insights and/or wise-cracks from the alterred egos. So, don’t expect techno-
Spring arrives –
melting on the dashboard
Here we go Blawg Review #52:
General Praise: Bob Ambrogi and Carolyn Elefant are doing a great
job with their new assignments at Law.com‘s Inside Opinions. They
cull the most interesting-substantive posts from the Law.com stable,
plus other weblogs, giving helpful excerpts, often along with their
own reaction to the issue or news. I wish they would leave posts on
the homepage longer, for those who can’t get back as often as we’d like.
(And, is that Comment function working, or is it just me?) In between
Blawg Reviews, Bob and Carolyn help keep us focused on the best in
using his nose
the dog searches
When I grow up, I’d like to have a weblog like the Volokh Conspiracy.
Every single day, you can find interesting, substantive posts on topical
law issues, written by Prof. Eugene and his distinguished cabal. They
don’t just toss out opinions or quips; you get reasoning and even legal
citations. If I could read only one weblog for legal substance, it would
be VC – even though I tend to think of myself as more liberal (and sen-
sitive) than most of the contributors. [my alter egos are aghast at their
Editor gushing; it does not happen often]
“eschewSN” eschew obfuscation
After learning about Georgia’s lewd language law last week,
it was a relief to find out from Prof. V that the DeKalb County
prosecutor realized the statute had been declared unconstitu-
whose bumper sticker read “I’m Tired Of All The BUSHit.”
General Prays: More weighty, is Eugene Volokh’s discussion of the
March 14, 2006 Resolution by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,
which urges “Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity has head of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, to withdraw his
discriminatory and defamatory directive that Catholic Charities of the
Archdiocese of San Francisco stop placing children in need of adoption
with homosexual households.” Thomas More Law Center has filed a
lawsuit, on behalf of Catholics in S.F., seeking to strike down the Reso-
lution under the First Amendment, as an attack on a particular religion
raises important and difficult legal and political issues. While others have
merely stated the claims on both sides, Prof. V. explains both why he
believes the Resolution is constitutionally permissible and why he none-
theless finds it troubling.
What would Henry Drummond or
Matthew Harrison Brady say?
the scarecrow gets
a new straw hat
Grace Plays: Speaking of Catholics, RiskProf Martin Grace wonders
Do Catholics Get a Better Deal on Life Insurance? Having recently covered other
insurance risk classification issues, Martin uses his customary humor to explore
the ramifications of a new study showing “a positive relationship between regular
church attendance and life span.” Naturally, he weighs the opportunity costs of
Church attendance and exercising to increase life span — and combining the two.
[exorcising is not explore, however]
squinting to see him –
sent to right field
Gosh, Professor: Christine Hurt, at the Conglomerate Law Blog, brought up an
intriguing professor-student issue this week, in On Poaching & Transfer Law Students,
“Does anyone out there have a policy of not writing letters
of recommendation for students seeking transfers to higher
ranking law schools? I do not, but I have heard strong argu-
ments from people I admire that they have begun refusing
writing these letters of recommendation.”
The Comments, from professors and students, are quite varied.
William Henderson of Indiana Law does some major axe grinding,
and is quite willing to keep law students right where they are, in
order to stop those evil Top 15 law schools from poaching.
What would Charles W. Kingsfield say?
Good Point/ Good Pointer: A number of webloggers pointed us to articles
or studies of interest this past week.
Solo Cheerleader-in-chief Carolyn Elefant reminds readers in the post
“The Solo Majority“ that “a majority of firms in the U.S. are solo and small
practices, a whopping 89 percent in fact.” Carolyn points to the article
Small Shops Do the Heavy Lifting (NYLJ, April 6, 2006), by Lovely Dhillon
who explains why “Solo and small-firm practitioners, who comprise so
much of our legal profession and perform so much of the legal work for
people in every nook and cranny of America, deserve to be adequately
trained, supported and mentored.”
Evan Schaeffer’s Illinois Trial Practice Weblog summarizes
and points to “Video Can Be Risky Business“– an article at Law Technology
News, by James McKenna and Jo Haraf. Brandon Bass offers a calming
Comment. What would Vincent Gambini say?
him. The anonymous young writer was complaining about people who
complain about lawyers. Ted replied (sounding a lot like ethicalEsq –
“I’ve long said that attorneys upset that their profession is held
up to ridicule would have much less of a problem if attorneys were
more concerned about the behavior that led to the ridicule than about
the ridicule itself.”
There are scores of Comments at the Legal Underground
post. Not much fun, though.
Responding to student requests, Prof. Steve Bainbridge has listed
with the idea of putting class learning about corporate law and
governance into a real-world context.
after the verdict
the tireless lawyer speaks
in falling snow
HR Lawyers’ Blogger Chris Mckinney points to an npr story on the “Importance of
. . . . Slowing Down.” The “rest step” practice of a professional mountain climber
has a haiku-vian feel to it.
Prof. Bainbridge also gave of this photograph this week.
law office picnic –
the ump consults
[More] Good Posts:
via The Comic Treadmill.
Using his head at Declarations & Exclusions, George Wallace fills us in
on three Appellate cases from California that deal with assumption of risk
in sports activities. “espn meets courtTV” discusses the Avila intentional
beanball case, plus a ski hydrant decision and a personal trainer suit.
April chill —
In Katrina Revisited, Robert Ambrogi reminds us of the importance of disaster
planning, with a pointer to Steve Terrell’s Hoosier Lawyer, which focuses on the recent
on Katrina’s impact, and to this week’s Coast to Coast, podcast, which focuses on
New Orleans’ legal community.
the city recovers
blown away by the hurricane
Michael Harris at George’s Employment Blawg has put together the latest in a series of
Forget the Search Engine Optimization strategies of the big law firms, Michael has made
their website the search engine favorite for anyone interested in “OFCCP Definition Internet
My only plea to George and Michael: “Help the ignorant
who aren’t familiar with your acronyms.” Clicking on 5 posts
did not reveal the meaning of “OFCCP,” so I finally Googled
it. (For the similarly clueless: it’s The Department of Labor’s
Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs.
one glass of wine -
Google keeps asking
“Did you mean _____?”
It’s great seeing the wonderful placement weblogs can
achieve in search engine results. Our Inadvertent Searchee
pages are filled with amazing examples of 1st place results
for f/k/a — from weblog culture>, lawyer value billing>, and
past their peak –
boomers’ first date
Thompson of Cyberlaw Central voices his hope that the important
Net Neutrality issue can be resolved based on a discussion of its merits,
rather than stereotyping it as a “Republicans versus Democrats” fight.
Kevin gives a quick description of the actors and issues. [the skeptics
here at f/k/a haven’t seen any reasons yet to think that Kevin’s noble
wish will come true]
On March 31, Cynthia Calvert posted “New Partner Classes: Good News and Bad News.”
The Project has been taking a close look at whether firms are actually retaining and
advancing women lawyers. They see mixed evidence this year. Firms say they are
trying to retain and advance women, but are they really doing it? Evidence from the
number of women promoted to partner this year is mixed. The latest report states
“If the women aren’t staying at the firms long enough to make partner, the
issue isn’t the pipeline but rather the culture at the law firms. “
[The f/k/a gang continues to believe that women refusing to stay in large law firms
may be a sign of their wisdom and advanced priorities. And see Prof. B.]
“witherspoonAsWoods” What would Elle Woods say”
In “Burn in the U.S.A, “Norm Pattis of Crime & Federalism gives us a criminal
defense lawyer’s perspective on the death penalty — seen through the smokey
glass of the Zacarias Moussaoui case. As usual, Norm has a unique way of
looking at issues he cares about greatly.
What would Arthur Kirkland say?
first murder trial–
the D.A. arrives
in new gloves
his quiet funeral—
a man who did
most of the talking
Barry George, J.D.
Two thoughtful posts dealt with a topic frequently discussed at this weblog —
alternatives to the billable hour. Of course, we’re a little bit skeptical that changing
the pricing format will make much difference without changing the profit goals of
law firms and their lawyers. [see, e.g., the value-billing babysitter (March 23, 2006)
and chronomentrophobia (Jan. 7, 2005)] But, I digress.
Greatest American Lawyer, who always takes a balanced approach to the subject, wrote
“Is It The Hourly Bill Or The Lack Of Budget Which Is Most Harmful To The Client Relation-
ship?” GAL tells us how his firm handles billing various matters and explains why he’s
come to believe that maximum bugets on projects may be the solution to the hourly
What would Atticus Finch say?
Meanwhile, Dan Hull at What About Clients? writes about Exemplar Law Partners,
the fixed-price-only Boston law firm. The post Catching Up With Exemplar Law:
“No Hourly Bills, No Hourly Bull,” is quite up-beat, and starts up a lively debate
in the Comments section on the viability of a fixed-price model in a world where
good talent is very expensive (and not much interested in taking risks or less
her eyes narrow,
seeing for the first time
my little house
Before we go, here are a few pointers from the f/k/a Gang. Prof Yabut
is always complaining about being stuck here in Schenectady, NY. He found the
series this week from Scotland and Wales by J. Craig Williams to be a great
change of pace. We all learned some interesting history, too.
the train picks up speed
in a paper coffee cup
haikuEsq is usually reluctant to delve into poetry that has more than three
to five lines. However, he recommends the humorous, PG-13-rated, “constitutional
law” poetry of the anonymous Canadian law student who haunts the Lawyerlike weblog.
The Annual Joel Bakan Constitutional Poetry Contest is the inspiration.
Your humble editor thinks Are Law Firms Manageable? at David Maister’s Passion
deserves the attention of many of the folk reading this weblog. Some of you might also
want to check out the Whisper weblog’s discussion of the difference between branding
and advertising. [Then, check out our rather jaundiced perspective on law firm branding
in Brand LEX — just how is the client better-served?]
up late update (3PM): Just got back to my keyboard after my
first “all nighter” in a very long time. A few things are clear, now
that I’ve had my first mug of coffee of the day:
(1) Ben Cowgill’s soloblawg did finally go public very
early this morning (it hadn’t the last time I looked). Ben’s
reputation for putting together excellent content and
resources, bodes well for this new venture, which will
provide information of interest to solo and small firms,
and “focus to a large degree on legal technology and
the Internet-leveraged practice of law.” Best wishes
to Ben on this newest venture (and thanks for your
kind words about this edition of Blawg Review).
she says she’ll have . . .
from Quiet Enough
(2) I forgot to mention my hope that 3L Epiphany will
reconsider the decision to leave “inactive” weblogs out
of its very helpful legal weblog taxonomy. With the internet
being as close to eternal as things get on this planet, even
“inactive” sites can be the source of useful information and
historical perspective. Sure, indicate that a weblog has been
“inactive since ______”, but don’t leave sites like BeldarBlog
or The Curmudgeonly Clerk out of the main categories of
(3) You should see “Court TV’s 15 Most Memorable Movie Lawyers“
and our related post.
(4) BWD: Blogging While Drowsy leads to many infractions, inclu-
ding my omitting a pointer to Dennis Kennedy’s April 4th post on
associates’ salaries and the Wired GC’s hyphenated word “price-
poll “Are Associate Salaries Justified?] Although I wish Dennis
had not added “I’m just raising the question to see what people
think, not necesarily as a reflection of my own opinion,” I am
pleased to see him point out examples of recent “ratcheting up
of the ‘protections’ of the legal profession from within” — leading to
[and, sorry Carolyn, but I refuse to use the newest cliche “money
quote”] the question:
“Is the legal profession begging for outside (governmental)
investigation, intervention and antitrust regulation?”
Sadly, we think, in a nation with such a fragmented system of attorney
regulation (and with so much politcal influence held by the legal profes-
sion over many of the consumer advocates most likely to otherwise lead
a charge), outside intervention — such as that recently begun in UK –
seems highly unlikely.
(5) If this old trustbuster had been more awake, he would have pointed
his arthritic digits at Dan Crane’s Antitrust and Presidential Politics post
at Antitrust Review. Dan points out that one Italian candidate for Prime
Minister, Romano Prodi (an economics professor, I believe), has made
antitrust law a major campaign issue. Dan then goes on to show how
little antitrust comes up in the public discourse of American presidents.
“dgITsm” Let me take this opportunity to point out yet again
that the Editor of f/k/a is NOT the David Giacalone who worked
for Mr. Berlusconi and is alleged to have “received a personal
payment of more than $300,000 for his part in having the so-called
Mammi Law enacted favoring Berlusoni’s media empire. (The Nation,
“Emperor of the Air,” Nov. 11, 1999) [even The Nation misspells our
name!] Berlusconi’s Giacalone has a website, policamente scorretto,
which means “politically incorrect” in Italian.
On the other hand, Berlusconi’s Giacalone has been known to
insist that, back in 1971, he was not this David Giacalone.
Next week’s Host will be tax professor Jim Maule of Mauled Again. Jim has taken
a good look at the issue Is It Time to License Tax Return Preparers?, setting out many
of the pluses and minuses of regulating these service providers.
old dog and master
for the tiny spot of shade
every kind of cloud
in one sky
white to pink–
who painted the clouds while
we shopped for wine?
“tinyredcheck” Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions
how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
p.s. Sorry we got this posted so late. Sure hope no one was
inconvenienced (other than your very sleepy Editor).