Blawg Review #2 (April 17, 2005)
Welcome to the sophomore edition of the Blawg Review. We assume you have brought your sharpened, #2 lead pencils, your registration card, and a valise full of small, unmarked bills. So let’s begin with a some light stretching, shall we?
First, let’s talk about what we’re not going to do — that is, crash the system by showing how, like, iconoclastic we can be with our “carnival.” No, counselor. No antipopes here; we have enough trouble with the Ninth Circuit! We’re blawgers, dammit. And to paraphrase St. Kingsfield, if you come in here with a head full of mush, I promise, you will leave linking like a blawger!
Now, down to cases, as they say. And do I have to keep saying “blawg”? I don’t think they can make me.
LAW BLOG BY THE BAY
The mysterious “SF Attorney” of the Legal Commentary blog (don’t worry, his blah-blog name balances out his exotic real last name — good move!) sends in this link in which the California Supreme Court diddles with the ancient and venerable doctrines of contract and — suprise — decides they aren’t exactly really contracts so much, after all. SFA describes his blog as a “Discussion of all things legal and not-so-legal.” Yes, he’s leaving his options open — but his mastery of the niceties of the California Practice is not for nothing. And hell, give him credit: His blog description didn’t use the words “rant” or “random.” If your wandering briefcase ever points you towards the Pacific, you must take a look at how this gent dices and slices West Coast exotica such as the California SLAPP law. As far as I know, SF Lawyer wants to remain anonymous, but you can email him from the blog.
JUST ANOTHER JUSTICE
Moving from the city where the ground shakes to Notes from the Legal Underground, Evan Schaeffer sends in this item, a pre-publication review, based on a press kit, of the new magazine Justice that will debut on June 21. Evan’s kind of shy about expressing his opinion about this magazine, so you may have to read his review really closely to figure out his subtle take. The post is called “Justice is for Morons.” Frankly, Evan may be onto something. The home page at Justice does make Steve Brill sound like Learned Hand. Incidentally, if you like this “carnival” atmosphere — and Evan does — check out his roundup of law school hijinx on the web. They’re not just dunking those judicial wigs into inkwells any more, believe you me! No wonder they’re so tired. And so uptight — maybe not — about rankings!
DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH DELAY
Did we say hijinx? Well, reading the editorial pages, you’d think nothing could be higher or jinxier than Tom Delay and his friends, so lucky for us JMoore of JurisPundit gets political this week. He’s challenging the conventional wisdom that Texas has been horribly gerrymandered by the GOP. JMoore finds that not only is the alleged gerrymandering no worse than California is gerrymandered for the Democrats, but that actually the Texas congressional caucus isn’t hardly any different from the state’s Republican / Democratic split at large. Take a look — this is good, thoughtful law blogging for a guy with two consecutive capital letters in one name.
RAP TALK JUMPS SHARK; JAG BLOG AWAG
On the other hand, blogs with three consecutive capital letters can be quite fine, if somewhat suggestive, too. The JAG Central blog — “The world’s first weblog devoted to military justice and military law issues” — this week demonstrates that it is, indeed, all that, and links to a story
in which U.S. Senator Bill “Major” Nelson publicly uses the word “dissing” as a way of describing how he believes the Bush Administration is treating the United Nations. “Dissing” is evidently a word found in a charming urban subcultural patois of some kind — found in Florida, perhaps? — which term, we have learned, is meant as a (much needed!) shorthand for “failing to show a requisite amount of respect.” It’s the sort of nuanced, articulate style of argumentation you’d expect from a member of the world’s most exclusive club.
STAMP OF STUPIDITY
Back Cali-way, SoCalLawBlog tells us about how the D.C. Circuit has affirmed that the failure to put a postage stamp on a routine mailing to the U.S. Copyright Office should indeed cost the “once mighty” MGM studio $10 million. The good news is, they’ve got a plan to make it back.
THE LAW BLOG ANSCHLUSS
Moving from fiction to documentaries, Professor Larry Ribstein’s Idioblog asks the obvious question: What with all these law blogs and stuff, wither the law reviews? Even a better qeustion when you consider that some law schools are actually giving the competition enough rope to hang them with! This is definitely the topic of the moment.
Okay, then, fine, Ribstein’s not the first one to ask it, but frankly he’s the first one who looks quite this natty in a suit and has an endowed chair in a law school to ask it: “What, then, is the future of student edited law reviews? In a prior post I defended them along Hayekian lines — they ‘let a million flowers bloom.’ [Uh oh — that makes one Lenin and one Mao allusion in a post about a libertarian! — Sorry! ed.] But now blogs can do that, much faster, and without the perversities of the law review selection and editing process we all love to hate.”
CHICKS IN THE STACKS
Okay, he’s also the first one to defend law reviews as against blogs along Hayekian lines. Not, as Jeremy Richey reminds us, that there’s anything wrong with that. But it does make you — or at least it, or something vaguely like it, makes Gordon Smith and Christine Hurt think … as they do so well on their Conglomerate blog … about what an all-female law school might look like, and why.
NO FEE LUNCH
But how free-marketish, really, should the legal profession be? It is, after all — as demonstrated by brainy, bloggy practioners like David Swanner — a learned profession, not a furshlugginer business. That’s why David Giacalone of the f/k/a/ blog reminds us not to jump so fast to the world of “alternative billing” arrangements, “value pricing” and the like, whose evangelists glibly “offer the easily-tempted lawyer a paradise of premium clients and fees, with increased profits, while never probing the ethical and fiduciary duties of the lawyer to insure that the client is fully informed, treated fairly (and without manipulation) and, in the end, charged a fee that is reasonable for competent and diligent services.” As Giacalone, whose blog has a haiku motif, might put it:
Along similar, if somewhat less prosaic lines — okay, a lot less prosaic lines — David Jacobson’s External Insights blog just wants to “help businesses make good decisions.” Including lawyers. In this post he talks about the “usability” of firm systems. In law firms, David would like us to be really clear on where to plug these darned things in. He might want to start with George’s Employment Blog, which talks about the whole making-it-work thing as applied to blogs, blogging, business and bald-faced alliteration. It’s a pretty handy employer’s guide to understanding how this New Thing is going to affect your business and your relationship with your busy, thoughtful and bloggy employees.
Evan Brown blogs regularly about cases involving the Internet. And that’s why his blog is called Internet Cases. If you’ve read this far, you should be putting Evan’s feed into your RSS reader. Last week he wrote about a case from North Carolina that gives a good example of what not to say on one’s weblog. Stuff like, you know, “I’m going to drop a boulder onto the highway.” That is, if you’re going to go ahead and do it.
Well, it’s been a long night, and I have more Passover cleaning to do plus a motion in Queens tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed the “carnival,” but please finish the hot dogs outside until after the holiday. (The buns, the buns!) Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions for how to get your law blog posts reviewed in upcoming issues. And readers: Your stubs are good at next week’s show, being held at the Appellate Law and Practice blog, followed the week after by the Law & Entrepreneurship blog by the same Gordon Smith referred to above and a cast of law students. They blog, you decide!
Have a happy and kosher Passover!