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legal blogs

It didn’t work in the case recounted here, but it’s something lawyer-bloggers must worry about [Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use] (& Timothy Sandefur with stories from his own practice)

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August 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 21, 2014

  • “Brady Campaign loses lawsuit against Armslist (a gun classified ad site)” [Volokh]
  • Train for your bright future in federal employment as a FOIA Denial Officer [Katherine Mangu-Ward]
  • Chamber of Commerce alarmed at rise of class actions in Latin America [Kevin LaCroix/D & O Diary, Chamber report and Brazil sidebar]
  • Dear CBS Los Angeles: it’s okay to show a little skepticism regarding creationist’s claims in employment lawsuit [Skeptical Libertarian]
  • Historic role of guns in black civil rights struggle departs from polite conventional account [Charles E. Cobb, Jr., guestblogging on new book at Volokh: samples one, two, three, four]
  • Ranking law blogs based on their number of Feedly subscribers [Derek Muller; only a few single-author blogs score higher]
  • At the height of county fair season, it’s depressing to read about 4-H suits [Legal Geeks]

KC Johnson is closing his definitive blog on the Duke lacrosse case and its aftermath, and reflects on it all in this final essay.

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At Tablet magazine:

Having grown up in families that experienced firsthand the oppressive potential of untrammeled state power, these individuals naturally gravitated toward libertarianism, with its deep-rooted suspicion of government overreach. “Those of us who share that story share the same reason for why we became libertarian,” explained Sasha Volokh, now an associate professor at Emory Law School.

December 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 3, 2013

  • The law blog that almost brought down ObamaCare [Trevor Burrus, Cato] “In Government, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure,” public policies being hard to adjust when they go astray [Peter Schuck, HuffPo]
  • Sexual harassment claim: “Attorneys awarded more than 600 times damages in Calif. case” [Legal NewsLine]
  • KlearGear, of non-disparagement fame, reaps the online whirlwind [Popehat, Public Citizen, Volokh, earlier]
  • “What if American Exceptionalism, properly understood, really boils down to associational liberty?” [Richard Reinsch, Liberty Law] Do religious-liberty carve-outs in same-sex marriage laws go too far, not far enough, or neither? [Dale Carpenter et al. vs. Richard Garnett et al.]
  • What jury didn’t hear in qui tam award against pipemaker JM Eagle [Daniel Fisher, more]
  • Majority of appointed commissioners on Consumer Product Safety Commission is is no hurry to reduce inordinate CPSIA testing burdens, per retiring commissioner Nancy Nord (more);
  • Woman who claims to own sun says she prevailed in lawsuit brought by man who claims to own universe [Lowering the Bar]

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ABABlawg100HallofFameDetails here. The “Hall of Fame” began last year with 10 inductees and this year the ABA Blawg 100 competition is inducting 10 more, with us in the batch. Its description:

Whether or not you’re sympathetic to tort reform and the idea that the government overregulates, Overlawyered is a little hair-raising and eye-opening. Its stated mission is to bring to light abuses of the legal system that raise costs and inhibit justice. Acquired this year by the Cato Institute, the blog is the project of Walter Olson, a senior Cato fellow. Having celebrated its 15th anniversary in July, Overlawyered says it may be the oldest legal blog: “At least, no one seems to be able to name one that’s older.”

So far as anyone we know has been able to tell us, Overlawyered, launched in July 1999, is the longest running blog about law. From time to time the question arises whether it was the very first law blog, a question discussed at Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites (and in turn noted in an Editor’s Note at the above ABA link). It was certainly not the first regularly updated law site; there were plenty of those in 1999, such as Mark Astarita’s seclaw.com which dates back to 1995 (!). In a 2003 post Greg Siskind writes that his visalaw.com was first to adopt a blog format, citing a 1998 post (visible at Wayback Machine here) that provided regular updates on H-1B legislation over the course of a month, with older updates scrolling down the page, and which drew wide traffic. For reasons I advance at LawSites, I think a lot depends on one’s definition of what a blog is, and that’s probably not a subject we’ll all agree on soon.

Also, Overlawyered has been included in the ABA’s 7th Annual Blawg 100 this year, as often in the past. To vote for your favorites by category, click here. They’ve put us in the “Torts” category.

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November 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 4, 2013

Chilling effects of the surveillance state [Glyn Moody, ComputerWorld UK]:

Groklaw is shutting down, as a direct result of the revelations that the world’s communications – including our emails – are being spied upon by the NSA and GCHQ. That’s a huge loss for the open source world: Groklaw played an immensely important part in fighting off the absurd but dangerous SCO attack on free software. Alongside that main work it has conducted countless legal analyses of various other attempts to use patents and copyright to undermine open source. And it has done it applying the open source method of collaboration, a significant achievement in itself.

But the guiding force behind Groklaw, PJ, feels she can’t go on when something so fundamental as the privacy of her communications can no longer be taken for granted. In her final post, she compares the feeling to an earlier one when her flat was broken into, and someone went through all her belongings.

More: Brian Barrett, Gizmodo. We’ve cited Groklaw a number of times in this space.

Not unrelated: “What Should, and Should Not, Be in NSA Surveillance Reform Legislation” [Electronic Frontier Foundation]

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May 10 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 10, 2013

  • Electric-car maker Tesla doesn’t get many kind words from free market types, but here’s one [Coyote] More: North Carolina auto dealer lobby strikes back [News & Observer]
  • One lawyer’s selection of the worst lawyer billboards, though they’re far from the worst we’ve seen [John M. Phillips]
  • House hearings on litigation abuse and on litigation and international competitiveness [Judiciary, more, Point of Law]
  • Ninth Circuit cites conflict of interest, throws out credit reporting class settlement [Trial Insider; Daniel Fisher]
  • Private pensions, market-based water rates and more: “Australian travel notes from a policy wonk” [Alex Tabarrok]
  • “Use elevators properly. Riding outside of cars can be dangerous and deadly” [Scouting NY, seen in Bronx apartment building]
  • “It’s long been my view that blawgs, law blogs, are the greatest peer reviewed content ever created.” [Greenfield]

Mentioned in WSJ

by Walter Olson on December 24, 2012

Columnist Gordon Crovitz notes that when “Borking” entered the language as a synonym for ferocious, factually dubious assaults on a nominee, “there was no Internet to correct the record — no legal blogs such as today’s SCOTUSblog, Above the Law, Volokh Conspiracy and Overlawyered.”

  • “The Cash Machine: How the Philly D.A. seizes millions in alleged crime money — whether there’s been a crime or not.” [Isaiah Thompson, Philadelphia City Paper via Alkon] Jacob Sullum on the Motel Caswell forfeiture case [syndicated, earlier]
  • Online symposium on Brandon Garrett’s Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong [Co-Op]
  • Victims of Detroit police raid on art gallery nightclub get some justice [Ferndale 115]
  • John Baker on mens rea and “strict liability” crimes [Fed Soc, PDF]
  • Radley Balko has moved his Agitator blog to Huffington Post. And (via @normative) Cato’s Police Misconduct project is tweeting at @NPMRP.
  • Want to cross-examine someone on that traffic-camera ticket? Be prepared to pay travel costs for the camera company person [Scott Greenfield] “The mission creep of rape shield law” [same]
  • “Does the Criminalization of Tort Inhibit Safety Investigation?” [Beth Haas, Faculty Lounge]

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November 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 15, 2012

  • Ninth Circuit dissent: ruling “jeopardizes academic freedom” by making it too easy for students to sue professors [WSJ Law Blog]
  • When the bumptious and sociopathic go after our blogging friend, it’s Ken 1, b./s.-ers zero [Popehat]
  • Uh-oh: “Election Results Seen as Victory for Business of Law” [Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer]
  • In the mail: “How to Feed a Lawyer: And Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground” [Evan Schaeffer]
  • “Cato Files Brief in the First Federal Appeal Regarding the Contraception Mandate” [Ilya Shapiro, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • “Judicial independence” campaigners snooze through unfair attacks on D.C. Circuit [WSJ, earlier]
  • “Anyone whose blood pressure needs a boost should check out Overlawyered…” [James DeLong, American Thinker]

Blogging’s loss…

by Walter Olson on September 11, 2012

…is the FTC’s and the nation’s gain, as President Obama nominates Josh Wright of Truth on the Market and George Mason University to a Republican seat on the Federal Trade Commission. Among our many links to his work: Posner and expert witnesses, Spanish professor sued by recording industry, e-book antitrust case, forum-shopping in Philadelphia, Chicago on law and econ, Google antitrust, executive debarment, cheap calories, behavioral law and econ, unisex insurance rates, Dodd-Frank, and many, many others. More reactions: Stephen Bainbridge, Ted Frank (“Best thing Obama’s ever done”).

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“Legal commentator Walter Olson sounded the battle cry in his recent post: ‘Abolish the Law Reviews!,’ arguing that most exist so students can edit them, rather than to be read by lawyers and judges.” (more)

More reactions: Scott Pryor, Faculty Lounge; Kevin O’Keefe, Real Lawyers Have Blogs (“Blogs and social media to replace law reviews? Seems likely”); more, Deborah Hackerson, Legal Skills Prof Blog; “Something tells me this would not make Walter Olson reconsider his belief in irrelevance of law reviews.” [Jacob Laksin] Earlier here, here, here, etc. Related: Dave Hoffman on what would happen if we freed up 2 million law student hours a year [ConcurOp]; Ross Davies/Journal of Law, PDF, via Bainbridge on when legal scholarship helps judges. (& Mitchell Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof)

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July 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 25, 2012

  • Town of Gold Bar, Wash. (pop. 2,100) brought to brink of bankruptcy by multiple lawsuits following political feuds; “We are going broke winning lawsuits,” says mayor [Monroe Monitor via ABA Journal]
  • “No one in Youngstown Ohio has a Swiss bank account…except maybe that big new Swiss employer in town?” [Matt Welch, earlier] William McGurn: FATCA and the IRS’s reach abroad [WSJ via TaxProf, earlier here, here] Politicians and lawyers demand “improvements” to IRS bounty-paid-informant program, but what if anything they improve may depend on your point of view [TaxProf, earlier]
  • A human rights professor endorses a new model of residential facility that comes with names like “Freedom Place.” But what’s that on the door — could it be a lock to prevent escape? [Maggie McNeill] Romney spokesman says he’ll smite smut, Gov. Gary Johnson takes a more libertarian view [Daily Caller]
  • New Mark Herrmann book on in-house lawyering [Victoria Pynchon, Scott Greenfield, Paul Karlsgodt]
  • Mortgage eminent-domain seizure plan raises serious constitutional concerns [Andrew Grossman, earlier here, here]
  • Central casting? Send over one “business basher,” please: Sidney Wolfe says $3 billion Glaxo settlement too lenient [CL&P, earlier]
  • Ted Frank pre-vets the possibilities for Romney VP [PoL] Romney’s law and legal policy team [Brian Baxter, AmLaw Daily]

I’ve got a new essay up at The Atlantic, part of the “America the Fixable” series edited by Philip K. Howard. I have a bit of fun at the expense of the Harvard Law Review, raising the question of whether it should be held to lower standards than the Long Island tabloid Newsday, and cite such figures as Richard Posner, Elizabeth Warren, Ross Davies of George Mason, and the bloggers at Volokh Conspiracy and Balkinization.

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May 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 3, 2012

April 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 6, 2012

  • “Help, I left my kids to wait in the car for less than five minutes, now I’m on trial for child endangerment” [Skenazy] “N.Y. State Senate Passes Bill Outlawing Kids Under 8 Waiting in Cars” [same]
  • “Greek court dismisses charges against German magazine for denigrating national symbol” [AP]
  • Pre-clearance for financial innovation, as with drugs and the FDA? Bad idea [Mark Calabria/Cato, The Economist, Thom Lambert]
  • NYT, Reuters misreport effect of Stand Your Ground laws [Jacob Sullum, Robert VerBruggen/NRO, earlier here, etc.]
  • “Attorney advises against talking to Baltimore Sun in email mistakenly sent to Baltimore Sun” [Andrew Beaujon, Poynter]
  • Ken at Popehat knows how to pick his enemies [first, second, third posts, Philly Law Blog]
  • “Now Can We Start Talking About the Real Foxconn?” [Tim Culpan, Bloomberg]

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