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May 12 2008 Legal Blog Roundup

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There are roughly two types of legal blogs: news blogs and commentary/discussion blogs. Of course, those categories can overlap considerably, but it's true that most blogs generally focus on one or the other. An example of a commentary/discussion blog would be the Volokh Conspiracy, one of the prominent group blogs. The same is true of the Becker-Posner Blog, written by Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit and Professor Gary Becker from the Chicago School of Law.

But the news blogs are the ones that generally have the most impact, at least in my opinion. There's no better Supreme Court coverage than that of SCOTUSblog — they have the breaking news before anyone else, including usually the newswires. Overlawyered is a great site to keep up with some of the more excessive lawyers and lawsuits.



The legal blog that has had the most impact, at least recently, however, is Above the Law. A blog somewhat comparable to the website Judged.com, an affiliate of LawCrossing, Above the Law focuses on law firm gossip and life in the law. As many big firms have found out to their cost, Above the Law tends to find all those skeletons that they wish to keep quiet.

For example, the big news this past week involved the firm Paul Hastings and the rather dramatic exit of an associate under slightly murky conditions. Paul Hastings made the usual "no comment" remark about the story; however, that only let one side of the story come out — that of the employee who is no longer with the firm. And as a consequence Paul Hastings has been hammered — their reputation has taken a humongous beating. As the Volokh Conspiracy said in response to the Paul Hastings debacle, law firms' biggest worry now is ending up featured on Above the Law in a bad way.

Turns out, though, that some firms have learned from this experience. When Bingham McCutchen from Boston had a potentially disastrous situation on their hands — an employee making accusations about being drugged with date rape drugs at a firm party — they promptly got out in front of the story. And it appears they have saved their reputation, or at least done what they can.

Another fun blog is Quizlaw, if you can stomach their extreme political bias (and salty language). When not opining on presidential politics, they link to some of the best/stupidest stories around. For a usually funny fix of dumb criminals, they are one of the best places to go. Last week the blog featured a great story involving a homeless man concealing weapons — in his prosthetic leg, no less — without a license. Any time you have a man sticking a revolver and four knives inside his fake leg, it's a great story.

With news blogs, though, you have to check more often. How Appealing and Instapundit are probably two of the best. The Wall Street Journal's legal blog is pretty good too.

The Chicago School

    


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