New Group Trial Lawyer Blog - Trial Lawyer Resource Center

Mark Zamora, of A Georgia Lawyer  and I have been working on a group blog for nearly a year and went live yesterday. It’s called the Trial Lawyer Resource Center with a shorter URL of TLRCBlog.com. Alphabetically, we have the following contributors:
 
John Day (Nashville, TN)
Matt Garretson (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Gary Gober (Nashville, TN)
Jay Harris (Toledo, OH)
Tom Kline (Philadelphia, PA)
Rick Kuykendall (Mobile, Alabama)
Todd O'Malley (Scranton, PA)
Ronald Miller (Baltimore, MD)
John Romano (West Palm Beach, FL)
Randy Scarlett (San Francisco, CA)
Karen Shelton (Charleston, SC) [lifecare planner / nurse case manager]
David Swanner (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Mark Zamora (Atlanta, GA)
 
In that group there are 5 past state TLA Presidents, 3 past Presidents of the Melvin Belli Society, 2 past Presidents of the Southern Trial Lawyers, the current President of Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group, plus the incoming President of the Inner Circle of Advocates. In addition to those lawyers, there's a lot of talent there.
 
Mark and I started the blog because we wanted to bring all of the great information we were seeing at ATLA and Southern Trial Lawyer’s Conventions to the internet and put the blog together. You can read more about the blog at this interview with Evan Schaeffer of Legal Underground, or just go and read the blog.
 
We’ve got a great group. I’m personally looking forward to seeing what all of the contributing lawyers have to say.
Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Good Resources from the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission

Website of the Week: MyTrialBlog

Mitch Jackson of Laguna Hills, California has started a new trial blog, MyTrialBlog. Here’s a sample on direct examination:

4. Practice Your Direct and Video Tape Clients- For clients, setup a video camera in your office and conduct a short 15 minute direct examination. Stop and watch the video together. Next instruct your client to sit up with her hand crossed in front of her. Instruct her to look at you and the jury (tell her where they will be sitting) while answering questions. Ask the same questions again and video tape. Now watch the video. Your client will see herself come across 100% better just by the short exercise. You may also want to explain your approach to direct examination so that the two of you are on the same page with respect to your overall presentation. Yes its important to go over this with your client and yes, you are preparing your client for trial. This is what you’re getting paid to do so take the time to do it right. Always tell your client to tell the truth while on the stand. No exceptions.

5. Use Short Descriptive Introductions- Start off each section of your direct, with a short descriptive introduction. This helps the judge and jury stay focused on your presentation of the evidence. For example, in the above case involving a truck which ran the red light, when questioning a paramedic who treated your client, set the stage as follows: Q- Good morning Mr. Jones. Why don’t we start out with what you observed when you first arrived at the scene of this collision. What did you see? And towards the end of his testimony maybe ask like this Q- It’s my understanding that you transported Susan (use first names once in a while to personalize your client and also refer to the defendant as “defendant” or “corporation”) to Good Hope Hospital. Before wheeling her into the emergency room, did she complain of any pain or discomfort?

All good points and the whole post is worth a read. I have had mixed results with videotaping witness examinations. Sometimes people are much more concerned about how they look and how their voice sounds, more than paying attention to how they are coming across and the videotape review becomes counterproductive. I agree with all of the other stuff, though.

Mitch looks like he’s doing a great job with his new blog. I’ve put him in my daily reads and wish him the best.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (1) |Permalink

New Personal Injury Blog: Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers

Ron Miller,  of Miller and Zois a plaintiff’s personal injury firm, has just started the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog. Ron has been writing blog posts for awhile now as part of their website. However his blog didn’t have an RSS feed. He’s now separated the blog with it’s URL and RSS feed. He’s started off with some good material, such as posts on Independent Medical Exams, a  great article from a Maryland judge, titled Alice in Discovery Land, and Trucking Accident Verdict Data.

If Ron’s name is familiar to you, that’s because he does the excellent Maryland Attorney Help Center that includes sample pleadings, discovery requests, motions, examinations for trial and lots of other goodies. I first wrote about their Attorney Help Center here. He’s doing good stuff and I’ve put them in my daily reads.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (3) |Permalink

Blawg Review #49 - Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog

 Jim Calloway has the new Blawg Review #49 up. Jim has worked the carnival theme with his Oklahoma background into more of a rodeo. In addition to the great work he did on the Blawg Review, Jim’s regular blog postings at  Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog have some of the best practice management tips on the internet.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Website of the Week: Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Help Center

Ron Miller and Laura Zois get it. Here is their Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Help Center . It includes (among other things):

  • Sample Motions - Collection of motions filed by our attorneys on behalf of our personal injury clients in Maryland.
  • Sample Motions in Limine - A sample of motions in limine filed by our attorneys on behalf of our clients in Maryland.
  • Sample Discovery - Examples of interrogatories, depositions, designation of experts, request for admissions, and request for production of documents.
  • Sample Pleadings - Examples of complaints, answers, and expert designations.

In addition to the standard presentations at conferences and conventions, the internet allows people to show off their expertise on a continual basis.

Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Blawg Review #38 at Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground

Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground has Blawg Review #38. In it he has resolutions on how to write a better blog. If you have a weblog or were thinking of starting a blog. Evan has excellent advice. In short his 10 resolutions are:

  1. Mix It Up
  2. Prove You Have a Personality
  3. Be a Better Writer
  4. Write for the Computer Screen
  5. Use Photos
  6. Don't Be Obscure
  7. Build a Community
  8. Experiment with New Weblogging Ideas
  9. Don't Let Your Weblog Make You Crazy
  10. Learn from Other Weblogs

Evan gives great examples and shows why he’s one of the leading lights in the legal blogging community. Check out the entire post. It’s well worth bookmarking. You can find out more about Blawg Review here.

Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Findlaw Doesn't Know What Services They're Selling

I had a visit from a Findlaw salesman today. My general approach to unsolicited sales is that they are more than welcome to send me literature. If I’m interested, I can read through the materials and contact them. I can also read through the literature when it’s convenient to me, rather than when the phone rings. I had previously told the FindLaw reps this three times.

The FindLaw salesman wanted to sell me a sponsored spot at the top of their lawyer search. The cost depended on how many areas of law (personal injury, wrongful death, car wrecks) that I wanted to purchase. Fair enough, the portals spend a lot of money to build a brand, a presence and traffic. I believe that Lawyers.com and FindLaw.com are the two largest legal portals.

A few years ago, I tried an exclusive sponsored link on Lawyers.com and didn’t get a single call. Not a good result. I told the salesman that and asked him why I would want to pay to be linked to his directory if I was already

  • Me: “I thought that you didn’t link to external websites, just your ‘internal home pages’”
  • Salesman:  “No. No. We’ll link to your website, your blog, whatever you want.”
  • Me: “Really? Are you sure? You are? Well I must be thinking of Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com”
  • Salesman: “Well, the people who have their website designed by us will have links to our website and the profile. Yours won’t have the website link, just the profile link.” (When he showed me the binder with the screen printouts, the first 7 law firms are also FindLaw website customers. Hmmm…..).
  • Me: “But you’re certain that you will link to my website?”
  • Salesman: “Absolutely”.
  • Out of curiosity, I pulled up the information that was available through FindLaw’s portal when you don’t get a website through FindLaw and here’s what I found. A single page with a white background that listed contact information (Attorney, Address, Phone, Address, Phone, Fax, E-Mail, Website, Blogs, Attorneys and West Practice Areas to be exact).

    Of course, this contact information provides nothing about what kind of firm we are, how we handle cases, what kind of people we are, or why a potential client should do business with us. I don’t think a potential client will click through two forms before they find out even the smallest amount of information. The first rule of the internet is ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. People want to see what’s going on when they click on a button. They want things to be easy.

    FindLaw and Lawyers.com potentially have valuable products/services. I have a serious problem when they make it proprietary to their system and won’t link to my website or blog. I know it’s good for them, but it’s not good for me. Thanks. But I’ll opt out.

    With this blog, people can get a sense of who I am and what I’m about. If they like that, they can call. If they don’t like that, they’ll know before they call. Instead of selling people, I just have to be myself,  be visible and let the law of attraction work. Blogs do that for me.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (5) |Permalink

    South Carolina Appellate Law Blog - A New South Carolina Blog

    Welcome  Bill Watkins, Jr. of Womble Carlyle and his South Carolina Appellate Law Blog to the blogosphere. Bill’s tagline is “Following the opinions of the South Carolina appellate courts, the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.”

    Bill’s had 50 Essays and reviews published in national magazines, newspapers and journals. Including: The South Carolina Law Review, The Independent Review, The Washington Times, America's Civil War, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He also wrote a book Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).

    According to the firm site that Bill works for, Womble Carlyle was established in Winston-Salem in 1876, the firm now comprises more than 500 lawyers and 1200 staff in nine offices, including Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, NC; and Atlanta; Greenville, SC; and Tysons Corner, Va; and Washington, DC. Continue Reading Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (1) |Permalink

    Advertising Coming to Legal Blogging

    In an interview at LawFirmBlogging,  Burkey Belser states:  “Here’s a gospel we preach to our clients every day: ‘Don’t advertise, contribute to the conversation.’ When there is good conversation, there are good feelings all around, mutual respect and pleasure in the activity.”

    I think that’s exactly right. One of the appeals of blogs is that it is a conversation. The great thing is that with his news aggregator, the reader gets to pick who he listens to and who joins his personal conversation. But of course it couldn’t last forever. I’m starting to see attorneys using blogs for search engine placement and straight out advertising instead of adding to the conversation. Here’s a few:

    • Boating Safety Law and News blog. It posts about 10 stories from news feeds and 5 nautical pics automatically. The attorneys appear to write a few posts a month. Pics and news clippings are fine, but they don’t add to the conversation and don’t tell a potential client or referring attorney anything about the lawyer.
    • The Injury Law Blog appears to be run by a Dallas lawyer. The posts of his weblog, look to be pages of text from his website. Granted, he looks to be quite an internet marketer, by having a different domain name for every area of his practice.  and a different front page for every one of the domains. I’m not faulting him for that, but his weblog doesn’t provide any information. On the other hand, Bob Kraft is a Dallas attorney that gets blogs.
    • Atticus Media is a legal marketing company that does weblog development. In their blog development page they state “Blogs provide touch-marketing at its best. Legal Blogs will elevate your reputation as a reliable authority in your area of the law.” And to establish someone in their field, the marketers at Atticus have pre-built a very nice website and weblog for a Special Needs Lawyer that wants an internet presence. Hmmm… I guess the marketers provide the reliable authority and just drop in the appropriate attorney who is willing to pony up the bucks.
    • Atticus Media also has a domain Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer that looks to be a site designed for optimal search engine rankings on a national level and then lawyers purchase an exclusive right to get case referrals for a particular state. They seem to have 4–5 states taken so far.

    So we’re starting to see legal blogs used specifically for higher search engine placement or advertising without adding to the conversation. Without the attorneys giving their input and sharing their thoughts. Without talking to their colleagues, clients or the public. They’re allowed to do that. But, I think they’re missing out on the greatest value of blogs. (Of course, there's always the possibility that they're new to the blogosphere and don't get blogging yet, but I don't think that's the case)./p> Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (2) |Permalink

    BlawgWorld 2006: New E-Book of Legal Weblogs

    Neil Squillante and Sara Skiff of TechnoLawyer have put together a great e-book of 51 legal blogs. They did a fabulous job of pulling it together and editing it and the book is free. You can get a copy of it here at BlawgWorld. They talk about their book here:

    According to various studies, approximately 80,000 new blogs launch every day, including dozens of blawgs. No one knows how many blawgs exist, but whatever the number, monitoring them — even with an RSS Newsreader — would amount to a full-time job. You probably don’t have that kind of time yet you probably do want to tap into the blog phenomenon.

    This conundrum explains why we created this TechnoLawyer eBook. In it you’ll find thought-provoking essays from the most influential blawgs — 51 essays from 51 blawgs to be precise. The essays were handpicked by each respective blogger as most representative of their blawg. As a result, you will likely find several blawgs worthy of your continued attention. When you do, just click on the blawg’s screenshot to visit its home page. Or just search for the name of the blawg in Google.

    It’s a great introduction to a number of legal blogs and it’s free. Check it out.

    Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    BlawgThink Update

    Well, I’m back from Chicago and BlawgThink. I was hesitant about taking the time from work for a legal blogging conference. It looked really cool, but wasn’t certain I could justify it with all of my other commitments and with as many trial lawyer Conventions I go to. But Matt Homann called and with the personal touch, off I went. I am glad that I did.

    The real value of BlawgThink was getting about 100 talented people together and cutting them loose. At the end of the first day and the whole second day was an open source conference. What’s that? People got up, wrote what they wanted to talk about, learn about or hear about on a piece of butcher’s paper, told the room and put it on the wall. Then you broke into small groups and went where the people were talking about what you wanted to know about. It worked much better than I thought it would, and I think as it catches on it will work much better. A sort of self-organizing conference, but on topics that people really wanted to talk about.

    A Few Thoughts About the Attendees:

    • Bloggers Really Care About What they Write About – There were a lot of bloggers from a lot of different areas of law, but all were passionate, excited and really cared about their subject area.  In hindsight, that’s not too surprising, because they don’t get paid to write, so they would have to care to keep it up.
    • People Write Weblogs for Different Reasons – I write about trial techniques, practice management and using technology in trial and to run a better office because that interests me. Some people write specifically about a niche area of law primarily to attract clients. Some people just write about and share their experiences. There’s no right or wrong. With a weblog, you have a microphone. Say what you want.
    • Bloggers are Generous People – Everyone was friendly and giving of their time, thoughts and ideas. It was amazing how much people were sharing ideas.
    • There’s a Lot of Exciting Things Around the Corner – I’m not going to bother cataloguing them, but there is a lot of exciting software and technologies that are coming up. Nowadays, there is a lot of experimental/social software basecamp, backpack, writely and feedster just to name a few. These all look real cool, but half baked and not quite ready for use at work. If you enjoy playing with these things, have at it, but personally I’ll just keep an eye on them and wait for them to shake out.

    A Few Thoughts About the Conference:

    • A Lot of Wireless Laptops – Nearly everyone had a wireless laptop with them. I’m not used to seeing people checking their e-mail, surfing the internet and updating their blogs while having a spare minute between sessions at lunch, etc… It made me feel more normal than I’m not the only tech addict out there.
    • A Lot of Macintoshes – About 30–40% of the laptops were Macs. Considering that Apple only has about 5% of the computer market, that was a bit of a surprise. Also, there was a higher percentage of Macs from the tech people than the lawyers.
    • The Open Source Method Worked – The classes were more interactive. In the planned presentations, there were discussions and they were less formal. The impromptu sessions were really group sessions with much more interaction going on than you see at a typical conference. There was also lots of space, cubbyholes and other places to talk.

    The personal connections are too numerous to talk about. In addition to the conference, I also wanted to meet Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog and Tim Stanley of Justia as they do my weblog and website. I got an opportunity to talk to them for an extended period of time. They’re both extremely talented and wicked scary smart. So I met a hung out with a lot of cool people, made a number of connections, got a lot of ideas and maybe a few new projects.  Thanks to Matt Homann and Dennis Kennedy for putting on the show.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Heading Off to BlawgThink

    Well, I’m on the plane and on my way to BlawgThink. This was a tough call for me because I primarily see myself as a trial lawyer who has a weblog rather than a blogger who is also an attorney. There are a lot of people who find more passion (to use the word de jour) in their blog than their practice. I enjoy this weblog, but my true passion is fighting for people against companies and practicing law. What brings it alive for me is not that I’m working on a motion or argument, but that this is going to make a difference in a person’s life. When you fight for people instead of cases, it  makes all the difference in the world. However, it’s quite clear at this point that weblogs are a disruptive technology. In fact, probably the most disruptive technology since the internet itself.

    • How Have Weblogs Changed Things? – That’s a combination of two factors. First, the rise of search engines to find nearly any possible piece of information. Secondly the ability of weblogs to easily link and access that information. Weblogs make posting to the internet or ‘writing a story’ as easy as sending an e-mail. Linking to information can be as easy as right-clicking on the mouse and selecting ‘Blog This’.
    • What Does the Change Mean? – With the new technology, anyone with a computer and access to the internet has nearly the same research materials and ability to reach the same audience as the New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, CNN or Fox News. This has become the age of the ‘citizen journalist’.
    • What Does it Mean if Anyone Can Reach the Same Audience as Any Major Media Outlet? Hmmm….. Harder question, that has yet to play out. I don’t think that weblogs will replace the mainstream media, but that they will supplement each other. Weblogs will play to core audiences and will do an especially good job of filling niche markets or audiences. Blogs also do a good job of bird dogging certain subjects, researching them and running all of the facts to ground in a much more determined manner than major media outlets can do. Weblogs are also a good place to collect an area of expertise.

    When we have unlimited research potential and can reach anybody in the world the two simple questions are:

    What do you want to say?

    Who do you want to listen?

    Easy questions. The answers are harder. So while, I am a firm believer and evangelist of the disruptive power of weblogs, I also look at them as just another tool to ‘say your piece’. So why am I going to BlawgThink? Because there are so many smart, talented people that are going to be there, I would be astonished if some of it didn’t rub off and I come away with some great ideas about how to be a better lawyer and run a better practice. So I’m going not to navel gaze at the future of blogging, but for the people.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Website of the Week: A Bug's World

    Once I started a legal weblog, my wife started asking what kind of blogs were out there. I told her everything under the sun. There were a lot of personal diary / dating weblogs, medical blogs, people talking about their lives. “Even Mommy blogs?” Hmmm…. I don’t know, but I would assume so. So we went to a search engine and typed in ‘mommy blogs’ and up popped a gazillion.

    And so A Bug’s World was born. I went with LexBlog,  a professional design, custom logo and let Kevin and the gang do all of the technical work., Jennifer set up a Typepad weblog on her own. A little ironic, the ex-techie hires someone so as not to have any involvement on the technical side of the blog, but the complete non-techie sets up the blog all on her own without any help.

    So when I’m doing research or writing in my blog, Jennifer updates her mommy blog, putting new pictures up for family and friends, adding video clips and telling the story of a growing two year old. I had a friend come over a bit ago, who just started laughing when he walked in the door. We were both sitting in the living room, on the internet, typing away with our wireless laptops. Her on the couch and me in the recliner. Ah well…..The perils of a connected family.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Weblog Terminology

    I have a lot of trial lawyer readers that aren’t as up on weblog technology. Well here’s your chance to catch up. The Hartford Courant has a great Glossary of Weblog Terminology.

    Thanks to Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog for the find on this one.

    Posted inResources, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (2) |Permalink

    Why I went with LexBlog

    A trial lawyer friend of mine started a blog the other day, but is not a techie like me. He wanted to know why I hired LexBlog to do my weblog hosting. Instead of sending an e-mail, I decided it would make a good post.

    1. Professional Design – In the blogosphere, content is King. It doesn’t matter what your site looks like, it matters how you write. True, true. However, many people are not of the blogosphere. I get a few thousand hits a month off Google searches. It’s the people’s first time on the site. First impressions are lasting impressions. If a site is going to reflect my practice, I want it to look good. (In my case, I went beyond the LexBlog design and had the logo professionally designed).
    2. Top Level Domain Names –  If I’m going to be on the internet, I want a top level domain name. (e.g. www.SCTrialLaw.com) and not something like DavesBlog.blogspot.com or DavesBlog.typepad.com. I want people to be able to remember the name and get to it easy. The easier I make for them to get to the blog, the more people will visit/read. I know registering a domain and then linking or forwarding a site to that domain name is not that difficult, but I want to spend my time learning how to be a better lawyer, not be a better tech guy. Continue Reading Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (3) |Permalink

    New Medical Malpractice Weblog

    There’s a new blog in town for Plaintiff’s lawyers. John Day of the excellent Day on Torts and his firm are publishing the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Law Blog. While it’s called the Tennessee Med Mal Blog, most of the information is applicable to anyone that is interested in medical malpractice or related torts.

    John’s firm Branham and Day, also has started the Tennessee Business Litigation Law Blog.

    Update: I just found out they also have ANOTHER blog, ERISA on the Web.

    Imagine that, a 5 lawyer firm with four different blogs. But fortunately, they'll have another attorney starting soon. Obviously they get it at Branham and Day. The more you share your experience and expertise with people, the more it comes back to you.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (3) |Permalink

    Welcome Benji Stevens to the Blogosphere

    Our very own Benji Stevens has added his voice to the blogosphere with the South Carolina Family Law Blog. Benji’s the second South Carolina lawyer to start a blog. He went with LexBlog to have a more professional looking site. As you probably already know, I think that Kevin O’Keefe’s service is well worth the money.

    In his blog, Ben will be talking about divorce law in general and in South Carolina, specifically. We look forward to hearing what he has to say.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Blawg Review #6

    Welcome to Blawg Review #6, a collection of the top legal blog postings in the last week. Since I have a newer blog that people might not be familiar with, I’m going to start with a quick primer of the highlights of the South Carolina Trial Law Blog. If you’re not interested, skip ahead to the posts.

    This blog’s most popular posts have been How to Be a Better Trial AttorneyStarting Your Own Practice Out of Law School, Top 5 Things Paralegals Want to Tell Their Lawyers  and Twelve Ways Technology Can Make You a Better Trial Lawyer (which was originally published on Evan Schaeffer’s Notes from the (Legal) Underground and was republished by Neil Squillante’s TechnoLawyer). The most searched for posts have been How to Prove a Negative (my first post), Digitizing X-Rays and Some Great Legal Quotes for Closing Arguments. If these topics interest you, stick around and check out some more.

    Since my interests as a trial lawyer are Trial Techniques, Practice Management and Technology, we’re going to start with those subjects and work our way out from there. On with the show:

    Trial Practice

    Mark Zamora of A Georgia Lawyer, has excellent advice on how not to get cases referred to you. If you want a primer on the wrong ways to handle association, Mark’s got it. John Day, of Day on Torts, has a flow sheet for handling a personal injury case. Evan Schaeffer of the The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog points to an article on how to work up a product liability case from the plaintiff’s perspective.

    Ken Shigley, of the Atlanta Injury Blog rounds up a number of sources and does a legal analysis on his hometown girl Runaway Bride Jennifer Wilbanks.  From the other side of the fence, David Stratton of the Insurance Defense Blog, points to an article discussing event data recorders (black boxes).

    Trial Ad Notes discuss a Washington State case where a six-year-old was held competent to testify about abuse when he was three and four. The post also has a good discussion on unpublished opinions.

    Over at South Carolina Trial Law Blog we completed our compilation of PowerPoint presentations and did an initial mailing of 438 disks to fellow plaintiff’s attorneys. The disks are free to plaintiff’s attorneys. Click here for more info and how to get one. We also announced a Comedy Workshop for Trial Lawyers that will be a two day workshop (6/10 and 6/11) culminating in going on stage at a 5 star comedy club (6/11/05) in Myrtle Beach, SC. Fun stuff, come and join us. To bookend the lawyer comedy, Shane Jimison of Virginia Law Blog has a few lawyer limericks.

    And finally, for the sartorially challenged, CrimLaw blog has an analysis of fashion trends and what not to wear to court (I’ll give you a hint: be conservative).

    Practice Management

    George Lenard  at George’s Employment Blawg, muses on the dilemma of  too much work and too little time.  Meanwhile, Michael Harris his co-blogger discusses the opposite effect for people over the age of 50 of having too much time and too little work.

    Over at the group blog Between Lawyers, Dennis Kennedy starts a discussion on confusing world of lawyer advertising regulations. Monica Bay of The Common Scold talks about the importance of employee training and suggests reviews suggests that law firms not look at training as only an expense.

    Jim Logan at JSLogan Blog discusses how you can use a negative event to build customer loyalty. I can testify that this works. Tom Kane at the Legal Marketing Blog discussses how to develop an organized referral Thank You system. Bruce Allen of Marketing Catalyst Blog discusses branding and consistency for law firms.

     Technology

    Tim Stanley of Justia Legal SEO Blog has started a new feature the Justia Free Sixty: 60 Essential Free Competitive Intelligence Resources for Your Legal Desktop. Tim is doing the tips in installments. Here are Tips 1–11; Tips 12–24; Tips 25–36.We’ll be anxiously waiting the next installments.

    Law Dawg Blawg has a great roundup of articles on both basic and advanced RSS tips and techniques.  Regardless of your skill level, there’s a little something for everyone in their post.

    Kevin Thompson at CyberLaw Central wonders whether the white hot buzzword of digital convergence might be ahead of its time. Ronald Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion questions Google’s attempt to patent news ranking technology and wonders what the effect would be if the process is biased by politics.

    Tort Reform

    On the other side of the litigation fence, Evan Schaeffer has an  interview with Ted Frank of Overlawyered.com. It’s an interesting interview with a lively discussion. If given his druthers, this is what Ted would do with our litigation system:

    If sellers offering products or medical services were allowed to negotiate for different sets of legal rules, and consumers were allowed to choose, it would cut a Gordian knot and solve multiple problems with one change. Elected judges? Overpermissive rules for expert testimony? Exclusion of seat-belt evidence? Untrammelled non-economic damages? Joint-and-several liability holding the deep pocket 100% liable if they're held 1% responsible? Plaintiffs' venue shopping? All of these rules in need of reform could be contracted away.

    Walter Olson at Point of Law tells of a controversy in Mississippi  over AG Jim Hood's hiring of a key campaign supporter as counsel for the state to negotiate a back tax bill with MCI, a major local employer; the negotiations resulted in a $100 million tax payment to the government and a $14 million contingent fee for the outside counsel, Joey Langston.

    John Philo of SafetyLex points to an article noting that according to the Institute of Medicine between 44,000 and 98,000 people die annually in hospitals from preventable errors and wonders where is the crusade against malpractice errors?

    Criminal Law

    The Dark Goddess of Replevin, bless her twisted soul, brings us news that tattoos are exception to the hearsay rule in Washington. She also informs us that the Washington State legislature has moved swiftly to make goat stealing a felony. I’m glad to see that this is a national problem and not just a Southern thing.

    ambivalent imbroglio offers the details of a prosecutor who suppressed and lied about evidence, was caught red-handed doing it, but managed to get the defendant executed. Despite these crimes, he now sits as a trial court judge. It’s a chilling story.

    Professor Douglas Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy has a roundup of links to Connecticut’s execution of Michael Ross. Included in his links is the excellent (yet disturbing) poem Twas the Night Before Killing by Norm Pattis at Crime and Federalism.

    Contracts

    Colin Samuels of Infamy or Praise sings the praises of the humble contract, boilerplate and all. From contracts between petulant musicians and greedy record companies, to agreements between bulked-up action stars with political aspirations and blood-sucking Hollywood types, to routine transactions, there's something beautiful about the much-used but underappreciated contract.

    Ernest Svenson at Ernie the Attorney also wrote about the absurdities of boilerplate language in lawyer e-mails. Ernie follows up here and here.

    Law School Postings

    With law school exams wrapping up, we’re light on postings from law students this week. Jenn at Guava Light & Warm Rain has a rant about civil procedure finals. I’ll second that emotion. Studying civil procedure without the context of a real case always struck me as obscure in law school.

    The biggest question seems to be should summer clerks blog? Professors D. Gordon Smith and Christine Hurt at Conglomerate Blog  take on the question of  whether summer clerks should blog.  LawGirl of On Firm Ground  has a roundup of postings on the subject.

    Dwayne at Law School Memoirs paints a picture of law school professor he admires. It’s not a typical character study, but you can tell he loves his professor, flaws and all. Jeremy at Jeremy’s Weblog discusses should you go to law school. I think Jeremy is right on target with his answer.

    Hey! This Blogging Thing is Catching On

    Diane Levin of Online Guide to Mediation comments on how legal blogs are becoming a popular way to exchange information. Diane gives tips on some of the prominent blogs and how to find legal blogs that interest you.Kevin O’Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs adds an opinion on why blogs are so effective.  Blawg.org makes the same observation as Diane, noting not only the sheer number of new blawgs, but the quality of the blawg sites.

    And to prove both of them right, we have a handful of excellent postings giving great substantive information on legal subjects. Gene Vorobyov of Legal Commentary analyzes a key 9th Circuit affirmative action opinion.  Professor Larry Ribstein of Ideoblog has a post on the Delaware Supreme Court affirming the internal affairs rule. Francis Pileggi of Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog has a post on Chancery Court rules on derivative versus direct claims and proxy damages. More and more great legal information and analysis is becoming available through legal blogs.

    Law in the News and Other Posts

    J. Craig Williams of May it Please the Court  writes about the incident in Georgia where a high school student was suspended for not hanging up a cellphone call with his mother in Iraq, Craig makes the excellent point about the difference between discipline and the mindless attention to rules.

    Learning to Love the Law discusses his  recent experience with the Washington evacuation scare. He makes some good points about the gaps in our thinking on security.

    With the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Mommy Blawger muses on George Lucas’s marketing to preschoolers. This post is worth clicking on, even if just for its link to the Mr. Potato Head version of Darth Vader.

    And finally, Ann Althouse looks at Arianna Huffington’s new blog. Ann says “I don't like when bloggers make a big thing out of their first day and say "Look at me, I'm launching a new blog!" I agree with you Ann. Don’t show us your first post. Give it time to see what you can do.

    Thanks for spending time with me this week. Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (2) |Permalink

    New Blawg Review is up at Conglomerate Blog

    The new edition of  Blawg Review is up at the Conglomerate Blog. Blawg Review is a weekly collection of legal blog posts from around the internet and the host rotates from week to week.

    I’ll be hosting Blawg Review next week.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Neil Squillante and TechnoLawyer Join the Blogosphere

    Okay, I’m running late on this one, but Neil wanted everyone to get out the news. If you’re interested in law and the use of computers, joining the TechnoLawyer newsletters is a must. There are 8 different newsletters and they are all free. So sign up for as many or as few as you want. My favorite is the Fat Fridays.

    Neil Squillante has started a TechnoLawyer blog, where he highlights upcoming features and also puts tips and hints that don’t fit as well in the newsletter. Neil’s a welcome voice to the blogosphere.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    New Blawg Review is Up

    Blawg Review? What is that?

    It’s a collection of some of the best posts from the best legal blogs, or at least the best posts from the legal blogs that submitted a post. The host of Blawg Review will rotate from week to week, and of course there’s a blog to help you keep track of everything. This week’s Blawg Review can be found here at Ronald Coleman’s Likelihood of Confusion. Blawg Review has further information on what this is all about.

    Next week’s host will be Appellate Law & Practice. I’ll be hosting the Blawg Review here on May 16, 2005.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Good Example of Client Oriented Legal Weblog

    If you want to see a great example of how a weblog can be used as a more interactive website to provide information, forms and fresh content to your clients, check out Al Nye’s new Maine Divorce Law Blog.

    Man…Al did such a good job with it, it makes me think I need to get going on a consumer blog like the Illinois Personal Injury Weblog written by the prolific Evan Schaeffer.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Ten Minute Mentor: Great Resource of Video Talks from the Greats

    Imagine being able to sit down with one of the best lawyers in the state for 10 minutes of advice. Now multiply that by 100. That’s what the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association did. They took a video production crew around the state for several months, videotaping 10 minute presentations from some of the best lawyers in Texas. Robert Ambrogi describes the project well:

    In cooperation with Texas Bar CLE, TYLA created a library of short video presentations by some of the state's best-known experts on key points of law, firm-building, tactics and personal development. Anyone -- no need to be from Texas to find value in this series -- can hear veteran trial lawyer Harry M. Reasoner of Vinson & Elkins tell how to structure a legal argument, "King of Torts" Joseph D. Jamail discuss the lawyer's role in society, and Haynes Boone co-founder Michael M. Boone tell how to build a law firm that will last.

    The site is Ten Minute Mentor. You can browse by topic, or by author. A lot of the information is not Texas specific. The best part of it is that it’s free. The project is described as “Concise. Practical. Free."  Yep.

    [Note: I’m slow to post about this great resource. In addition to Robert Ambrogi, MyShingle, Illinois Trial Practice Blog, Al Nye the Lawyer Guy and Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog have also gotten out the word.]

    Posted inPractice Management, Presentation, Resources, Trial Techniques, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    God Bless Mrs. O'Keefe

    Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog set up my weblog. LexBlog is a turnkey blog operation. They do the design, the layout, the coding, register the domain name, get everything working right and all the lawyer has to do is write and post. Kevin has made my life much easier. At the beginning, I wasn’t certain that the extra money would be worth it. After doing this for a bit, I can definitely say that the amount of hassle that Kevin has taken out of my life by handling everything makes it worth every penny.

    Kevin still has the only dedicated lawyer weblog packaging system out there (at least to my knowledge). It takes a lot of guts to go out on your own and start a business. That’s fine. But how much guts does it take to start a business in a field that doesn’t yet exist?? I picture a conversation that went something like this:

    Kevin: “Honey, I know I’ve been a lawyer for 18 years and selling the Prairie Law Discussion Board to Lexis went pretty well, but I’ve got a new idea. Let’s pack up the kids and move to Seattle. I want to build blogs for lawyers.”

    Mrs. O’Keefe: “Hmmm…..Building blogs for lawyers. Do those businesses make much money?”

    Kevin: “Well…..It’s hard to say. Because no one is doing it yet.”

    Mrs. O’Keefe:  “Okay. You want to start a business, that no one else is doing and have no idea how much you can make.”

    Kevin:  “Yep.”

    It takes a lot of guts to start a business, but to start a business in a field that doesn’t exist yet, that’s a stone cold mofo. All I have to say is “God Bless Mrs. O’Keefe”.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

    Dave's Website is Up and Running

    Well, it took me a long time, but I finally have a website up and running. You can click on my name on the top right hand corner of the blog to get to the website, or click here. I know I’m behind the times but better late than never.

    And if you didn’t know about this weblog, you can click on the icon of the law books/computer in the top left corner and it will return you to the home page of the blog.

    Tim Stanley of Justia did the site. An SEO (search engine optimized) site with professional design and graphics for a very reasonable price. They also wrote nearly all of the text. If you don’t know Tim Stanley by name, you’re probably familiar with Findlaw, the last company he started. Expect good things from Justia.

    I am very pleased with the website that Tim put together, but eventually I want to put write the material myself and put my own stamp on the site. I want to have...

    Continue Reading Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (3) |Permalink

    Website of the Week: Low Country Lawyer, Vernon Glenn

    I’m not certain whether this will become a weekly feature (I’m not nearly as organized as Evan over at Notes from the (Legal) Underground). I like to see what other lawyers are doing with their websites and when I see something interesting or noteworthy, I’ll let you guys know about it.

    The first featured website is Vernon Glenn, his website is LowCountryLawyer. Vernon’s site says:

    At our firm we like to keep things simple. We do this by listening to clients, honestly answering their questions, communicating effectively, and consistently delivering results at a reasonable cost. We maintain flexible office hours, respond promptly to telephone calls, and stay on top of changes in the law. At the Law Offices of Vernon Glenn you will not find any gimmicks or unpleasant surprises, just good people with ability, compassion, and a knack for delivering results. [emphasis added]

    Wow. You can tell Vernon wrote it himself and it reflects his personality and focus of his practice. We need more advertising like this, advertising that portrays the legal profession in a positive light.

    Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (1) |Permalink

    Dennis Kennedy on Avoiding Mistakes in Starting a Legal Blog

    If you’re thinking of starting your own lawyer blog, Dennis Kennedy has some great tips for mistakes to avoid:

    1. Launch a blog without trying to understand the blog culture or the blogging world.
    2. Don't post on a topic that you clearly got from another blogger without crediting that blogger for pointing out the link, article or resource to you.
    3. Falling for the common advice about getting reciprocal links and treating prominent bloggers as if they offer a free search engine enhancement service.
    4. Being overly-familiar with existing bloggers or taking pot-shots at existing bloggers to make a name for yourself.
    5. My Pet Peeve: Being a New Blogger Who Lectures People About the One True Path of Blogging.
    6. Think Carefully About This Anonymous Thing.
    7. The Biggest Mistake – Not Using Full Text Feeds in 2005.
    Continue Reading Posted inWebsites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink