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 The post also has a good discussion on unpublished opinions.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.

Written By:Lawgirl On May 16, 2005 5:49 AM

wow - thanks for the summary. Lots of useful information. And thanks for citing to my humble little blog, where I posted on the issue summer associates blogging.

I have a subsequent post about whether associates (such as myself) should blog:

http://onfirmground.blogspot.com/2005/05/is-it-wise-and-ethical-for-summer.html

As a new blogger who is currently blogging anonymously, I have a number of questions and concerns about how to do that in a way that will not alienate or upset my employer. I was wondering if you or your colleagues have any thoughts about it.

Written By:Anonymous On May 16, 2005 4:17 PM

Anonymous blogging is bad! Wait, oops.

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