My 2012 ABA Journal Blawg 100 Picks

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Although Lawyerist is clearly the best legal blog in almost every category of the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 other than “For Fun,” where Bitter Lawyer should clearly take home the prize, I’ve decided to play the role of Nate Silver and just tell you who is the best blog in each of the ABA Journal’s 14 categories.

Here are my top picks. Take umbrage, take issue, go vote.

News/Analysis

Lots of law blogs have been uncomfortably shoved into this category, which is unfortunate because several of the best legal blogs are going head-to-head. For example, I love Popehat for its smart and irreverent posts on free speech and Internet bullies, and I love The Legal Satyricon for the same thing. Plus, there are several blogs by law professors and judges, not to mention the behemoth Above the Law, where Elie Mystal’s consistently-excellent writing is enough of a reason to visit even if you don’t care about BigLaw or Brian Tannebaum’s rants.

So when I say that Popehat wins because it has become my favorite law blog to read this year, you should probably still add the rest to your reader, anyway.

Trial Practice

Since only one law blog in this category is in my reader, I’m calling it the best. Philly Law Blog owns.

Business of Law

I don’t even know why they bothered to include any other blogs in this category. You’re reading the best law blog right now: Lawyerist. If I had to pick a runner-up, though, it would be Carolyn Elefant’s MyShingle, which is pretty good, considering it’s not Lawyerist.

Niche

If you were wondering how the Blawg 100 gets to 100, look no further. This category has 14 nominees to pad the numbers. It is also full of blogs that focus on a single subject area, often limited to a single jurisdiction. So let’s call them all winners in their practice areas.

For Fun

This category is nearly a toss-up for me between Lowering the Bar, a catalogue of legal ridiculousness, and Law and the Multiverse, where fictional legal situations are analyzed in detail. I’m going to give my vote for Law and the Multiverse, though, because it’s more fun than Lowering the Bar

IP Law

Perhaps more than even the niche blogs, these are very inside-baseball-style blogs. If you want the gory details of IP law, check these out. I’m not going to make a pick.

Careers/Law Schools

The award in this category has to go to Inside the Law School Scam for its accurate criticism of the law school behemoth since its founding about a year and a half ago. While many have been criticizing law schools, this blog has come to define that criticism.

Labor & Employment

I’m not picking any winners in this category, since I don’t follow labor and employment law. But the award for the best-named labor and employment law blog has to go to Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home.

Criminal Justice

I think it’s ridiculous that Nathan Burney’s awesome Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law did not get nominated for this category. Since it didn’t, the award ought to go to Simple Justice, where prolific sourpuss (I’ve grown tired of curmudgeon) Scott Greenfield holds forth on everything from criminal law to social media marketing. His style may be abrasive, especially in the comments, but he always has a point, and he is usually right.

Torts

While there are some great blogs in this category, I’ve really been enjoying Abnormal Use this year, so that’s where my vote is going.

Legal Technology

These geeky blogs are all worth following, if you care about the gadgets on your desk and in your pockets. There are some newer entrants, but I think I’m going to go with Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites. Bob’s archives go back to November 2002, and he’s kept it lively most of that time. I don’t know where he finds the time to review and comment on all the things he does, but you really ought to subscribe.

Courts

I don’t know how you could give the award to anything but SCOTUSBlog in this category. It is redefining court reporting, and it was the only reliable source for news on the top legal news of 2012: the Affordable Care Act decision.

Corporate

You’re on your own, here.

Legal Research/Writing

I’m not giving the award to LawProse just because I’m sick of hearing about Bryan Garner, thank you very much. He’s very smart when it comes to language and legal writing, but surely there are others worth reading and quoting on those subjects.

Instead, I’m voting for the Legal Writing Prof Blog, which I’ve enjoyed fairly consistently over the last year.

So now that you know which blogs to vote for, go do it!

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  • Fascinating, no links to me or Greenfield. Oh wait, lawyerist hearts nice (did I say that right for the kids?

    • Leo

      For Christmas, Jordan and I are buying you and Greenfield rose-colored glasses.

    • I included Scott. Looks like I forgot the link, though. Fixed.

  • Thanks, we get a new pair weekly. They always break for some reason.

  • Yes Sam, I see Scotts name and my name. No links though. That’s ok. We’re just fine. We know sending people to our writings from here may cause excessive crying and whining. Happy Holidays!

    • Scott’s link is fixed. I didn’t give you a separate link because I mentioned you as part of ATL, which already got two links. I’m sorry if that made you sad.

  • Terribly sad.

  • Sam: As a fellow espresso/coffee junkie, can I entice you to add my 2012 Blawg 100 Honoree, At Counsel Table (www.atcounseltable.com), to your trial blog reader? Take it for a test drive, 10 days hassle-free; if you’re not completely satisfied, drop that sucker!

    • Did you seriously call someone a “legal blogging rock star and client service guru?”

      I don’t know if we’re on the same page.

      Shameless self-promotion in blog comments is uncouth, by the way. It’s my blog. I’m the only one allowed to be shamelessly self-promotional.

      But I’ve read a bit, and your blog ain’t bad. I’m still voting for Leo and Jordan, though.

      • I actually called two different people “legal blogging rockstars,” but one of them is really more like a “legal blogging smooth jazz instrumentalist,” if there is such a thing. Point well taken.

  • I’m so glad you like the name of my blog! The name Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home was inspired by South Park. Best of luck with the voting in your category.