Law Blog Week in Review: Your Brief’s Secret Ambition, a New Incubator, & the Fastcase 50


Each weekend, I round up the best law blog posts I have found during the previous week. You can help by sending me links using our contact form, starting discussions in the Lab, or tweeting the link to @lawyerist. Or just tell me what I missed in the comments.

Should Judges Blog?

Yes, says Nebraska Federal Judge Richard Kopf, after giving the matter serious consideration:

The implicit assumption … is that mystery and mythology are better for the legal profession and the judiciary than transparency, particularly when the transparency revealed is raw. I profoundly disagree.

Phew. Although he says he intends to elevate his rhetoric a bit from now on:

Like the gross Sancho Panza, I have in the past, albeit inadvertently, sometimes played the earthy and profane foil to the mad knight. In so doing, I allowed myself to become a caricature rather than the teacher of transparency that I aspired to become.

Truly, I will try to do better.

I hope he doesn’t elevate it too much. One of the great things about reading Judge Kopf’s blog is his extreme candor. [Hercules and the Empire]

Your Brief’s Secret Ambition

Featured image: "A male judge sleeping over the files" from Shutterstock.

Featured image: “A male judge sleeping over the files” from Shutterstock.

‘The secret ambition of every brief should be to spare the judge the necessity of engaging in any work, mental or physical.”

Well now you know. As Keith Lee points out, this shouldn’t be considered a secret. This should be obvious to anyone who has spent any time on motion practice. [Associate’s Mind]

Do You Work Too Much?

According to the ABA Journal, “When American University law professor Andrew Taslitz died in February, his admirers praised his productivity, scholarship and devotion to work.” His wife has a different perspective:

His life was not normal, at least not to me, and it certainly wasn’t balanced. Yes, I know he genuinely loved his work and yes, I know he had a brilliant and unusual mind, and yes, I know he was cut down in his prime when he still had so much more to give. But all of that came with a price. Not the teaching or the mentoring, but all that scholarship. …

So what was the price in the end? In the entire time we were married we only took a two-week vacation once, and just about every vacation we did take was wrapped around one of his conferences or presentations. The furthest he went on each of his two sabbaticals was his front bedroom, because he spent every single day on his manuscripts. …

So in the end how do I feel about his productivity? Yes, he enjoyed it, but he also killed himself trying not to disappoint people or to break deadlines.

And as I sit here with the dogs on July 4th, I think was it really that important to add one more book review to his CV or to do one more tenure letter as a favor for someone he never met? I’m glad his peers all loved him for the reliable genius that he was, and I don’t know how he feels wherever he is now, but I am very, very bitter.

Yes, he was a great academic mentor and collaborator, but the price for all that frenzied output was me, and there’s a part of me that will never forgive him for it, because he died right after he promised to slow down and enjoy life itself more.

Maybe you should take some time off. [ABA Journal]

Lots of Baby-Lawyer Incubators

Law school are taking the tech startup incubator concept and adapting it for new law practices (the ABA keeps a list). The latest was just launches this fall at Widener Law. It will help two or three graduates of the Class of 2014 launch a solo practice or small firm by providing office space, equipment, and mentoring. [Legal Skills Prof Blog]

Law Firm Homepages Are Losing Traffic — and That’s Maybe a Good Thing

Traffic to law firm homepages (that is, the front page of the website) is either stagnant or dropping, but Steve Matthews says that’s probably a good thing.

The funny truth is that the lower the percentage of visitors who arrive directly at the homepage, the healthier the site is. Because it is a sign that folks are either directly accessing information about your firm’s services and lawyers or that people are consuming your firm’s commentary and ideas.

In short, Matthews says that because people are generally going straight to what interests them instead of browsing from the front page, they are probably more interested in what they do read. [Attorney at Work]

The Fastcase 50

Last but not least (and not, technically, from a law blog), I’m pretty sure SCOTUSBlog founder Tom Goldstein is pumped to be right next to yours truly in this year’s Fastcase 50:


The Fastcase 50 is in its fourth year, and highlights “entrepreneurs, innovators, and trailblazers” in the law. And bloggers, apparently. One of the best things about the Fastcase 50 is the Twitter list of honorees, to which you should subscribe. Aside from me, the past and present Fastcase 50 are some of the most interesting people on Twitter. [Fastcase]

Featured image: “little nestling chicks and white egg on grey background” from Shutterstock.


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  • statis

    Pretty darned cool for you to make it to the Fastcase50 with such luminaries as Neil Squillante. Now if only any lawyer of substance gave a damn, or even knew this list existed, it would really be awesome.

    • You’re just jealous of my illustriousness.

      • statis

        I’m jealous of everything about you. Your illustriousness is just the beginning. Even your fabulous head of hair. Everything.

  • Jay Brinker

    Ditto statis’ comment. Congrats.

  • static

    Sam, can you get me Neil Squillante’s autograph when you go to the meetings? He’s like a guru of legal tech, and I hear he’s just the coolest guy ever. Have him make it out to “Static, my biggest fan.” Thanks, Sam.

    • If he doesn’t punch me in the nose, you got it.

      • statis

        Maybe you can, you know, give him a couple bucks for the autograph. I mean, I know you’re awesome and all, but it’s kinda understandable why he would punch you. Or maybe just turn away in disgust. But for a couple of bucks, I bet he would do anything you wanted. Anything.