« February 19, 2006 - February 25, 2006 | Main | March 5, 2006 - March 11, 2006 »

Taxonomy: Legal Specialties

I have begun collecting blogs according to legal specialty. I list a sampling below of specialties that have at least four blogs. Even within a given specialty, the blogs are remarkably dissimilar. Some are from solo practitioners, while some are from law firms or even national associations. Some give updates on legal news, some give political observations, and others give practical advice. A difficulty in carrying out this project is that each blog usually contains something worth reading. To collect examples takes time, unless one refuses to read all the interesting posts. Furthermore, almost every blog has a "blogroll," listing even more blogs that deserve attention. To keep on top of all this variety is daunting.

Classifying according to legal specialty is an easy and obvious method, but still requires consideration about how to make it most effective. Some categories overlap, and some specialty blogs go beyond their stated reach. The samples below illustrate the diversity existing even within specialty blogs. To compile this list, I used Blawg.org, Blawg Republic, Google, and the blogrolls of visited blogs.

One initial observation: The specialty with the most legal blogs by far is Intellectual Property Law.

Admiralty Law

Admiralty, Boating, and Maritime Law Podcasts

Boating Safety Law and News


Proctor in Admiralty

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Florida Mediator

National Arbitration Forum Blog

Online Guide to Mediation 

Ross’s Arbitration Blog

Antitrust Law

Antitrust Law Blog

The Antitrust Monitor


Antitrust Review

Bankruptcy Law


Bankruptcy America

The Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Blog

The Bankruptcy Litigation Blog

Business/Corporate Law 

Business Law Prof Blog

Corporate Governance Leadership Blog

Deal Attorney


Construction Law

Build on This


Construction Law Blog

Construction Owners and Builders Law Blog

Contracts Law 

Contracts Blog


Surfwax: News, Reviews, and Articles on Oral Contract

The Fine Print: Musings of a Contracts Lawyer

Criminal Law

Crime and Federalism


Indignant Indigent

Sentencing Law and Policy

Disability Law 


Disability Law Blog

Social Security Disability Blog

The Disabled Worker Law Blog

Education Law 

Board Buzz

Special Education Law Blog

The FAPE Page


Elder Law 

Aging and Law in West Virginia

Elder Law Prof Blog

Texas Elder Law Blawg [defunct]

You and Yours Blawg

Election Law 

Election Law

Election Updates

Equal Vote Blog


Energy Law

Energy Legal Blog

LNG Law Blog

LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

Renewable Energy Law Blog

Environmental Law

Environmental Law Diary

Environmental Law Prof Blog

Environmental Legal Blogs


Family Law

Arizona Family Law Blog

California Divorce Blawg

Knight on Family Law

South Carolina Family Law Blog

Health Law

Garlo Ward, P.C.

Health Care Law Blog

HealthLawProf Blog

NY Medical Malpractice

Immigration Law

BTA: Border Blog

ImmigrationProf Blog


Visalaw Blog

Insurance Law

Declarations and Exclusions

Insurance Defense Blog

Insurance Scrawl

Specialty Insurance Blog

Intellectual Property Law

Anything Under the Sun Made by Man


IP Blawg

Patent Pending

International Law

blog do dip

Embassy Law Blog

International Extradition Blog

Opinio Juris

Internet Law

Cyberlaw Central

Gahtan’s Technology and Internet Law Blog


Lessig Blog

Labor Law

George’s Employment Blawg

HR Lawyer’s Blog

Ross’s Employment Law Blog

Workplace Prof Blog

Legal Ethics

Ben Cowgill on Legal Ethics


Legal Ethics Forum

MJP News 

Media Law

Media Law

Media Law_Prof_Blog

Silicon Valley Media Law Blog

Wahab & Medenica LLC Biz-Media-Law Blog

Personal Injury Law

Atlanta Injury Law Blog

The Illinois Personal Injury Weblog

Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Property/Real Estate Law

Commercial Real Estate Loans and Structured Finance

New Jersey Eminent Domain Law Blog

Seattle Landlord-Tenant Attorney

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Securities Law

Securities Litigation Watch

The 10b-5 Daily

TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog

The PSLRA Nugget

Tax Law

Death and Taxes – The Blog


Tax & Business Law Commentary 

TaxProf Blog 

March 3, 2006 in A Taxonomy of Legal Blogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Research Project: A Taxonomy of Legal Blogs

As consistent readers know, I am using 3L Epiphany to conduct an Independent Study project. I am the first law student in the country (of which I am aware) to receive school credit for blogging. Over the past few weeks I have posted a lot of material, but readers might legitimately question whether I have done anything worthy of credit. My first month (February 2006) has been somewhat exploratory, learning how to blog and describing the process. I’ve also suggested ideas, attempted experiments, collected posts from other blogs, reviewed articles about blogging, etc. I expect that in the next two months, as time allows, I will continue to post similar material for my own sake and for the benefit of interested readers.

But what exactly am I getting credit for? What is the key focus of 3L Epiphany, that will allow readers (including law faculty and administration) to consider this a good idea? What is the actual research project that I will use this blog to conduct?

The answer is this: I am going to create a taxonomy of legal blogs.

I will use 3L Epiphany to propose various methods for classifying legal blogs. My goal is to create a comprehensive infrastructure for the legal blogosphere. I will accomplish this by recommending possible categories that can distinguish among legal blogs, and describing examples of how the classification would be applied. I will design my taxonomy to be both useful and user-friendly. My sincere hope is that legal bloggers will embrace this project, and that it will stimulate a long-overdue discussion in this area.

As an example, I previously posted a a suggestion that blogs be categorized according to the number of contributors. One way of naming these categories is to use the Greek and Latin prefixes. A few of these names may be appealing, i.e. “pentablog,” but many are convoluted and perhaps even absurd, i.e. “triskaidecablog.” I will confess that those suggestions were meant slightly tongue-in-cheek. I don’t expect that people will rush to identify Balkinization or Blackprof as a “decablog.” But the exercise of dividing blogs up into categories is very useful, and these categories obviously need names. Scientific-sounding prefixes may not be the best way to do it, but neither is dividing blogs up into “solo” or “group” as if that were the only necessary distinction.

There is an ongoing argument within academia about whether blogging is a form of scholarship. Here is my own opinion, for what it’s worth: The debate is somewhat nonsensical. Blogging is a new medium, a new form of communication. A blog can contain scholarship, or it can contain something else. It is the content of a blog post that should determine its definition.

Here, for example, are just a few possible categories of legal blog posts: 1) case summaries; 2) legislative developments; 3) predictions about where the law is headed; 4) political opinions; 5) journal entries (‘a day in the life’); 6) responses to criticism; 7) legal news reporting; and 8) suggestions for change in the law. This is not even close to an exhaustive list. Yet each one of these categories can be further divided into sub-categories. A case summary can be brief or long, simple or detailed, objective or subjective, exclusive or inclusive (of other cases), etc. Just as there are different categories of articles within a law journal, there are different categories of posts within a blog. But the latter have not yet been named. There has been little discussion about all the different forms that a blog post can take. Even within one blog (such as Volokh) there is tremendous variety of content.

To ask whether blogging is scholarship does not really do justice to the online world. Some blog posts are scholarship, and some posts are not; some blogs are scholarly, and some blogs are not. But this is on a surface level. Such a discussion does not go nearly far enough in exploring the variety and potential within the new medium.

This, then, is the focus of 3L Epiphany: a taxonomy of legal blogs. I will use my own blog to conduct my research, request feedback from readers, display my ideas and conclusions, and post the final product. I won’t publish my taxonomy as a law review article, nor will I turn it in as a seminar paper. I will display my taxonomy of legal blogs right here, on 3L Epiphany, and readers around the world can access it at any time. I will receive 2 credits for my work, posted on this blog and nowhere else. This will hopefully establish a solid precedent for other law students to carry out blog-for-credit projects in the future. I expect that the continuous feedback I receive from interested readers will compensate for any lack of official peer-review. And when the semester is over, I believe that my taxonomy of legal blogs (and the process I used to create it) will be recognized even by skeptics as a legitimate form of scholarship.

March 2, 2006 in A Taxonomy of Legal Blogs, Credit for Blogging? | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Numerical Classifications for Legal Blogs

Blogs are typically divided up into only two numerical categories: "solo blog" and "group blog." But there is a tremendous difference between a blog with four contributors and a blog with sixteen. A taxonomy of legal blogs must take into account the number of bloggers who contribute.

Any taxonomy must incorporate acceptable classifications. Legal blogs can be named and categorized with the Greek or Latin prefixes used in scientific descriptions. I am suggesting numerical category names below (with an example of each). As the number of bloggers increases, the classification names become more complicated. Most of these names will never be used colloquially, but they draw attention to the myriad diversity of legal blogs. The simple term "group blog" is inadequate to describe this numerical range.

The first three categories use a Latin prefix: uniblog, duoblog, and trioblog. The subsequent categories use a Greek prefix: quadrablog, pentablog, hexablog, heptablog, etc.

Even though this seems like a simple and straightforward method of classification, there are still complications. For example, I did not use The Volokh Conspiracy as an example although it is the epitome of a group blog. The current list of contributors at Volokh includes guest-blogger Greg Sisk, puzzleblogger Kevin Choset, and “Juan Non-Volokh” who is taking a leave of absence from the blog. Thus the question arises whether non-legal bloggers, guest bloggers, and “on-leave” bloggers should be counted for classification purposes in a taxonomy.


Here are the categories, with the number of bloggers in parentheses:

Uniblog or Solo Blog (1): Alaskablawg

Duoblog (2): Health Law Prof Blog

Trioblog (3): Products Liability Prof Blog

Quadrablog (4): Concurring Opinions

Pentablog (5): Between Lawyers

Hexablog (6): Opinio Juris

Heptablog (7): SCOTUSblog

Octablog (8): PrawfsBlawg

Enneablog (9): [still to find example]

Decablog (10): Balkinization

Hendecablog (11): Crescat Sententia

Dodecablog (12): [still to find example]

Triskaidecablog (13): Sixth Circuit Blog

Tetrakaidecablog (14): [still to find example]

Pentakaidecablog (15): University of Chicago Law Faculty Blog

Hexakaidecablog (16): Crooked Timber


I invite readers to inform me of blogs which fit the categories of enneablog, dodecablog, and tetrakaidecablog. I am also seeking examples of blogs larger than a hexakaidecablog. If you know of one, please leave a comment to this post.

March 1, 2006 in A Taxonomy of Legal Blogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What about Academic Blogging in Business Schools?

Blogger David Tufte (whom I envy for living near Zion National Park, one of my favorites) writes about whether blogging constitutes scholarship from a business school perspective. Also, Mr. Tufte informed me of a Crooked Timber post that I missed here, which will join the other four on this list if/when I revise the collection.

At 3L Epiphany I have obviously focused on academic blogging within legal academia, but I am very curious about similar conversations taking place within graduate, business and medical schools. (For example, I referred here to one graduate student’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled Do Not Fear the Blog.) The debate within the legal academy over whether high-quality blogging is a legitimate form of scholarship would surely be enriched by similar conversations taking place among other professional disciplines.

March 1, 2006 in Academic Blogging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Article: Blogging Law Profs Assault Ivory Tower

This article from The National Law Journal, Blogging Law Profs Assault Ivory Tower, discusses blogging by law professors and the controversy over whether it constitutes scholarship.

Prof. Caron of TaxProf Blog (who is quoted in the article) has collected numerous responses from law professor bloggers here.

As a reminder, my previous collection of blog posts and articles on the topic of Academic Blogging is here.

February 28, 2006 in Academic Blogging, Blog Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Glenn Reynolds Interview on C-Span

I caught a portion of a C-Span interview with Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. He himself provides a transcript here.

It was a good interview, although I wish Brian Lamb had pursued some deeper lines of questioning. I like Mr. Lamb’s low-key personal style, but sometimes his relaxed approach causes him to change subjects rather than draw out more substantial answers. (I don’t like the style of Charlie Rose as much, for example, but his interviews tend to be more penetrating.)

Many of the questions Mr. Lamb asked about Instapundit and blogging in general were on a somewhat introductory level. Still, Mr. Reynolds’s answers contained a lot of interesting information. And the most intriguing part of the interview had nothing to do with blogging.

Here’s what I found interesting (including from the transcript which I’ve since read):

There’s much more here, but that’s enough to give readers a taste. As the man himself would say, read the whole thing.

Also, I found the case involving Charles Reynolds, Glenn’s father, on Lexis. This was the case involving a Billy Graham revival which included a guest appearance by Richard Nixon. Charles Reynolds was fined $20 for protesting there. The case is Reynolds v. Tennessee, 414 U.S. 1163 (1974). The opinion was a simple denial of cert, over a brief but impassioned dissent by Justice Douglas. The case makes for interesting reading just on the facts alone.

Here is the conclusion of J. Douglas’s dissent:

“By grounding petitioner's conviction on his participation in the planning of the protest the state appellate courts place criminal liability on freedom of expression in its most pristine form. Petitioner's role was not contested. He attended the meetings and voiced his approval of some form of protest against the President's appearance, but it appears that at virtually every opportunity he urged the group to keep its protest peaceful and silent. He cannot be held liable because some members of the group chose to express their views in an illegal manner, particularly when, as here, there is no evidence that the group ever agreed to conduct its protest unlawfully or that petitioner ever acquiesced in such a decision. Nor was petitioner charged with conspiracy. I would grant the petition for certiorari.”  Reynolds, 414 U.S. at 1171 (1974).

February 27, 2006 in Interviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Law reviews: “So…what’s it all for?”

UVA Law Professor Rosa Brooks said this on her blog:

In 1936, Fred Rodell famously declared that he would no longer publish in law reviews. In Goodbye to Law Reviews, (23 Va. L. Rev. 38 (1936)), Rodell issued his manifesto: "There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.... In the main, the strait-jacket of law review style has killed what might have been a lively literature. It has maimed even those few pieces of legal writing that actually have something to say."

As a junior professor, I dutifully churned out law review articles to fill my tenure file. Some of those articles, I think, may even have contained a few good ideas and a few good lines, but all of them suffered, to one degree or another, from the constraints of the genre. Worse yet, I'm fairly sure that practically no one outside my tenure committee and my mother has actually read the damn things (and I have my doubts about my mom). Not that this makes me unusual: the vast majority of law review articles are read by few people, and cited by even fewer. So... what's it all for?

That blog post of Prof. Brooks provoked an online debate, and was then picked up by the Wall Street Journal here. (I excerpted the article here.)

She said, “[T]he vast majority of law review articles are read by few people, and cited by even fewer.” A case in point is this practitioner I mentioned earlier here, whom I’ll quote again:

Blogs are better for me than L.Rev.s will ever be, in these ways:

·         I need speed. Often, we have a pending appeal that raises the same issues as a USSC case, so we need to do a supplemental brief, or adjust a brief-in-progress, and blogs that give us ideas are great…

·         I need easy-to-digest bites. Sorry, but we don't all have time to read your academic masterpieces.

·         I need a focus on what the law is or conceivably might be in my near future. I like insights into where the Supreme Court's jurisprudence is actually headed, not a Grand Unified Theory of what-might-be if 6 Justices retire and are replaced by Critical Legal Theorists or something.

·         I like being able to jump in discussions, and having other practitioners jump in as well….

So a professor doesn’t like writing law review articles, and a practitioner doesn’t like reading them. Furthermore, the professor writes about it on her blog, and gets cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The day after I first posted the practitioner’s comments above, I heard from him. Mr. Stephen Carney, who works in the Attorney General’s Office here in Columbus, somehow found out that I had quoted him on my blog, and wrote me a friendly and encouraging email (not during work-time!).

Now, I am not comparing my quoting of Mr. Carney to the Wall Street Journal’s quoting of Prof. Brooks. Despite my delusions of grandeur, I am very clear that 3L Epiphany is a minimalist enterprise. But my interaction with Mr. Carney is another example of the immediacy of blogs as compared to law reviews.

A professor writes on her blog, and very quickly a discussion ensues, which is picked up by the mainstream press. And I quote a practitioner’s comments on my little 3L blog, and hear from him (without seeking his response) the very next day.

These two examples together indicate the benefits of blogging. Blogs can provoke an online discussion and quickly get picked up by reputable sources like the WSJ. And blogs can stimulate instant communication in a way that traditional media simply cannot replicate.

To make one further point, seemingly unrelated but actually very relevant, it’s been awhile since I’ve listed locations of visitors to 3L Epiphany. I’m doing this for a reason, so bear with me. Here are some recent places where readers come from (some I may have mentioned before): Norway, Finland, Morocco, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, India, Pakistan, Singapore, China, and Korea. Plus the Bahamas. I have also been visited by every state of the Union except Hawaii and South Dakota.

Why do I point this out? Because blogs can penetrate where law review articles and traditional scholarly forms cannot. Prof. Brooks said that “the vast majority of law review articles are read by few people.” But that is not true of blogs, including her own. And it is not even true of 3L Epiphany, regardless of its limitations.

My blog does not have a very high traffic rate, especially recently. But in the last two weeks I have been read by more people and in more places than will ever read my student note (except for the footnote located here).

All of this obviously does not mean that blogs are superior to law reviews in every respect. But there is no question that blogs provide impact, relevance and immediacy which law reviews lack by nature. And what’s true for some law professors and legal practitioners will become increasingly true for some law students as well.

February 27, 2006 in Blogs and Law Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apologies for Light Posting

I realize that posting has been light lately. The illness I described here is not over yet, and I've had a reaction to some of the medication. (I didn't want this to be a personal blog, but there you go.) In the midst of regular law school responsibilities, I am about to begin my MPRE 4-hour prep course. Right at this very minute, in fact; they just walked in with the books. Meanwhile I also have several editing assignments for journal to complete over the next 2 days.

Of course, this is nothing unusual (except the illness). Any law student can relate to the constant influx of work and responsibilities. But I did want to explain that my posting was not intended to be so light or sporadic, and I expect that this coming week, probably March 1st, I'll be able to have a fresh start with more consistent and substantial material.

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned.

February 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dialogue: Blogs and Debate Boards in the Classroom

I am posting a dialogue from the comments to this post. 

Porten: … Although it's not really "blogging about blogging," student operated internet debate boards would serve a similar function. I wonder if there are any?

3L Epiphany: … Internet debate boards and forums can be useful, and I've wondered whether they can serve as a model for a new form of discourse.

   On one hand, this is already going on in a spontaneous way. Students don't need to be encouraged to get involved in these debates, because they already do.

   But I'm suggesting (as in the text of my response to you) that blogs may provide a new model for legal education, by forcing students to respond to criticism. An Internet forum or debate board may be a better place for it. But I am speaking of something "official," for better or worse.

   Students can engage in informal debates themselves, on their own, for their own purposes. But perhaps being put on the spot constantly on your own blog, or in an Internet forum, is a better way of sharpening your argumentative and persuasive skills than getting called on in a class twice a semester. (TWEN is already an example similar to what we are talking about here.)

   Suppose a law professor said that you needed to begin a blog for his class, on his particular topic. Let's say it's Contracts. And every night before his class, or every so often, you are required to post a case brief, and your own analysis of the case, on your blog. Then you are also required to visit other students' blogs, evaluate their work, and post your comments. Other students will do that to yours. Then you are expected to respond to the comments on your blog. If other students have criticized your analysis, you must either acknowledge the points are valid, or vindicate your earlier analysis.

   Of course this could be quite time-consuming. But it provides a different model than the Socratic method within a classroom. Or perhaps this is a version of the Socratic method as applied to student blogs (depending on how the professor oversees it).

   These are just ideas, but I honestly think that students would not mind creating their own blog, and leaving comments on other students' blogs, and then returning to their own blog and responding to criticism. I also think that some professors would enjoy this approach.

Porten: It would seem to solve at least the volume problem your response includes... if there were a class discussion board rather than class blogs for every student, students could argue about cases, which provides the extra Socratic dialogue you seek, with the added bonus that professors can quickly survey the class's discussion, ascertain where major areas of confusion lie and offer assistance all without using lecture time (although, obviously the prof could confront major concerns in lecture).

3L Epiphany: I think that would be a wonderful way of doing it, blending a lecture format with out-of-class blogging, and using the two to compliment each other.

February 26, 2006 in Dialogues | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack