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ABA's Blawg 100 Gets the Conversation Going

"Become a part of the conversation" is Kevin O'Keefe's tagline at Lex Blog, the first company to provide turn-key blog solutions exclusively for law firms.  The ABA Journal's announcement of its picks for the 100 Best Blawgs has certainly started a conversation, something Kevin also predicted, which multiple bloggers have joined.

So, let's get right to the comments.  First, some bloggers, with good reason, complained about the omission of their blog, or their genre of blogs, from the list.  After hosting one of the most acclaimed Blawg Reviews of all time, Eric Turkewitz justly complains about the omission of not just his blog, but of many excellent personal injury blogs from the ABA's top 100 list. And even though Turkewitz is a plaintiffs' lawyer, his argument won the agreement of the authors of the Drug and Device Law blog, which also didn't make the cut.  The omission wasn't lost on Ann Reed of Deliberations; though her blog did get the nod, she tips her hat to Turkewitz and other excellent blogs that weren't included.

Turkewitz isn't paranoid:  it's not just PI blogs that were omitted, but many of the dozens of excellent "niche practice blogs" (think California Estate Planning Blog or the whole genre of family law blogs.  As Todd Smith of Texas Appellate Law Blog observes here, "the honorees tend to be news-oriented or big-picture blogs -– very few state-specific blogs made the list.  That’s not terribly surprising, considering the source."

Criminal law blogs merited their own category; however, even here, there were omissions.  For example, Capital Defense Weekly bemoaned the exclusion of Gideon.

Though lawyers are generally competitive, the voting aspect of the contest brought out the same camaraderie that's made the blogsophere a wonderful place.  For example,
Ernie the Attorney graciously directed readers to vote for Appellate Blog or Overlawyered, while Scott Greenfield of Simple Justice urges colleagues to vote for anyone but him.

Not surprisingly, Kevin O'Keefe calls the competition for what it largely is:  a beauty pageant.  (He asks "Why not have a contest as to which blogging lawyer looks best in a swim suit?"  -- now that would generate some conversation!)  But O'Keefe points out that these kinds of contests can "be damaging to the growth of law blogs" by deterring more lawyers from starting blogs, fearing that no one will read them because they're not included on a top ten list.  As O'Keefe points out, nothing could be further from the truth:  for every niche that's covered by a blog, there'll be a corresponding audience that wants to learn about it.

Though I agree with many of O'Keefe's points (and invite discussion below), I can't close this post without noting that many of the  Legal Blogwatch Affiliate Blogs are included on the ABA's list, including my home blog, MyShingle, my colleague Bob Ambrogi's Law Sites, Craig Williams' May It Please the Court, Bruce Macewen's Adam Smith, Esq., Counsel to Counsel, How Appealing, Blog of the Legal Times and Larry Bodine's Law Marketing Blog.

Do you intend to cast a vote?  And what's your opinion of the ABA's Top 100 contest?  A publicity stunt?  Meaningful recognition for law bloggers?  And who wasn't included who should have been, and what characteristics in your view make for a "top blog?"  Send your comments below.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on November 29, 2007 at 05:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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