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Inside Legal Blogs
[By Jeff] Coming to you from deep inside a volcano 400 miles beneath the ocean floor, this week’s Inside Legal Blogs will shock and astound you…or at least irritate and perturb you. We’ve dredged through all the week’s blogworthy news, and now we’re distilling it into a pleasant and digestible format. Join us as we ponder the mysteries of the universe and analyze the goingson this week in the law blogosphere.
From the Supreme Court files come a few new fascinating tidbits. Last week, in a post about Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler, Inc., TaxProf
One law regulating how people interact through technology has already been passed. A ban on annoying behavior online has been enacted as an amendment to a criminal telecommunications statute. Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy analyzed this new statute and its implications, and he found some troubling ramifications. The law prohibits not just anonymous libel and threats, but also constitutionally protected speech intended to annoy. This could bring serious consequences for Ann Coulter. I’m not sure she could hack it in prison. It seems that the blogosphere is blowing up a storm over the controversial mega-network for law blogs, LexBlog. Battle lines are being drawn. An article from Ben Cowgill’s legal ethics blog brought the matter of prefabricated blogs into the spotlight. Prefabricated, or ghostwritten, blogs first became an issue a few years ago when LexBlog initially launched. Cowgill alleges that LexBlog is authoring blogs for attorneys and law firms too lazy to write their own. When LexBlog appeared on the scene in 2004 with claims that it would write and edit blog content for subscribers, many bloggers went nuts and decried prefabricated blogs. After drawing the ire of many, LexBlog apparently dropped the prefabricated blog idea. Ben Cowgill on Legal Ethics has, however, uncovered blogs from the LexBlog network that appear to have been ghostwritten as part of LexBlog’s services.
Blog mentioned an interesting bit of trivia about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. By his own admission, Scalia does not read footnotes. Another significant development regarding the Supreme Court involves Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The conservative blog Powerline is calling for Ginsburg’s removal over her frequent references to foreign laws in judicial decisions. This practice has freaked out conservatives and isolationists in the past, but now Paul Mirengoff of Powerline has asserted that this alone is grounds for Ginsburg’s impeachment. Someone on the Judged message boards pointed out that citing foreign law is hardly a new or alarming trend. It’s been standard practice since the 8th century for the Supreme Court. Jim Lindgreen at the Volokh Conspiracy posted an excellent summary of the High Court’s history of examining foreign law.
In lawyerly ethics news, Rick Georges of the blog Futurelawyer pointed out a news item from last week involving unscrupulous use of technology by attorneys in Detroit. A team of litigators used a laptop computer to broadcast an arbitration hearing to their paid consultants, despite a court ban on such practices. The offending attorneys have been slapped with a lawsuit, but Georges fears the real backlash will be against technology itself. He predicts one possible outcome of this incident could be the ban of laptops in the courtroom. On Law.com’s Inside Opinions Legal Blog, they wonder why the attorneys didn’t just bring the paid expert with them and forgo the secret transmission. I guess everybody wants to play spy sometimes.
Kansas Family and Divorce Lawyer Blog. LexBlog’s official stance seems to be that the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. In fact, the ghost-written material is correctly attributed to Nolo on the Kansas Family and Divorce Lawyer blog.
Cowgill is also upset over LexBlog’s practice of cross-linking on its blogs. He argues that regulatory agencies could view the links on a blog as an official means of referring clients rather than a standard shout-out to friendly bloggers. Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground sees no ethical dilemma in such blogrolls. Schaeffer responded to Cowgill’s ethical concerns about LexBlog’s cross-linking with a bit of scorn. He claims Cowgill’s view is narrow and a “metaphorical adaptation of an old word to a new technology.” In my opinion, this
LexBlog battle is something like Mom and Pop
operations trying to take on Wal-Mart. For the purposes of this analogy, LexBlog is Wal-Mart, only without the toothless yokels in the parking lot at midnight. Next week, we will dive face-first into a steaming pile of more blog news. Until then, we will continue to scour the Internet for sizzling law blog info to present to you fine LawCrossing readers. Other law blog roundups may claim to offer informative content, but accept no substitutes. If we don’t mention it in our weekly wrap-up, then it didn’t happen. Jeff is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Compare the Divorce Mediation FAQ from
Currently, he is the moderator of the message boards at Judged.com, the largest insider source of law firm information.
Nolo, a leading provider of do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers and small businesses, with the Divorce Mediation FAQ from the