Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blawg Review 325.5

This week I, along with many other blawgers (slang for "law bloggers") were saddened to hear of the passing of "Ed," the editor of Blawg Review. My condolences to his family.

As usual in the blogosphere, when something important happens, bloggers get together and write. As soon as the news spread of Ed's passing, word went out to write a last Blawg Review, #325, in parts assigned to various blawgers. I got part 5.

This is quite an honor, writing part of the last Blawg Review alongside some of the great legal bloggers. Some of them I consider close friends - friends because of our writings that turned in to emails, that turned into meals, that turned in to conversations about the most personal aspects of our practices, and our lives. 

While many lawyers today see blogging as nothing more than a marketing tool, there was a time, not long ago, where lawyers blogged for the simple purpose of putting thoughts to screen. As with any internet site, lawyers quickly ran to blogging as a platform to make money instead of quality writing.

It was in this light that we all met "Ed." To this day I don't know if his name was Ed. I always thought he used that as short for "Editor" Blawg Review was the almost weekly round-up of legal blog posts, hosted by "blawgers.," No one who ran a marketing blog was ever a part of Blawg Review, nor probably ever read any of them.

Ed paid attention to blawgers. He used to chide me for my constant criticism of social media as a marketing tool. But he also noted my interest in wine, often sending me private messages with links to articles about the wine industry, or just a cartoon involving wine or social media. Ed and I didn't speak often, but the communications were always interesting and valuable. 

I hosted one Blawg Review - #298. It was on Valentine's Day, 2011. Ed specifically asked me to do it on Valentine's Day with the following tongue-in-cheek message:

Hey, sweetheart, would you like to host Blawg Review on Valentine's Day? We think you'd do a great presentation of link love to law bloggers 

I enjoyed putting it together, but one secret I can now tell you about Blawg Review is that anyone who was asked to write one, sensed a tremendous fear of embarrassment. Blawgers looked forward to the Monday Blawg Review, and no one wanted to write a substandard one. I remember a couple weeks where Blawg Review was late in posting, or the host didn't write it, and the other blawgers would start screaming - "where is Blawg Review?" "Who's hosting this week?"

Blawg Review is no longer, but truth be told, it died well before Ed. I am one of those bloggers that found other things to do, other places to write, got a little busy and left my blog to rot. Ed saw the blogosphere change, diminish, and stopped asking people to host Blawg Review. So again, I'm honored to come back here for the purpose of honoring Ed.

Now let's do some Blawg Review:

When I first saw some scuttlebutt on Popehat about a police chief in South Carolina named Ruben Santiago, I thought the controversy was that there was a police chief in South Carolina named Ruben Santiago. Nope, seems Interim Police Chief Santiago is spending his interim time patrolling the News Feed of Facebook to warn those that don't think Marijuana is a big problem that he "will find you."

I don't "Like" that.

Either does Scott Greenfield:

Dear Interim Chief Santiago,

Like Brandon Whitmer, I don’t think well of you. In fact, I think the war on drugs sucks, and since you’re proud of your warrior role in it, I think you suck. Rather than pick on Whitmer, try me.
Just so you know, I hang around with people accused of crimes all the time. I eat with them. I drink with them. I sometimes go to their homes and meet their families. And get this, Santiago. I like them. But I don’t like you.


And I think you’re ugly. Butt-ugly. And that’s why girls never liked you.
Who am I? I’m a guy with a bulge in my waistband where my clip-on holster is positioned. I’m a guy who wouldn’t hesitate to walk down the street in the middle of the night in a bad neighborhood because the people hanging out are my friends. These are guys with lot of drugs, bad, evil drugs, who have my telephone number in their pockets. Some of them sell drugs. The same ones call me. What does that tell you, Santiago?

There's more where that came from...

Volokh has the greatest story of the week, maybe the year, and possibly the decade. Small-town Tennessee criminal defense lawyer, aptly named Drew Justice, opposed the Government's State's Motion Not To Be Called The Government Because It's Derogatory, Mean, Bullying, And Causes A Sad:

     The government has moved to ban the word “government.” The State of Tennessee offers precisely zero legal authority for its rather nitpicky position, and the defense can find none. The Plaintiff has failed to carry its burden on this motion. Moreover, the Plaintiff’s proposed ban on speech would violate the First Amendment. The motion should be denied.

     Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions for amending the speech code. First, the Defendant no longer wants to be called “the Defendant.” This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. D.P. The word “defendant” should be banned. At trial, Mr. P. hereby demands to be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title “Mister.”

Alternatively, he may be called simply “the Citizen Accused.” This latter title sounds more respectable than the criminal “Defendant.” The designation “That innocent man” would also be acceptable.
Moreover, defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a “lawyer,” or a “defense
attorney.” Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the “Defender of the Innocent.” This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent.
Oh just read the whole thing, it has all kinds of awesome.

What does the lawyer who filed the motion have to say?

Rettig couldn’t be reached to comment on her motion or Justice’s response because she was in court Thursday. 

I wonder what arguments she was advancing Thursday? Maybe that Judges shouldn't wear a black robe because it's demeaning to small dogs?

The District Attorney, throroughly embarrassed that she employed an assistant so capable of wasting the court's time, attempted to deflect any attention towards her office as the laughing stock of the entire legal community of the planet, and because she had to say something, did:

Her boss, Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper, said her prosecutor was just trying to make sure the focus stayed on the facts of the case.

Uh, Ms. Helper (heh), I don't think that motion did what it was intended to do.

“We’re a little disappointed at the response that talked about ‘Captain Justice, Defender of the Realm,’ ” Helper said. “From my perspective, it seemed a little bit — I don’t know what the right word would be. The response did not appear to be in good faith.”

I think Ms. Helper isn't helping the situation, as it wasn't the response that did not appear to be in good faith.

Speaking of the demise of the blogosphere into a sewer of lawyer marketing, Joshua Slayen at Law Insider, tells of his journey since his graduation of law school in '09. He soon left BigLaw to try a start up that failed, and then....wait for it, decided well, he would just be a lawyer (and have a social media consulting business on the side of course). So for all you lawyers out there looking for social media consulting, some of Josh's consulting will help you:

Maintain a constant and vibrant twitter presence

Joining and participating in Facebook and LinkedIn groups

Creating iniovative and intelligent postings (I think it's "innovative," but maybe spelling is an extra fee.)

Displaying creative pictures that have the ability to go viral

Creating up and engaging in meaningful conversations.

So if you're looking to pay for some of this advice, call Josh, operators are standing by.

I see that Lawyerist is still around taking money to show pictures of Alexis Neely, and Sam Glover is still talking crazy about the possibility of having a law practice where lawyers do silly things like network by talking to people. Sam has developed a scientific formula for this idea that is as follows:

So what kind of things should you get out and do with people? Anything. Eat breakfast. Drink beer. Go to a game. Volunteer (not necessarily doing lawyer things). Play kickball. Have a barbecue. Go to a fundraiser. In other words, do normal things.

Kickball. Never thought of that. Who's up for a game?

Speaking of Kickball, Keith Lee over at AssociatesMind has a book coming out this week. I'm not supposed to say anything about it yet, so I won't. I'll probably just go read it again if I have the time.

Speaking of time, gotta go. Time to see what Ken at Popehat has for us at 325.6...

Rest in Peace Ed.