Hope this doesn’t mean it’s time for me to hang up my cleats, but I am proud to say that this blog has been selected as one of the inaugural 10 members of the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 Hall of Fame. According to the very nice note I received from Allen Pusey, the ABA Journal’s editor and publisher:

You’re in our hall of fame because we can’t imagine a Blawg 100 without Lawsites in it – this year or in the future. Please accept our gratitude for being a valuable source of news and commentary for ABAJournal.com and setting a high standard for other law bloggers to aspire to.

This blog is also included in the 6th annual ABA Journal Blawg 100. This is the fifth time out of the Blawg 100’s six years that this blog has been included.

I would like to extend a sincere congratulations to my compatriots in hall-of-famedom:

Congratulations also to all the Blawg 100 honorees.



Forgive a guy a little blowing of my own horn here, but I am thrilled and honored to report that the ABA Journal has again included this blog in its annual Blawg 100, its selection of the 100 best law blogs by lawyers, for lawyers. This is the fourth time LawSites has been included — out of just five years the Journal has compiled the Blawg 100.

Now comes the part where readers vote for their favorites on the list. If you want to cast a vote my way, I won’t try to stop you. You’ll find this blog in the “legal technology” category.

Also a Blawg 100 winner is Small Firm Innovation, a blog I contribute to (although not often enough) along with a stellar roster of other contributors. Considering the blog was launched just this year, it is a great honor. You’ll find Small Firm Innovation in the LPM category.

LawSites was previous named to the Blawg 100 in 2010, 2009 and 2007. Besides LawSites, past Blawg 100 winners I’ve been involved in were:

  • Our Lawyer2Lawyer podcast was named to the Blawg 100 in 2008 and 2009 and was also a Readers’ Choice winner in 2009.
  • Law.com’s Legal Blog Watch won Blawg 100 honors in 2008 and 2009, at which time I was the co-author of it, first with Carolyn Elefant and later with Bruce Carton.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. And thanks to the ABA Journal for again recognizing this blog.

The editors of the ABA Journal are gearing up to select their annual list of the 100 best legal blogs, the Blawg 100. And they are seeking suggestions of blogs they should include. “Tell us about a blawg—not your own—that you read regularly and think other lawyers should know about,” they ask.

To nominate a law blog you think should be included, go to the Blawg 100 Amici page and submit it to the editors.

I am proud to announce that this blog has been named to the 2010 ABA Journal Blawg 100, a listing of the top 100 best law blogs by lawyers, for lawyers, as selected by the editors of the ABA Journal.

This is the fourth time the ABA Journal has selected the Blawg 100 and the third time LawSites has made the list. (LawSites was also selected in 2009 and in 2007.)

Now readers are invited to vote on their favorites in each of the 4th Annual Blawg 100’s 12 categories. To vote, go to http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100. Voting ends at close of business on Dec. 30, 2010.

With all the lawyer-ranking sites already out there, I wasn’t surprised to see yet another one make its debut. But as I looked under the skin of this latest entrant, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Launched March 1, the new site is called BestAttorneysOnline.com. A press release described it as “an independent authority on the best attorneys at law,” and went to say:

The independent authority evaluates each attorney at law based several identified factors depending on the field of expertise. An assigned experienced research team reviews case history and firm expertise on the targeted field of practice taking into account specialized state variances on the legal issues. The team analyzes information provided by each firm, and compares that against the market of lawyers throughout the state. Once the evaluation is complete, the team compiles the overall data, and assigns each firm a ranking.

So far so good. I decided to check my state, Massachusetts, and see who the site selected as the best attorneys here. I started with intellectual property, and came to a page titled, Top 10 Intellectual Property Lawyers in Massachusetts.”

Imagine my surprise to see there, listed as the third best IP lawyer in all of Massachusetts, Susan Lillis. Now, I know Susan. As a matter of fact, she is a friend and neighbor. She is a very good lawyer. She is undoubtedly one of the very best in the state at what she does. But what she does is not IP. It is not now and never has been. As her Web site says, she practices family law and she has concentrated in family law since 1985.

Who else made the list of the top-10 IP lawyers in Mass.? Well, coming in at number six is Peter C. Hardy. According to his Web site, he practices real estate, probate law, wills, trusts, estates, estate planning, corporations, conveyancing, elder law, Medicaid planning and administration. Peter does a variety of things, it appears, but not IP.

Coming in at number nine is Richard A. Toelke, a partner with Bingham McCutchen. Oddly, even though he is, in fact, in Boston, the site lists him as located in Hartford, which, last time I checked, was not in Massachusetts. More to the point, Toelke does not practice IP law. Rather, he is co-chair of Bingham’s real estate practice.

Ah, but we’ve saved the best of BestAttorneysOnline for last. Remember, this is a site that says it independently investigates and evaluates each ranked attorney using an experienced research team. So who did these diligent researchers rank as the 10th best IP attorney in Massachusetts? They gave that honor to Joseph H. Flom, name partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. No doubt, Flom merits inclusion on any number of top-lawyer lists. But not this one. Neither is he in Massachusetts nor does he practice IP law. Based in New York City, he is, as his bio says, “widely recognized as one of the leading attorneys practicing in the merger and acquisition area.”

So there you have it. At least four of this site’s picks for the top 10 IP lawyers in Mass. do not practice IP law or even dabble in it. One of the top 10 is not even in Mass.

Need I say more about this site? How about, buyer (and lawyer) beware!

Last November, I published my review of Bloomberg Law, the recently launched legal research service from business news giant Bloomberg. One aspect of the service I did not mention in my review is the odd piece of hardware required to log-in. Whereas other legal research services rely on usernames and passwords, Bloomberg Law requires you to log-in using something it calls the B-Unit, a credit-card sized, biometric fingerprint reader that ensures that you and only you log-in to your Bloomberg Law account.

You can use it to log-in from anywhere you have Web access. After you enter your usual username and password, a screen prompts you for the B-Unit. Turn it on and its asks you to “present finger.” Assuming it recognizes you, an small LCD display says, “ID valid.” You then hold the B-Unit in front of your computer screen. After a few moments, a four-digit verification code appears in its LCD screen. Enter that in the space provided on the log-in screen, and you are good to go.

Below are some pictures. And, by the way, I’m pretty sure “doohickey” is the correct technical term.

From Blog Pictures

From Blog Pictures

From Blog Pictures

The Judiciary/Media Committee of the Supreme Judicial Court is considering revisions to the Guidelines on the Public’s Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records. In order to evaluate whether the guidelines should be amended or expanded and what other initiatives the committee might wish to pursue, the committee is asking members of the news media to complete a survey on media access to the courts.

As a member of the Judiciary/Media Committee and in my capacity as executive director of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, I am helping to disseminate the survey and compile its results. If you are a journalist who covers the Massachusetts courts, please take a moment to complete the survey and return it to me.

You can download the survey here, in Microsoft Word format: Survey of Media Access to Courts.

In a move that underscores the increasing importance of lawyer ratings and reviews in helping consumers select a lawyer, Thomson Reuters announced today that it has acquired the Super Lawyers, the suite of attorney-rating publications and Web site created by Key Professional Media, based in Minneapolis, Minn.

Super Lawyers creates and distributes an annual listing of outstanding U.S. lawyers by state and practice area, reaching 11 million consumers via inserts in leading city and regional magazines, as well as online. Super Lawyers will be part of the Thomson Reuters, Legal, Business of Law group, which offers lawyer marketing and client development tools, and includes the FindLaw and Hubbard One businesses. The Super Lawyers business will be led by Vice President and General Manager Barb McGivern.

I met briefly today with Christopher Kibarian, president of the Business of Law group, who said that the Super Lawyers ratings will be integration in the Findlaw lawyers directory, along with consumer reviews and other information designed to help consumers choose a lawyer. The Super Lawyers site will also continue to operate as a separate site.

“Super Lawyers is an extraordinary complement to our business,” Kibarian said in a press announcement. “Attorneys rely on word-of-mouth and recommendations to build their client base. We’re pleased to be able to provide the attorneys selected to the Super Lawyers list with additional support and services to achieve greater visibility and recognition for their accomplishments.”

Kibarian said that a key priority for Thomson will be to provide assurances of the independence and integrity of Super Lawyers ratings. Super Lawyers already employs a rigorous selection process, he said, one that has been recognized by bar associations and courts across the country for its credibility and sophistication. It combines peer nominations and evaluations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. 

On top of that, Thomson will create an independent advisory board to ensure the integrity and independence of the ratings process.

I will write more about this, but this is clearly part of a larger trend towards providing consumers of legal services with the same types of reviews and ratings that consumers expect when buying other products and services.