The ABA Journal recently posted its 7th annual “Blawg 100,” a selection of the top 100 law-related blogs. The ABA site lists the winners by topic and alphabetically.
Along with many blogs that have been selected before, new picks include:
- Center for Law and Religion Forum (hosted by St. John’s University, this blog highlights news related to law and religion, “taking seriously varied religious traditions rather than mocking them or treating them in a lowest-common-denominator fashion”)
- JD Careers Out There (hosted by legal recruiter Marc Luber, the blog focuses on alternative career paths for lawyers, with text and video content from numerous JDs and tips and advice on law school and career topics)
- Legally Weird (this site defines its mission as locating “the strangest and most ridiculous current events with a legal angle”; from FindLaw)
- Ponzitracker (as the name suggests, this blog tracks news on Ponzi schemes; it also provides links, suggested readings and more)
You may notice that some familiar titles, maybe some of your favorites, are not on this year’s list. That could be because those blogs are among the select group–such as Above the Law and the Volokh Conspiracy–that have been added (in 2012 or 2013) to the Blawg 100 Hall of Fame.
To find other law blogs, consult the ABAJ’s Blawg Directory, the legal blog archive from the Law Library of Congress, or Justia’s BlawgSearch feature.
You’ve probably familiar with TED Talks, among other sources of informative video content via Internet. Although TED defines its mission as spreading ideas by bringing together people from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design, many TED Talks explore or implicate legal and law-related issues–from human rights to intellectual property, from money in politics to international environmental law.
Usually running 15 to 20 minutes, these talks can help to identify an unseen issue, inspire action or even suggest research leads to explore. A few popular examples:
- Lawrence Lessig, We the People, and the Republic We Must Reclaim (how too few people dominate American democracy and a proposal to change the way election campaigns are funded)
- Michael Sandel, Why We Shouldn’t Trust Markets with Our Civic Life (on America’s “market society,” in which almost everything is for sale; the sting of inequality and the case for reform)
- Shereen El-Feki, HIV – How to Fight an Epidemic of Bad Laws (about opposing restrictions on persons with HIV; the impact of laws banning entry or residence in many countries)
- Kristina Gjerde, Making Law on the High Seas (on those areas in the seas beyond any national jurisdiction and building a network of “marine protected areas” to prevent exploitation)
- Karen Tse, How to Stop Torture (the safeguards necessary to prevent torture as a routine means of securing information and confessions)
- Scott Fraser, Why Eyewitnesses Get it Wrong (a forensic psychologist explores how eyewitnesses create “memories” and testify falsely)
- Joanna Blakley, Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture (on intellectual property, knockoff products and the fashion industry)
- Micha Glenny, How Global Crime Networks Work (a former BBC journalist on the Russian mafia, drug cartels and other organized criminal enterprises in the world economy)
- Kevin Bales, How to Combat Modern Slavery (on the scope, the causes and methods of human trafficking)
The site’s topical directory and search engine facilitate discovery of other talks. Still more talks are available from TEDx events, which afford the “opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.” These include some 30,000 videos on many topics from events in over 130 countries.
Keeping balance in Law School can be a daunting, almost impossible task. One of the many advantages of being in Boston is the endless variety of cultural events and venues both indoors and outdoors waiting for you!
Check out boston.com for a regularly updated list of local happenings.
Get out and see the foliage and devour some cider doughnuts! Here’s an article highlighting some of the regions best foliage activities.
Frequent the City’s local classical music scene to zen out.
Get out on a bike before the weather turns frigid, check out Boston City’s unique biking initiative at Boston Bikes!
Go pick apples, visit the winery and take a hayride at: The Russell Orchards
Head to the banks of the Charles River for the “Head of the Charles” Regatta
And for a truly New England experience, try a nighttime Corn Maze
If you use Twitter already, you know that–besides keeping up with friends–it can be used to monitor almost any topic or follow anyone with an account. But if you have not used Twitter that much, you may wonder what value it could have in an area like law? Or why it is worth your time to use it for academic purposes?
For someone new to Twitter–after creating an account, which is very easy–a good way to start may be to locate some people, organizations and outlets that interest you, and just follow their feeds on Twitter. Twitter feeds related to BU and BU Law include: the Law School (@BU_Law), the Law Library (@BULawLib), Dean O’Rourke (@BULawDean), Jay Wexler (@SCOTUSHUMOR) and BU Today (@butoday). Continue Reading »
For fans of legal humor, the Internet provides a deep reservoir of material. Familiar sources include Lawyer jokes, New Yorker cartoons and collections of oldies, such as those at lawhumor.com.
For fresher content with a personal style, explore blogs, such as Lowering the Bar, The Namby Pamby, Anticipate This!, Law and the Multiverse and McClurg’s Legal Humor. The latter is provided by Prof. Andrew McClurg, author of The World’s Greatest Law Review Article. The ABA Journal’s blawg directory lists some others you may want to check out.
Consider Obscure Footnotes, a blog from Keith Jaasma, the man behind the Supreme Court Haiku Reporter. Where else could you find a more sweetly concise summary of the SCOTUS decision last June on regulation of the raisin industry? The best way to get Supreme Court Haiku? Follow its Twitter feed.
Which Supreme Court Justices get the most laughs during oral arguments? Prof. Jay Wexler’s SCOTUSHUMOR Twitter feed is the source for that one. Jay’s tweets are consistently funnier than the Court, and he brings the same wry humor to his books. See Holy Hullabaloos, which is available via e-book.
Justice Kennedy and Justice Scalia are very different kinds of judges. Justice Kennedy is always hemming and hawing and wringing his hands and rubbing his temples and changing his mind and struggling mightily to come up with the right answer to whatever question he’s wondering about, while Justice Scalia seems to, well, not do these things. To judge from his written decisions, public speeches and questions at oral argument, Justice Scalia appears incredibly sure of himself and his views. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine their different styles must drive each other nuts. Perhaps it’s evidence for this that some of Justice Scalia’s most vitriolic dissents, including the one in the graduation prayer case, have come in cases where Justice Kennedy has written the majority opinion for a closely divided court.
A few other sites you might enjoy: Pinterest boards by Sydne French, Karin Stewart and Leiden Law School; Law School Ryan Gosling; or check the hashtag #LegalHumor on Twitter.
(DOJ Archives Logo from http://www.justice.gov/archives)
A more serious look that our usual technology Thursdays, but an interesting one nonetheless–the U.S. Department of Justice has released a previously unseen series of opinions ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s from the archives of the Office of Legal Counsel. In many cases, the opinions do not reflect the current positions of the office, but illustrate how areas of law developed around previously hot-button issues and thus, may shed light on how similar issues will be dealt with in this day and age, such as domestic surveillance and violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 (For example, in 1941, the OLC weighed in on the Naval Intelligence Service’s desire to listen in on phone calls to use the records “in prosecutions involving espionage, sabotage, and subversive activities,” and in 1942, they opined on the criminal liability for newspaper publication of naval secrets under the Espionage Act).
The opinions also look at historical political issues, such as the legal and practical consequences of a blockade of Cuba, and the removal of Japanese citizens from Hawaii to the United States, as well as recurring constitutional issues, like the President’s power in the field of foreign relations. At 508 pages of historical legal goodness, with contributions from legal heavyweights like Antonin Scalia, William H. Rehnquist, and Robert Bork, they’re perfect for some end-of-summer beach reading. Pick up the PDF from the OLC here or read the highlights from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
* hat tip: Above the Law
Do you like to observe fictional characters practicing law in movies, television shows, novels and stage plays?
The ABA Journal has posted “the greatest” lists in all of these categories, as well as a list of “30 books every lawyer should read.” It is the nature of these lists to provoke discussion and disagreement–at the book that should, or the movie that shouldn’t, have been included. For those of us who like this sort of thing, it’s hard to resist going through the slide shows to see what titles the ABAJ’s committees have selected, to compare them to our own lists and to check out still unfamiliar gems.
Among the greatest law novels, you might expect to find here Bleak House and Billy Budd, but what about Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead? Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God?
You might have guessed that To Kill a Mockingbird was going to be on the greatest legal movies list, but where does Atticus Finch fall on the great lawyers in films and television? And would you include Jack McCoy? “Vinny” Gambini? Ally McBeal? Would your list of courtroom dramas on stage include The Merchant of Venice, Oedipus the King or A Man for All Seasons?
The ABAJ committee’s list of 30 books that every lawyer should read includes some predictable legal classics and judicial biographies. There are also titles recommended not for their law focus but for their insights about life, success or leadership–among them Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince; Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra; and Martin Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being.
One book on this list is by a former BU Law professor. Can you guess which one?
If you dream of the day when you can see case law search results in a visual result list, your dreams are coming true!
Ravel Law has released its Beta-version case law research database…. It is still a work in progress but is worth checking out and imagining the day when our research is more visual and less text-driven.
A study in 2007 found the average person encounters approximately 174 newspapers worth of data every day. With all of that information coming in, we are constantly making decisions about what is and is not worth remembering, and the information comes at such a steady pace that we cannot focus on any one item for too long. I don’t know about you, but after a while, I felt like my brain had turned to mush; I couldn’t remember anything unless I immediately wrote it down, and my attention span was not what it had once been.
I searched for a way to improve my memory; that’s when I found Lumosity. Lumosity is a site that creates cognitive games intended to improve your memory, speed, problem solving, flexibility, and attention. There is a free version that includes games in all of the categories, but if you want to be able to unlock all of the games and see which percentile you fall within for your age group, then you need to subscribe. I’ve been using Lumosity for almost a month now, and I am seeing improvement in my game performance. I think it may be improving my memory outside of the games as well, but I’m not sure if that’s just a placebo effect. Regardless, the games are fun, and I feel less guilty about playing them because they’re for self-improvement. If you want to improve your memory, or are interested in free games, give Lumosity a try.
The Makers project highlights the contributions of prominent American women by providing interviews that explore the personal as well as the professional in these American lives. One the the featured pioneers is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The interview with Justice Ginsburg is here (after a sponsor’s ad), with extended segments that highlight her experiences: as a student at Harvard Law School, being rejected by law firms, her marriage, her work for the ACLU womens’ rights project and women and the law.
Other interviews in this series feature dozens of women from many different fields. The pioneers in law include: Sandra Day O’Connor, Maddy DeLone, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Catharine MacKinnon and Sarah Weddington.