Blog???

One of the big boys on the blawk sent me an email with a subject line the same as the title of this post. In its entirety, the email read “???”.*

OK, point well taken. I’ve been in a blogging slump, and to break out of it, I’m going to commit one of the greatest sins of the blogosphere. I’m going to write about why I haven’t posted anything recently.

Awww to hell with that, I’m gonna write up a list of reasons, and assign truth percentages to them.

My RSS reader broke, and once I stopped paying as much attention to the rest of the blogosphere, my blogging died down significantly. This actually happened. FeedDemon started screwing up sometime after they went to a Google News Reader feed system, and I really had trouble keeping up. All the feeds kept going down. I called Greenfield about it, because I thought I remembered him mentioning the same problem, and he said yeah, his broke too. Of course, he still posts three to five times between 6:40 and 7:05 a.m., so let’s give this a 0%.

I’m going through a professional mid-life crisis and I’m too depressed to write about work. No, I’m not depressed, but maybe it’s a small time blog-life crisis. Let’s concede 5%.

It’s Jamison’s fault. Seriously, I’m going to give this 25%. Check out this post where he practically dares me to quit blogging. Gave me the idea to stop completely, when you think about it.

It stopped being fun. This is related to some of the other partially true answers. No percentage assigned.

I’ve become addicted to World of Warcraft and can’t stop playing long enough to log out and blog. 0% - but see Civilization V, released yesterday. This could be my excuse for not blogging in the future. Just.  One.  More.  Turn.

I fell out of the habit. Yeah, this is prolly 70% of it. It gets easier and easier to not do something over time. I mean if it has been two or three days since I posted, better snap to it. 30 days? 60 days? What’s one more day?

Maybe I’m back. We’ll see. Here’s my first one back. First – because complaining about why you don’t blog isn’t really posting at all.

 (*Actually, if you include Mark’s email signature, it included contact info, blog and website URLs, and Skype and Twitter links.  A signature that’s 50 to 100 times the character length of the content.)

Another Criminal Law Blawg Review

Blawg Review #198 is up at Jeremy Richey’s East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog.

Next week’s will be hosted by Texas’ own Mark Bennett at Defending People. I don’t remember two criminal defense Blawg Reviews back to back.

Blawg Review: 14th Amendment Style

Scott Greenfield – never one to be known as late to the party – has posted Blawg Review #170 already on Sunday morning. Thank goodness I managed to squeak a post out last night around midnight.

Blawg Review is Up

This week’s edition is hosted by Jeffrey Mehalic at the West Virigina Business Litigation Blog.

On Starting a New Blog and Getting Noticed

I often get asked by new criminal law bloggers how best to get noticed by other bloggers so that they can get linked to. Actually there’s an easy answer: link out to others, and they will start reading your blog and link back to you.

While you’re at it, feel free to let the person you’re linking to know it in an email. They may not have noticed (although, as you get more and more into blogging, you’ll start to recognize when folks do). Here’s an email exchange from a relatively new blogger that is already posting frequent high quality content:

Jamie,

I’ve just started a new blog, Mississippi Criminal Defense Law Blog, www.mscriminallawblog.com, and wanted to reach out to you for any advice or comments you might have on blogging on the topic of criminal law.  I’ve been reviewing your posts and with permission will start making some comments on a few in the future.  I have also linked to your sites on my blogroll – I hope that is okay.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

--
Kevin W. Frye
Attorney at Law

My answer:

First and foremost, never ask permission to link to me: just do it!

Haha.  No, but seriously, thank you, and by the way, linking out to others is the best, quickest, easiest way to get them to notice you and to get them to link back to you.

And feel free to grab snippets of what folks say (yes, me included) and comment on why it is wrong as well as why it is 'right'.  It helps a little if I actually am wrong, but again, in the practical blawgosphere, that's more than welcome.

Blogging is a discussion - either in the comments section, or between blogs.

You've definitely got a good start.  I'll be linking to you in my next edition of "blogrolling" - if not before then.

Thanks for the email, and by the way, at the beginning, feel free to email folks when you link to them (you won't need to do it with me - I'm subscribing to your blog now, and I would have seen it anyway on Technorati) - but I mean don't feel bashful if you link to someone and you want them to know you did.

Finally, permission (and you should ask permission for this one) to reprint your email to me?  And my response to you?  I'll include a link about your new blog of course, but probably post it as "advice to new criminal defense bloggers".  Or I can just leave you out of it and anon-o-mize it.

Good luck.  Looking forward to more posts from you.

Jamie

Perhaps it’s not obvious, but just in case, let me add “reprinted with permission”.

Blogrolling: New Feature

Blogrolling ACDL… Thanks go out to the following blogs that have recently added permanent links, linked to me in a post of their own or commented on recent posts:

Stole the idea from Evan Schaffer’s Legal Underground. Evan makes sure to return link love on a regular basis by having a frequent ‘Blogrolling’ post.

I do check Technorati for recent bloggers who have linked to me, but please also feel free to email me if you add me to your blogroll, or link to me in a post. I’m thinking I can make a twice monthly feature out of this.

And, since this a new feature, and I’m certain I haven’t gotten around to doing it for everyone I should, please let me know if U’ve left you out in the past – or just would like to be reincluded in the future.

I know in the back of my mind I’m leaving some people out – so again… email me.

How to Rank High on Google's Natural Results

I know just enough about SEO – search engine optimization – to be dangerous.

That is to say, I find it interesting, and I’ve looked into it, but I’m not remotely an expert.

But folks come up to me in the Travis County Courthouse frequently – other lawyers that is – and ask me point blank, “How does your site rank so high on Google?” Or “How do you get to Number One on Google?” As a quick aside, the questions amuse me, because it’s always phrased that way, and never includes the necessary part to make the question sensible, that is… “for the phrase [fill-in-the-blank]”.

After all, I certainly don’t ‘rank’ number one for the queries New York Times; Paris Hilton; Mapquest; or GameCheats for Playstation.  

Back to the original question at hand, though: How do you (Jamie) rank so high for [Austin, Tx, Criminal, Defense, Lawyer, or some other similar combination]?

Now there’s a lot of collegiality amongst the defense bar, at least in Austin, but I’ve always wondered whether anyone thinks about the possibility that I might not want to reveal a ‘trade secret’. After all, these are technically speaking my competitors. (I like to think they ask me because they think I’m a no nonsense guy that says what he thinks. But enough about how wonderful I am.)

Actually, I’m always happy to give them the best answer I know. Like the secret of real estate, it boils down to three basic elements, but instead of location it’s:

  • Content
  • Content
  • Content

Content relevant to the keywords your potential customer is looking for. That’s it.

And blogging is the best way to frequently update your website with good quality content about your practice area – after all, a blog is just a specific type of website, nothing magical, nothing more.

I’ll add three more factors to the mix.

Time: For me, blogging takes time. I enjoy doing it, but it’s not always easy. Bloggers Block happens frequently. So, OK, I don’t post for a while. And then it comes in several productive spurts. Not everyone can be Scott Greenfield, with his 4.5 post per day average. Or is that 45 per day? I can’t keep up.

Knowledge: You’ve got to know what you’re talking about. If you don’t, it will show. That’s fine if Grandma is the only one reading your personal diary type blog – she already knows you’re the dimwitted one in the family and loves you anyway. But if you’re doing it even in part for commercial purposes, that’s going to be a problem.

Style: Blogging is writing, and every good writer worth reading has their own style. Mine probably leans a little too far towards the ‘smart alec’ side of the spectrum for my own good, at least for the ‘commercial purposes’ mentioned above, but it’s still my own tone of voice. I think your style comes through, makes the writing genuine and personal, and let’s the reader know how you feel about the subjects you’re blogging about. When it comes to hiring a lawyer to defend you in court, don’t you want to know something about who he really is?

That’s basically it.

Pretty basic stuff. Ask yourself why you use Google as your search engine of choice. The answer is invariably going to be a variation of ‘because it gives me the answers I’m looking for’.

Right. You went and sat at the computer and Googled the phrase [fill-in-the-blank] because you wanted to know more about [fill-in-the-blank]. You don’t want to see a one or two page static website trumpeting the virtues of Q. Benedict Huntington III, Esquire, with the promise that if you call him and/or pay him money he will tell you all about [fill-in-the-blank].

So put some content on your website (blog) that potential customers are literally yearning for, and Google will give you credit for it, and your rankings will go up.

Just don’t ask me how they do it. They will.

Related Post: How to Give Google A Ton of Money

One Million Dollars Worth of Advertising on Google

Per year. $1,000,000.00 into Google’s coffers.

That’s my guestimate as to how much local defense lawyers are spending in these parts to advertise various phrases through Google’s AdWords program.  I’m going to attempt to make this a substantive post, not just something that Google – or the other search engines – scans and reads for various keywords and phrases, so I’m not going to list what the most popular keywords are… but you can imagine that they focus on a combination of geography and the profession itself.

This guess isn’t just off the top of my head either.

I have it from pretty reliable sources within several of the various law firms that participate in Google’s “Why Don’t You All Just Outbid Each Other” marketing, or often from the horses’ mouths themselves just how much some law firms are spending per month. There are several paying Google more than $10k per month. Some are spending substantially more than that.

Sure, some folks jump into the market at first, and then disappear, when they realize the high cost of being #5 or in some cases #10. But most stick around, and keep driving up those Google profits.

And knowing how AdWords is structured, that is, the higher the ranking in the Sponsored Results, the more the bidder is paying, combined with watching various internet advertising over the last year or so, I’d say one million spent in Austin alone for lawyers advertising criminal defense services is a conservative estimate.

Amazing.

That’s a lot of advertising costs that get passed on to the clients.

Related Post: Ranking High on Google For Free

Prosecutor Blogs: How Many Are Out There?

Erstwhile defense attorney and current prosecutor/blogger Ken Lammers points to Western Justice, a relatively new prosecutor in the practical blawgosphere:

Cool, we're now up to 3 prosecutors who actually blawg about *GASP* criminal law.

I’m pretty sure Ken is including himself, Western, and of course, Tom McKenna at Seeking Justice. (Since Tom’s URL is ConfoundingTheWicked.blogspot, here’s some too old to still be under copyright Mozart for the classical music lovers out there.)

Let me throw Joel Jacobsen’s erudite Judging Crimes into that mix as well. It’s from a prosecutor’s point of view, and worth an addition to any criminal lawyer’s RSS reader.

Ken points out that both Western Justice and Defending People “share an affinity” for the same painting, Pollice Verso, so how about some prosecutorial props for Dallas Sidebar – and of course his masthead: Raphael’s Judgment of Solomon.

By the way, Mark has revamped his site recently, so the thumbs up/thumbs down painting is less recognizable- but more importantly, jury consultant Anne Reed reminds me to remind my readers that you need to resubscribe to Mark’s blog since he moved to WordPress. If “Blog or Government Propaganda Tool” is the last item in your reader, you are literally 50+ posts behind.

Back to prosecutors… Sarena Straus found a new prosecutor blogger in ‘You… For the People’ – but I fear that ‘You’ may have suffered the typical two posts and out fate that many bloggers suffer. Meanwhile, Sarena mostly tells us about her post prosecutorial upcoming TV appearances – such as this one:

We will be discussing the case of Jennifer Latham. Latham kidnapped an infant from a Florida hospital and was apprehended a short time later.

The judge, believing that Latham had no prior convictions, agreed to release her without bail on the condition that she wear an ankle bracelet with a GPS. It was later discovered that Latham had a criminal record in another state.

We will be discussing whether the judge's decision was appropriate. I'm sure you can guess what my position is....

I’ll cop to not seeing the show, but since I was asked to guess, let me surmise that her position was… “You’ve got to keep people in jail until you absolutely confirm that they have no prior history anywhere.” And then perhaps… “Once you confirm that there is no prior history, keep them in jail anyway, because you can’t ever actaully prove a negative”?

So Ken’s mostly right. There aren’t many prosecutor blogging about criminal law and almost nothing but criminal law. But I think there are more than three.

Anyone else out there subscribe to some that I haven’t mentioned?  And any prosecutors out there starting a blog, please feel free to email me, I'll be happy to give your new blog a little link love.

Join the LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group

Fellow blogging Texas lawyer Todd Smith already said it best, so this is just a cut and paste:

Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog recently started a group on LinkedIn to try and connect with more folks in the legal industry who have an interest in blogging.  The group is already up to about 350 members and could eventually grow into the thousands.

Kevin says he's going to focus the group on ways to exchange information about blogging.  If you're on LinkedIn (I am, and you can view my profile here), then click through to Kevin's post and join.  And if you don't know Kevin, you should.  He really knows his stuff.

Requires signing up for LinkedIn – of course – but that’s already reconnected me to several folks I knew from a long time back. Basically I’m looking forward to 2 things. Subscribing to good blogs I didn’t know about, and yes, of course, the potential for link love.

Does Writing A Blog Make You An Instant Authority?

Larry King interviewed the apoplectic comedian Lewis Black tonight on CNN (30 minutes past the end of the broadcast and it’s still not linkable – is this the internet age or not? No seriously, I’ll try to link to it when it’s available.)

Last question from Larry was about whether or not the rumor was true: had Black started a blog? Absolutely not. “I refuse to blog,” said Black, continuing:

…just because you can type on a screen doesn’t give you legitimacy as an authority on anything.

King: Anyone can blog, right? [Typically sycophantic, notice how Larry turns from being willing to plug Black’s hypothetical new non-existent blog to immediately bashing the concept for blogging itself – based, of course, on his guest’s answer.]

Black: Everybody does! [Minor epileptic fit ensues.] …you used to have to put up a degree!

He’s right of course. 

You’re going to have a hard time blogging regularly about a subject that you don’t know anything about. And while you know everything about your own personal life, and are therefore immediately the world’s foremost expert on everything relevant to your own personal diary-type blog, that’s not true for ‘professional’ blogging.

Internet Searches: February 2008

Some queries, as usual, highlight good questions. Some I just find amusing. Here goes my summary of the best searches that brought up Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer this month.

Probation Fees Travis County Tx

It’s $62 per month to be on probation in Travis County, and, I think, pretty much everywhere in the state. Hyper technically, it’s $60 per month, and then they add a $2 transaction fee every time you pay. So I suppose if you paid it all up front at your first visit, you could save (Number of months on probation – 1) * $2. This does not include fines and court costs.

What is better, probation or prison?

Which is better: misdemeanor probation or county jail, especially a short or backtime sentence… depending on the context, that’s certainly a reasonable question. Prison sentences, however, are going to be 2 years at a minimum – ignoring State Jail Felonies, which are still 6 months day for day no parole, at a minimum. Most of the defendants I’ve ever met don’t ask me this one.

How much marijuana in Texas is considered dealing?

This really deserves its own post sometime, but, if you are talking about State not Federal charges, then the statutory answer is: there is no such thing as possession “with intent to deliver” marijuana in Texas. Or, more precisely, there’s no enhancement for “intent to deliver” as there is with cocaine, heroin, and pretty much every other drug or controlled substance penalized in the Texas Health and Safety Code.

One quick caveat: a prosecutor, judge or jury may treat a case differently, at least in terms of trying to go for a higher punishment than if there were not ‘evidence of dealing’. But the actual range of punishment including the maximum can not be increased.

Effectiveness War On Drugs

Easiest one of the month. And the answer is… zero. Unless by ‘effectiveness’ you meant ‘lining the pockets of the private prison industry’.

Lawyers who smoke medical marijuana

Well, if you’re a lawyer, then you know it’s still illegal under federal law, even if you live in a state with medical marijuana exceptions (i.e., somewhere besides Texas). So you probably won’t be advertising this fact on the internet.

Texas MIP self defense

I’ve tried to construct some sort of hypothetical where you could reasonably ask for a self defense instruction in a Minor in Possession case, but I can’t seem to do it. Anyone else want to take a stab at it? (He was coming at me with a knife, so I picked up the nearby beer can and chucked it at him. Best I can think of.)

Oddest Search of the Month: speech for student take the drugs and other vice in pup

OK. That one really has me stumped.

Do Me A Favor... (Vote for Best Law Blog)

Seriously, anyone that reads this blog on a regular basis, please head over to the 2007 Weblog Awards and vote for Scott Greenfield’s Simple Justice in the best law blog category.

#1) Scott/Simple Justice deserves it on the merits.

#2) Criminal defense lawyer blogging is still in its infancy; those of us that are interested need to promote it.

Yes, I’m attempting to stuff the ballot box. I’ll be voting once a day, as the rules allow. All I’m asking is that you log in and cast your ballot at least once.

Heck, the other finalists all are fine candidates:

Above the Law
How Appealing
Volokh Conspiracy
Sui Generis
Balkinization
Wall Street Journal Law Blog
SCOTUS Blog
Likelihood Of Confusion
Ms JD Changing the Face of the Legal Profession

Several, in fact, are on my RSS reader. But there’s a reason that Hollywood puts out TV shows and movies about criminal prosecution and defense, and ignores bankruptcy, divorce and other civil lawyers… it’s boring.

Scott writes interesting topical posts several times a day, on a subject we are all interested in, no matter what our profession. Vote now.

I'll make you a deal.  Leave me a comment (or email me) after you vote for Simple Justice, and I'll make sure to link back to your blog over the next month or so.

Simply the Best: Law Blogs Continuation Meme

Anne Reed tagged me (and thanks for the compliment) in her Simply the Best meme, and asks that I pay it forward. I feel a bit like Robert Ambrogi, who said about being an earlier victim of the original tagger – the anonymous Blawg Review editor:

I truly hate these things. The editor of Blawg Review (who I don't hate) has started a meme he calls Simply the Best. He's tagged his top 10 law blogs; each of them, in turn, is supposed to tag theirs, and so on, until we end up with one great big group hug. I've now been tagged -- by both J. Craig Williams and Monica Bay -- and had to think long and hard before joining in. (Legal Blog Watch, where I co-blog with Carolyn Elefant, has also been tagged.

Here's the problem: My feedreader tells me that I subscribe to the RSS feeds of roughly 350 blogs. Those are the ones I at least scan on a regular basis. Almost every day, it seems, I discover yet another blog that I like. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of really good blogs out there. To pick 10 from among them is somewhat arbitrary and certainly capricious.

OK, so I don’t really hate memes – I just used that block quote to tag some more folks I could have included in my list. Yes, that’s cheating. It allows to me to tag more than ten blawgers. But it’s hard to pare this down to 10.

And I’m going to cheat some more by disqualifying Defending People and Simple Justice for the same reason that Anne did, that is, that she had meme’d them earlier this week. Well, actually I’m probably disqualifying them for the real reason that she did: more cheating and it allows for more in the list. Heck, if I’m gonna think like that, I may as well disqualify Gideon and Capital Defense Weekly just because they made Anne’s list. And Doug Berman for making the original list.

Alright, enough stalling/cheating. Here’s my ‘I wish I had more spots’ and in no particular order top 10:

And polishing it off, neither a law nor even a lawyer blog, just a guy that blogs about how to blog, which all blogging lawyers can use…

There you go. Also, I left out about 30-70. But those I named must press on…

Update: Others have joined in.

May It Please the Court, The Common Scold, The UCL Practitioner, Robert Ambrogi's LawSites, Where's Travis McGee?, What About Clients?, New York Personal Injury Law Blog, Overlawyered, TalkLeft, Lowering the Bar, Charon QC, Arbitrary and Capricious, Binary Law, Sui Generis, Nearly Legal, Legal Blog Watch, StandDown Texas Project, Minor Wisdom, Family Lore, Law School Innovation, GeekLawyer, lo-fi librarian, China Law Blog, More Partner Income, Patent Baristas, The California Blog of Appeal, Decision of the Day, QuizLaw, f/k/a

One Year Anniversary (or Blawgiversary)

A big thanks goes out to all the guys at LexBlog: Kevin, Jesse, Stacey, Rob and all the others that helped me launch this blog, and keep it running for this first year.

Technically, I think it launched in late September 2006, but I’m going to artificially call October 1, 2007 the one year anniversary of the Austin Criminal Defense Blog.

Some milestones so far:

Over 150,000 hits – and based on the constant increase in readers each week and month, I can expect many more over the next 12 months.

#1 Google rankings for phrases such as “Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer,” “Austin Marijuana Lawyer,” “Austin Criminal Defense Attorney,” and too many others to list here.

An almost overwhelming response in emails and comments. I’ve definitely received hundreds of emails from around the country from folks who have read the blog, and have asked questions. I don’t keep track, but I’d be surprised if it were less than 1000. Originally I thought I’d have all the time in the world to answer each one, or to post a response, but lately, that’s been getting quite difficult. I will continue to do my best in that regard.

The launching of my second blog: Austin DWI Lawyer. And in fact, I have a third LexBlog in the works, that will be a collaborative effort. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll run to the HEB on Congress and Oltorf and get my blog a birthday (cup)cake.

Voir Dire Themed Blawg Review at Deliberations

Anne Reed of Deliberations writes this week’s edition of Blawg Review: “The 17 Best Tips for Voir Dire”.

Sure, it’s a way to theme an excellent Blawg Review, but here are some of my favorites, renumbered, and in no particular order:

  1. Assume Nothing
  2. Watch for Points of View
  3. Notice How They Process Information
  4. Pay Attention to the Quiet Ones
  5. Some Just Want To Get Back to Work

Paying attention to the quiet ones in jury selection really hits home. How many times do you realize that after you and the prosecutor have fought over challenges for cause, then submitted your preemptory challenges, and the panel is called to be seated that… up to half the jury consists of those that managed to keep their mouths shut most of the time?

I guess that’s because the ones that weren’t quiet managed to put fear into one side or the other.

Next week’s Blawg Review host is Lex Ferenda, and Anne has set a high bar.

Submit Your Post For Next Week's Blawg Review

As previously announced, I will be hosting next week’s edition of Blawg Review.

For those of you unfamiliar with it:

Blawg Review is the blog carnival for everyone interested in law. A blog carnival is a traveling post about a topic or theme… Blawg Review has topics discussed by lawyers, law students and law professors.

Each weekly issue of Blawg Review is made up of article submissions selected from the best recent law blog posts. The blogger that puts together the Blawg Review carnival each week is called the "host".

That’s right. Blogging lawyers of all sorts should check out the submission guidelines, and send me their best legal post of this week. Entries are due by Saturday night. It’s the best practice to send me suggestions through the Blawg Review site itself, rather than to my business or personal email.

Next week’s theme will be criminal defense, and more specifically, the amendments in the Bill of Rights that most effect criminal defendants. But you civil lawyer Blawg Review regulars, don’t despair. Trust me, I’ll work you in too.

I hope to receive submissions from criminal defense attorneys, because we as a group have been severely under represented in previous Blawg Reviews.

Also, by the end of the week (before next week’s edition) I should be able to finish up my prior commitment to list all bloggers nominated and participating in the Criminal Law Blog poll from a few months ago.

Getting Other Lawyers to Link to Your Blog

Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Gustitis emailed me awhile back and asked:

I'm a defense lawyer in Bryan, Texas and I started a blog for clients entitled "The Defense Perspective." I see how successful you have been getting backlinks to your blog from other bloggers. I am not sure how to go about doing that. Can you help me? Thanks.

My reply:

There are 2 main ways:

  • Content, Content, Content. Looks like you are already starting to put good content on your blog, so that will help.
  • Link out to other people who are writing on similar topics. Basically, to get them to notice that you exist in the first place, the easiest thing to do is to cut and paste from something they wrote (while, of course, acknowledging them and linking back to them), and then comment on what they wrote.

I'd be happy to chat with you about blogging some time if you want. My number is (512) 472 9909.

Nothing, and I mean nothing will beat good content. I can already tell that Steve’s blog is going to succeed, because in the 45 days (or so) that he has been blogging, he has covered topics such as Habeas Corpus, expunctions, search warrants, DWI, Field Sobriety Tests…just to name a few.

It’s clear to me from the content of Steve’s posts that he knows what he’s talking about. Likewise, it will be clear to prospective clients that if they are charged with [DWI, Theft, Assault, Possession of Marijuana] in Bryan/College Station, they should probably call him…for the same reason: he knows what he is talking about.

That’s the great thing about blogging. It’s very personal, in its own way. I have been really surprised that folks arrested in Austin will call me up and tell me they have spent a good deal of time reading my blog. It sparked their interest, and now they want to set up a consultation. Many times, I haven’t talked about their exact situation…but they can tell from what I’ve written that I just might be the lawyer for them.

But, and this is an important “but”… but starting a new blog can be a classic case of “the chicken or the egg”.

It’s great to have good content, content that everyone will read and appreciate…but what good does it do if Google doesn’t know your blog exists?

That’s where part 2 of my answer comes in: Link out to other bloggers.

Already established bloggers frequently check services like Technorati to see who is linking back to them. For example, I currently see 157 other blogs linking to this one, and 108 bloggers linking to my newer DWI Blog.

If some new lawyer blog writes a post commenting on something I have written, you can bet I will find out about it, and then... what…?

I’ll add them to my RSS reader, keep track of their blog, and eventually link back to them. 

That’s it for now…more on this topic at a later date.

In the meantime, if you are a lawyer starting a new blog, wanting links back to you, please feel free to email me at jamie@austindefense.com. I’ll find a way to help get you started. Also, if you’re considering starting a “lawyer blog” (AKA “blawg”), feel free to email me. I’m always happy to chat about it.

More Austin Criminal Law Blogs

The recent release of IE7 and the upcoming release of Windows Vista are predicted to bring an explosion of blogging in 2007 and beyond, by exposing more folks to RSS, and I welcome it. Good blogs can provide the public with the information they need to make well informed decisions about any number of problems and issues that life throws at us, and lawyer blogs are the rule here not the exception.

With that in mind, here are examples of two other Austin attorneys who blog on criminal defense issues. (By way of complete disclosure, I should probably mention that they are also both friends of mine.)

Bill Mange comments on the New York Times piece reprinted in the Statesman about a senior pentagon official  criticizing lawyers who dare represent Guantanamo detainees. The government official intimates that CEOs should shun using law firms who choose to expend time and effort on these pro-bono cases.

Bill then makes an excellent comparison of these modern day strong arm tactics to McCarthy era blacklisting , and uses the example of Austinite John Henry Faulk’s successful libel case as a backdrop.

Bill quotes from The Jury Returns, written by Faulk’s lawyer Louis Nizer:

They pulverized him out of the entertainment industry and left him unemployed and unemployable for 6 ½ years.  They ruined his reputation and left him and his family in a state of starvation.  They made a ghastly lesson of him, so that all others who dared to challenge them in the future would be terrorized by his example.

But they had chosen the wrong man to humiliate and destroy.  In the great American tradition, which even they should have admired, Faulk rejected the role of a defeated martyr, refused to acknowledge his comatose enfeeblement, and actually attacked his tormentors.  He demanded their condemnation.  Scorning compromise, he insisted on complete judicial vindication.

Those interested in Faulk’s story should also reference Fear on Trial, either the book written by him, or the movie based on it starring George C Scott as the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Ken Gibson posts commentary on the University of Texas Police Department’s recent predilection for making more and more DWI arrests, and all over Travis County at that, rather than staying at “home” on campus and protecting the students. As he points out, they have the authority to do it:

Most folks don’t realize that UT police have jurisdiction to make arrests in any county that the University owns property. What that means is that a UT police officer basically has statewide jurisdiction.

However, Ken questions the wisdom of their new gung-ho attitude:

For every arrest, an officer will be gone from their job at the University for a minimum 8 hours and could be days, if the case goes to trial. This is time that they will be gone from their original job, protecting UT property and students. There are so many agencies that are available to make DWI arrests, and as an alumnus of UT, I find it a huge waste of University resources for these officers to make traffic stops off of campus.

I concur - and recommend adding Bill and Ken’s blogs to your RSS readers.

And to any other local Austin lawyer bloggers (criminal defense or otherwise) out there that I haven’t run across… please email me, and I’ll add your feed to mine and probably plug you on my blog.

More lawyer blogs

Inter Alia – Tom Mighell’s internet research weblog has recently been listed as the featured blog of the week on the Texas State Bar’s lawyer blog page.

Employment Law Blog – Washington State attorney Jill Pugh discusses workplace law both from the perspective of the small business owner and that of the individual employee.

Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Blog – Boston attorney Chris Earley blogs on issues about car, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, dog bites, and medical malpractice.

Corporate and Securities Law Blog – Alex Simpson blogs on New York business and securities legal issues in New York.

Lawsagna – alternating layers of thoughts, tools, tricks, tips, and other ingredients for a successful learning experience in law school and beyond.

Law Professor Blogs

The blogosphere has exploded in the last year to 18 months with all sorts of niche lawyer blogs. One of these subtypes is law professors, blogging on, unsurprisingly, topics as wide as the law itself covers.

Willamette University professor Jeffrey Standen teaches sports law and blogs about it at The Sports Law Professor.

Cardozo Law School professor of cyberlaw and IP blogs at the eponymous Susan Crawford Blog.

New York University Law School Professor Daniel Shaviro talks about Tax policy (mostly) at Start Making Sense.

Now teaching at Williams College, Alan Hirsch blogs at both The Truth About False Confessions and Attorney’s Fees Law.

Former FCC Commissioner, and author of How to Talk Back to Your Television Set Nick Johnson blogs from the University of Iowa Law School at FromDC2Iowa.

From the same school, congrats to the recently tenured professor Tung Yin who blogs at The Yin Blog. (Here’s the SSRN link as well.)

Gregory Bowman, at Mississippi College of Law writes the Law Career Blog and his articles can be found at SSRN as well.

PrawfsBlawg – 6 full time bloggers, with multiple guest posting professors as well.

And, of course, with well over 50 professors blogging on over 30 blogs and counting is the Law Professors Blogs site.

Texas Law Blogs

Some Texas lawyer blogs that I’ve either read for some time, but not linked to yet, and some others I’ve just recently found:

Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall writes Houston’s Clear Thinkers, where we find subjects on developments in law, business, medicine and other areas.

A welcome back to fellow Austin lawyer Bradley Clark who returns to frequent and informative posting at the Texas Law Blog.

U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, who has entertained Texas lawyers with his "et cetera" humor column in the Texas Bar Journal blogs at Say What?

Dallas attorney Bob Kraft posts about Personal Injury and Social Security Disability law at the aptly titled Bob Kraft’s P.I.S.S.D. blog.

And Kevin Funnell, a Frisco Texas lawyer who represents banks and other businesses, comments on the law, and other issues as well at Counseling Kevin. He also authors a banking law blog.

Around the Blogs

Grits for Breakfast posts some suggestions on reforming Texas’ criminal justice system, as well as continues his excellent series on Texas recidivism rates.

Wretched of the Earth reviews the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ridiculous decision that finds one of the most coercive DWI blood draw examples as lawful and voluntary.

David Feige at Indefensible writes a stinging indictment of the popular media’s portrayal of public defenders.

Over at the Law.Com Blog Network Carolyn Elefant and Robert Ambrogi discuss legal gossip blogs and the comparative lack of lawyer blogs in Iowa respectively.

And finally, Howard Bashman reports on seemingly everything law related over at How Appealing.

Public Defender Blogs

Public Defender Stuff (the news service for the Public Defender Investigator Network) updates their Guide to Every PD Blog, which now includes over 30 links. Looks like it’s time for me to go back and update my blogroll, and add some sites to my reader…

Here's my prediction: if the new IE really causes a boom in lawyer blogging, it won't be too long before we'll have over 30 PD blogs for every state in the union...

Around the Blogs

Carolyn Elefant predicts that the Government will give up prosecuting John Gotti, Jr.

Sarena Strauss posts about one of the problems with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Jonathan Stein on the advantages of getting to know opposing counsel.

Injustice Anywhere blogs about, well, successfully fighting an injustice.

And Long Island Criminal Trial Lawyer announces his new monthly newsletter.

Mitch Jackson and MyTrialBlog

Mitch Jackson’s MyTrialBlog provides useful tips for litigators, and several of his recent posts contain ideas applicable to my criminal trial practice as well. Examples that could be used for a DWI trial include:  pre-trial preparation, handling overruled objections in front of a jury and issuing challenges to the prosecutors during closing statements.

(Hat tip to South Carolina Trial Law Blog for pointing me to the site.)

A thank you to all the guys at LexBlog

The good folks over at LexBlog have done a terrific job of designing the look, not to mention the technical aspects, of my new blog.

Here’s a shout-out to the people that I know were involved: Kevin, Ryan, Jesse and Colin. I’m sure there were several others who contributed as well, so, let me give them an anonymous thank you as well.

I appreciate the good work you guys have done, and I’m sure this blog will be able to fulfill its purpose: to inform the general public about important news items and developments in criminal law, especially here in Austin, Texas.

Thanks again guys!