Eye on the Blogosphere: Blogs on Blago

By Taryn Hartman
Legal News

It’s my lower-car-insurance-premiums birthday, fools! You can bring my celebratory lunch of Slow’s macaroni and cheese to the Legal News offices downtown; I’ll be here all day.

As my quarterlife gift, the Chicago Sun-Times has launched “The Blago Blog: Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases.” It’s published by Sun-Times federal courts reporter Natasha Korecki, and we can only hope it helps reveal the hilarity sure to ensue in the corruption trial of The Hair and his brother Rob (Rod and Rob? You really can’t make this stuff up) not unlike what we read last summer from the Southern District of Florida Blog’s coverage of the Paris Hilton trial in Miami (http://sdfla.blogspot.com/).

A post from yesterday pointed us to another BLAGOsphere destination (I WISH I could take credit for that one; big ups to Gawker, which came up with it way back at the time of the original indictment), Blagojustice, written by Chicago freelance journalist Susan Berger, whom The Blago Blog says was first in line to get in to yesterday’s jury selection. Berger’s comprehensive blog includes a link to the Chicago Tribune’s timeline of the entire scandal, copies of the case’s legal filings, an NPR audio recap, and video of the initial arrest and early press conferences.

Given the absence of video cameras in federal courtrooms, which will prohibit us from obsessively streaming the trial to our desks now that Kwame’s cooling his heels in Jackson County (Michigan trivia time: Did you know Jackson is the birthplace of the Republican Party?), these blogs could be where we get our up-to-the-minute info on the trial, and it will be interesting to watch how the Blogosphere changes how we cover and pay attention to big cases that we can’t actually watch live.

I went trolling through the Gulf of Blogosphere this week looking for online reaction to and analysis of this week’s announcement that the Department of Justice is investigating possible civil and criminal cases against BP for the ongoing disaster in the southeastern states, but found surprisingly few hits; most of the environmental law coverage was more policy-driven.  I was psyched to discover that Erin Brockovich has a blog, but disappointed to see it hasn’t been updated since last October.

So instead I steered my dinghy over to MyShingle.com, the blog for solo practitioners that DC lawyer Carolyn Elefant has been running since 2002 and one I’ve been meaning to take a look at for quite a while.

The site is extraordinarily well done, no doubt because she’s had close to a decade to perfect it, and covers close to every topic imaginable when it comes to managing a law firm (of any size, really): client relations, ethics and malpractice, research and writing, marketing, litigation practice, technology, work/life balance…the woman is a machine.

In just one example post from May, Elefant says some really interesting things about the benefit of larger law firms outsouring innovative practices to smaller firms or solo practitioners, and she links to other articles to back her claims up.

“By outsourcing innovation to small firms and solos-for example, funding solos to devise innovative and profitable ways to deliver affordable legal services to the poor and middle class (instead of just paying unemployed lawyers to volunteer for legal aid), large firms could reap the benefits of new business models and help a new generation of lawyers in the process,” she writes.

It’s an online destination ideal for a changing legal economy, particularly one in an economically challenged region like Southeast Michigan.  Even for non-solos, it’s an almost textbook-like resource worth checking out.