2008 CLawBies – Canadian Law Blog Awards

Welcome to the 2008 CLawBies! As we highlight another year of great Canadian legal blog content, I’d like to start by pointing everyone’s eyes down south to Dennis Kennedy’s 2008 Blawggies, where Canada had an outstanding year (clearly Mr. Kennedy has a secret ice rink in his backyard he hasn’t been telling us about).  We are humbled by your recognitions Dennis!

This is year number three for the Clawbies, and in all honestly, these ‘fun’ awards make December the most enjoyable part of my year. Canadian law bloggers seem to take pride in keeping our community open, and spreading the recognition around. This year’s new nomination procedure featured lots of great blog-to-blog recomendations, and hopefully went one step further in reinforcing that culture.

Like last year, I offer my personal congratulations to everyone listed over at lawblogs.ca, and the usual warning not to take this (or any other blog Award) too seriously.

So without further ado, here is the 2008 edition Clawbies. Enjoy!

1) Best Canadian Law Blog (or Blogger) Award: Law21 – Anyone that says it’s impossible to break into blogging these days needed to watch Jordan Furlong this past year. Wherever you went in 2008, Jordan’s thoughts were cited and more frequently revered.  Law21 received the most nominations, both from fellow bloggers and via email. But mostly, Jordan’s blog is the 2008 winner because it became a fixture for anyone trying to think critically about legal practice.  Runner up: Slaw – Once again a bridesmaid, though I do try to make up for it below. Not that Slaw can’t win, but solo blogging is a tough gig to do well, and in 2008 it simply felt right to let Jordan bask in the spotlight.

2) Best Practitioner Support BlogCanadian Trademark Blog – This was a year of stepping out for the Canadian Trademark Blog. They added a couple new bloggers to their in-house team, completed a re-design (sans Steve Matthews), and really found their edge. Two events that stood out were a January road trip to catch up with law bloggers down in Seattle, and the significant media coverage generated by one of their posts regarding Olympic trademark registrations by VANOC.   – Runner ups: All About Information, Thoughts from a Management Lawyer, Human Rights in the Workplace

3) Legal Culture Award – Slaw evolved in 2008, drawing in more Canadian blogging talent (see Omar & the Daves!) and producing even more quality commentary.  Despite my own involvement, this year’s nomination process (and Blawggies award) support what I’ve always known: Slaw has become a beacon for what Canadian law blogs have to offer.   Runner ups: Law is Cool, Precedent.

4) Non-Legal Audience Award goes to Connie Crosby for her combination of blog and micro-blog (ie Twitter). Twitter became an important tool for many bloggers in 2008, frequently pushing those of us in the legal field beyond our industry base. With more than 2300 followers, Connie has not only led the way in Canada, but possibly for the entire legal industry. Her network is not only large in volume but extremely varied and influential.

5) Friend of the North Awards – This award is intended to recognize US bloggers that look north of the border to network and exchange ideas. This year, I’d like to recognize Mary Abraham who hasn’t lost her Canadian roots despite working for a New York megafirm, and re-recognize Doug Cornelius. Both were not only deserving of a ‘Friend of the North’ Award, but actually submitted nominations!

6) EuroCan Connection Awards – This award was envisioned to recognize some of our European law blog friends who frequently highlight and link to Canadian law blogs. In 2008, Charon QC reached out to many Canadian law bloggers, myself included. The work he did late in the year creating a Canadian Law Blog Pageflake just sealed the deal.  Runner Up: Our 2007 winner Nick Holmes became an occasional contributor to Slaw in 2008, and earns a finalist nod this year for doing so.

7) Practice Management Award – (TIE) Knowing the mutual respect between Dave Bilinsky and Jordan Furlong, I’m sure they won’t mind sharing the prize in this category. If you read both these blogs, you’ll recognize that they are valued for different reasons. Law21 is much more about vision and challenging ideas. It’s very thought provoking. Conversely, Thoughtful Legal Management often reflects the voice of experience, and Dave’s work in the trenches. If you speak to PMAs around North Americal you get the sense of respect they have for Dave. He’s a pioneer and they listen. If you’re looking to tap into Canadian perspectives on practice management, you’d be well advised to subscribe to both.

8) Law Librarian Blog Award – 2008 is the year we expand our radar in this category, and note the great blogging being done by the Edmonton Association of Law Libraries.  With a number of contributing members, this blog looks to be evolving into a must read for Canadian law librarians. If it isn’t on your reading list already, be sure to follow in 2009! Runner ups: Call KM Blog, BC Courthouse Library Society What’s New Blog.

9) Best Legal Technology Blog – (TIE) This may seem a bit odd, but this award is a tie between Slaw and the great big gap in Canadian legal technology blogs. We web-geeks may be plentiful over at Slaw, but what Canada really needs is a few Mac Lawyers or iPhone JDs.  Or even a run of the mill (but competent & unbiased) legal technologist.  So let it be known, the gauntlet has been dropped for 2009!

10) Best New Law Blog Award – (TIE) Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog was the easy pick in this category. It’s very well written, read, and was recognized with multiple nominations. If you practice employment or labour law in Canada, this blog is off to a great start and well worth the read. The tie portion of this category is because of an innovative non-lawyer named Laurie Mapp. Laurie’s company blog Halo Secretarial Blog helps support an entire new industry of virtual legal assistants. She’s found her voice in this new blog, and is getting some well deserved recognition both north & south of the border.  Runners up: Megawatt, Ontario Condo Law Blog

11) Law Professor Blog Award – (TIE) Perhaps it’s a testament to the value of blogging at Osgoode Hall, but both Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog and The Court were big vote getters in our new nomination process. A number of law librarians also commented that these blogs offered content that was worthy of forwarding to practitioners. Case law reviews and commentary may not be glitzy, but if blogging is to hold any kind of stature within academia, these two entries look like the might lead the way. Runner up: University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog.

And that’s it!  My apologies for glaring omissions or unintended bias. Please be sure you’re on lawblogs.ca to be considered in 2009!

2008 Clawbies Coming Soon!

Well it’s that time of the year again! We’re gearing up for another edition of the Canadian Law Blog Awards, a.k.a. the Clawbies, with the final results to be released (like last year) on December 31st.

One thing that will be different this time around is the addition of a nomination process. Being considered for a Clawbie starts with being on our radar, and every blog listed at lawblogs.ca will get a passing look. However, this year we want to let Canadian law bloggers toot their own horn, and in the process, give them a chance to plug their friends. So, here’s the deal…

2008 Nominations

Between now and Friday December 27th, you may nominate a Canadian authored legal blog in one of two possible ways.

  1. Simply email your favourite blog (yes, you can nominate your own) with some of your finest 2008 posts or any other notable highlights to Steve Matthews at steve@stemlegal.com.
  2. Or method number two, and this is much more fun … write a blog post about three other Canadian law blogs you currently read and tell us why those blogs are important to you. Now, here’s the bonus: in doing so, you are expected to be a humble Canadian and tell us NOTHING about your own blog. In return, your blog will receive a thorough review, as will your suggested peers, AND you get a chance to plug a fellow Canadian blogger!

    Noted: No, we’re not voting like the ABA… but linking out to fellow Canadian legal bloggers adds to our infrastructure, and let’s us share audiences. That way, the process helps everyone, and the award is simply a final recognition.

The categories remain the same as previous years; but please don’t worry about submitting categories. We’ll figure that part out.  Where we would like some help though, is identifying US & European law blogs that pay attention (and link) to Canadian legal blogosphere! So feel free to share your thoughts either via your email nomination or including a link in your nomination blog post.

And that’s it!  Stay tuned & watch out for Clawbies 2008 coming this New Year’s Eve!!