08 December 2008

Blawg Review #189

For my first three Blawg Reviews, I've let Dante lead me through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Inconsiderately enough, however, Il Maestro never completed a fourth cantica for his Divine Comedy, leaving me stuck for a theme this time around. Finding that theme was an albatross around my neck until a friend made a timely and much-appreciated suggestion -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The Wedding-Guest

In simplest terms, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a poem which is equal parts ghost story and morality tale. What it isn't is a poem typical of the Romantic age in which it was written. Its intentional use of archaic language to convey a sense of antiquity -- as if the poem had been written in an earlier time and then rediscovered -- was poorly-received by contemporary audiences, was criticized by Coleridge's peers, and was second-guessed by the poet himself.

Ancient Mariner was originally published together with several poems by Wordsworth; a year after that joint publication, Wordsworth wrote, "From what I can gather it seems that the Ancient Mariner has upon the whole been an injury to the volume, I mean that the old words and the strangeness of it have deterred readers from going on." Especially confused and disappointed were the sailors who reportedly bought the volume in significant numbers, thinking that The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was a book of seafaring songs.

Disappointed, Coleridge asked that his poem be removed from the second edition of the book; his request was denied by Wordsworth, although not without some further criticism of the work:
The Poem of my Friend has indeed great defects; first, that the principal person has no distinct character, either in his profession of Mariner, or as a human being who having been long under the control of supernatural impressions might be supposed himself to partake of something supernatural; secondly, that he does not act, but is continually acted upon; thirdly, that the events having no necessary connection do not produce each other; and lastly, that the imagery is somewhat too laboriously accumulated.
In later republications, Coleridge continued to rework his poem, simplifying the language by removing archaic terms, adding a glossary explaining those which remained, and supplementing the text with marginalia (a term he coined) which made the themes more explicit.

In many ways then, Ancient Mariner was a controversial work at odds with the writing style of Coleridge's contemporaries, a poem of which the poet himself was perhaps the harshest critic, and a work which struggled to find an appreciative audience. Embracing my inner Romanticist, I'll suggest that legal blogging shares many of these characteristics.

Practicing attorneys may struggle to explain their blogging to colleagues more concerned with maintaining a "professional" distance from other attorneys and from non-lawyers. Academic bloggers may find that tenure committees and non-blogging academics are unconvinced that online writing can be academically worthwhile. For better or no, legal bloggers are members (or hope to soon be members) of a profession which is rooted in tradition and slow to embrace social technologies.

As writers, many of us have struggled to find our voices online. Do we write as we would speak to friends and colleagues or as we would write for professional publication? Do we censor ourselves or seek controversy? Do we write on non-legal topics or maintain a strictly professional image online? Will our writing be an end in itself or a means to another end? Each new legal blogger has asked these and many other questions of himself or herself, only to find them being asked again and again as his or her blogging continues. As highly-educated professionals, we are often the severest and most persistent critics of our own writing.

As it is, I've said more than enough. I'll let you draw your own conclusions and I'll get on with the task at hand.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner begins:
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
"By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

"The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din."

He holds him with his skinny hand,
"There was a ship," quoth he.
"Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye--
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot chuse but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
And so we commence our voyage....

The Albatross

As the Mariner tells the fascinated Wedding-Guest, his ship was blown off course by a powerful storm near the Equator which carried the vessel southward toward the "wondrous cold" of Antarctica. There the ship was surrounded by pack ice and impenetrable mists, and as their ship groaned from the press of the ice the crew justifiably began to fear for their lives. To their relief, an albatross emerged from the mists. The crew fed the albatross, a bird traditionally revered as a sign of good fortune and divine protection, and their luck began to turn. The ice separated, the winds rose, the ship escaped northward, and the albatross remained nearby.

At this point in his story, however, the Mariner becomes distraught. He confesses to the Wedding-Guest that he killed the albatross, seemingly for no reason other than caprice.

The Mariner and his two hundred or so shipmates paid a high price for his crime; crime and punishment was, as always, discussed by a number of legal bloggers this week.

Troy Rosasco discussed why Wal-Mart should be held criminally responsible for the trampling death of one of its employees during a "Black Friday" sale event: "Walmart is a smart, highly successful consumer retailer - with a horrible record of mistreatment of employees. They fully understand the concept of 'mob psychology' that caused this preventable death, but willfully chose to ignore the threat to fill it's own cash registers."

Robert Ambrogi reported the stories of three attorneys who survived the Mumbai terrorist attacks and, while events unfolded around them, texted and e-mailed their thoughts and sentiments to their friends and loved ones half a world away. Wrote one, "I don't know if I'm going to get out of this and I love you and I love the kids, and we've had a great life together." Not all were so fortunate; Stephenson Harwood associate Lo Hwei Yen was taken hostage and killed in the Oberoi Hotel.

Another international event, the "Slow Motion Civil War" in Nigeria, where the crimes committed by the nation's citizens against one another have been extensively-documented by the international press, was considered by Chris Borgen: "[W]hile the situation in Nigeria is not a civil war in the classic sense, it is an example of the type of bloody but 'low-level' ongoing conflict that saps the strength of countries. These situations time and again teeter on the brink of becoming full scale civil wars... but their complexity denies a 'one issue' solution."

Those of us who have wondered for some time which nation would take the lead in cracking-down on the intenational criminal scourge of fraudulent ant breeding finally have our answer. As Kevin Underhill reported, China has executed the ringleader of a fraudulent ant breeding scheme. The report doesn't indicate the method of execution, but just for fun let's assume that the condemned was staked-out on an anthill.

Mike Cernovich discussed a widely-reported story wherein a married, churchgoing mother got drunk and had sex with a man in a public restroom at a college football game. Cernovich wrote that the woman's public comments after the incident mark her as a "false rape claimant waiting to happen":
Any criminal defense lawyer can see where this is heading. Feldman is about 30 minutes away from crying rape. Some predator saw Feldman's virtuous self. He then stole her chastity. What a disgrace.

Fortunately there were enough witnesses who watched her eagerly having sex. But in today's society, even an eye witness isn't always enough to prevent a man from facing a false rape claim.

Immediately following the Mariner's senseless killing of the albatross, he was condemned by the other crew, who recognized the good fortune which the bird had brought to them:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay
That made the breeze to blow!
Later though, as their good luck held despite the bird's death, the crew's sentiments changed and they blamed the albatross for bringing their troubles in the first place:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.
But when the winds died, the crew's lives were once again endangered, this time by thirst; they came to believe that the killing of the albatross had brought an evil spirit upon them and the fickle sailors turned once more on the Mariner:
And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

When it comes to criminal law, the ebb and flow of public opinion can be impressive. Many bloggers discussed aspects of the Lori Drew case, which has seen more than its fair share of fickle public opinion.

Venkat Balasubramani wrote that the government's use of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has led to a muddled discussion which confuses two separate issues: "Somehow the discussion has shifted from whether it's appropriate to use Ms. Drew's commission of a tort to support a CFAA conviction to whether the CFAA should cover access in excess of a website's terms of use. Two conceptually distinct issues that people tend to conflate."

The Media Bloggers Association legal blog explained the import of the verdict for bloggers: "There is understandable concern among many online commentators about the implications of the particular legal theories that formed the basis of the convictions, based fundamentally on the violation of various levels of online terms of service that are seldom more than glanced at and clicked through by experienced Internet users. The MBA encourages responsible use of the online resources via its Statement of Principles...."

Many in the legal community wondered how the jury could vote to convict based upon the slim evidence offered by the prosecution. One juror declared that she always reads the terms of service provided her at sites she visits and that "[i]f you choose to be lazy and not go through that entire agreement or contract of agreement, then absolutely you should be held liable." Anne Reed discussed several key voir dire mistakes which might have been made by Drew's attorneys, as these are by numerous other lawyers. Blogger Gideon, commenting upon the same juror remarks which prompted Reed's post, noted that the jury's decision, reasoning, and published statements have backed the case's judge into a corner; the judge had earlier reserved judgment on the defense's motions to dismiss the case, apparently hoping that a "not guilty" verdict would moot the issue.

Shortly after the verdict, Orin Kerr posted a tongue-in-cheek revised Terms of Service for The Volokh Conspiracy blog. These revised terms, which required such user promises as "Your middle name is not 'Ralph'," "You're super nice," and "You have never visited Alaska," were meant to illustrate how easily (and routinely) we can violate the use terms of many sites, resulting in potential criminal liability after the Drew decision. Scott Greenfield commented that "As terms of service go, Orin's are relatively reasonable." Greenfield noted that his blog has only one rule ("No assholes"), but that he has and will apply it arbitrarily and ruthlessly. He conceded that it has its limitations (or should):
What I cannot do is make you, dear reader, dear commenter, dear human being, a criminal because of my arbitrary and capricious whims as expressed in my idiosyncratic terms of service. I cannot turn you from good person to venal. I cannot make your perfectly reasonable expectations illegal by my wholly unreasonable ones. I can be as wacky as I want to be here, but I cannot use the criminal laws of Title 18 of the United States Code to back me up.

Until now, after the Lori Drew case. Suddenly, all the absurd nonsense that I might decide to establish as my terms of service take on actual meaning, if this conviction is to stand.

The Game

Many days later, a mysterious vessel approached and maneuvered despite the lack of wind and the still seas. Drawing alongside the Mariner's ship, two figures boarded, a skeleton and a beautiful but pale woman who "thicks man's blood with cold"; these were Death and Night-Mare Life-in-Death and they commenced to play a game of dice. Ultimately, each was satisfied when Death won the lives of the crew and Night-Mare Life-in-Death won the Mariner's, which she deemed the more valuable. As Death departed with his shipmates' lives, the Mariner saw them drop dead, their corpses falling to the deck around him.
One after one, by the star-dogged Moon
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,--
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my CROSS-BOW!

The economic game occupied the minds of many legal bloggers this week. Several wrote about the economics of legal practice, including John Wallbillich, who noted that a short presentation on National Public Radio might signal that a turn away from the Billable Hour concept might be gaining strength. He clarified that "Billable Hour" should be distinguished from "Hourly Billing" in that the latter can be part of many cost control arrangements, but the former "is a regime, characterized by most attorneys charging by the hour, with no alternative control mechanisms save for the individual lawyer’s sense of ethics and the relationship partner’s sense of reasonableness."

The legal blogsphere offered great guidance to solo practitioners this week, as it does every week. Matthew Homann posted "Ten Rules for New Solos," including "If you’re looking for a guru, you can have Foonberg. I’ll take Elefant." For her part, Carolyn Elefant justified Homann's faith. In a pair of posts, she advised solo practitioners to leverage themselves ("rather than rely on costly, highly paid labor to amplify our billable time... use technology and outsourcing to extract more value out out each hour of work we perform"), diversify ("smart solos diversify... both in fees charged and products and services offered"), and find their niche ("Niches... give you broader range [and] are great for the ego because they allow you... to be "the best in the world," even if that world is narrow.").

Enrico Schaefer noted that the current economic climate is collapsing the large firms' "pyramid" structures, whereby these firms needed to continually add more associates at the base to support those attorneys toward the top. He wrote that this change is not all bad: "As law firms start to break up, reorganize, and re-launch, you will begin to see the sort of diversity which many people, both lawyers and clients, have been waiting a long time for. While many see hardship for lawyers over the next few years, we see opportunity." Reminding us that not all affected by the collapse of such pyramid firms are attorneys, Chere Estrin counseled paralegals whose firms may be hit by layoffs. Kashmir Hill profiled a new firm, Axiom, which is seeking to change the structure and culture of a large law firm and to thrive in these troubled economic times.

Blogger Geeklawyer announced a "Revenge Award" for a firm which took a commendably novel and non-litigious approach to a client who failed to pay their bill: "'A City firm reacted to a client's failure to pay its fees by taking a large group of junior lawyers to a bar owned by the client. Having drunk the bar dry, they left without paying the bill.' Geeklawyer rarely doffs his wig to any man on the matter of proffering cold dishes but this unknown firm (someone please say who) gets the much coveted Geeklawyer Revenge Award 2008."

Other bloggers wrote about the economic picture more generally, including Mark Edwards, who was critical of the Bush Administration's scattershot approach to the financial crisis: "The disjointed and ad hoc reaction of the Bush administration to this mortgage crisis stands in stark and disappointing contrast to the systemic reaction of the Roosevelt administration to the last similar mortgage crisis. Henry Paulsen seems to have been assigned the role of Mary Bailey during the bank run scene from It’s a Wonderful Life: rushing into the room with a wad of cash, but with little thought of the future."

Teri Rasmussen discussed the mechanics of the prepackaged bankruptcy: "While superfically appealing, a prepack is far from the panacea some seem to think it could be. To understand why, you first have to understand how prepacks work in general."

Eric Turkewitz, whose outstanding Blawg Review #188 has caused me a number of sleepless nights this week as I prepared this post, discussed the Phillip Morris v. Williams case which could change the economics of punitive damages. He advised that "if the court were to decide whether a 100:1 punitive to compensatory ratio is constitutionally permissible, there are already five votes in favor of upholding the principle of a 100:1 ratio." Lyle Denniston, perhaps the best Supreme Court reporter in or out of the blogosphere, offered a typically comprehensive and insightful preview of the arguments in Williams.

The Voyage

A return voyage surrounded by corpses and plagued by hunger, thirst, and sunburn is no one's idea of a pleasure cruise. The Mariner, after first reassuring the Wedding-Guest that he himself is not returned from the dead, continues his tale. He relates that the ship sailed onward while he persisted in a state of living death until a sight of natural beauty, the passage of a number of glittering water snakes, mended his damaged spirit:
Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The self same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
Finally able to sleep and dream once more, the Mariner awoke to a replenishing rain and a fresh breeze in the sails. Around him, his dead shipmates stirred and resumed the duties they'd performed in life, before finally setting aside their tasks and speaking words of forgiveness to the Mariner:
For when it dawned--they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

The Mariner chose a life at sea and experienced all that it offered -- the mundane and the extraordinary, the routine and the exceptional, the company of crewmates and the boatload of corpses. Similarly, our experiences with the law mix the usual with the unusual and....

Forget it. I'm reaching; you know I'm reaching. Let's end this charade, shall we? Look, I'll level with you... I need a section in this Blawg Review where I can put a number of excellent posts concerning substantive legal issues. I'm going to do it here and I'd appreciate it if you'd just nod and go with it, OK? Thanks.

Frank Pasquale considered whether Google, which has become a gatekeeper for much of the world's online information, should have the right to censor that information: "Bottom line: someone in government has to have the right to determine "if the search algorithm [has become] biased." Without that basic assurance, black box search engines now are about as big a menace as the black box economy was five years ago. We trust the math wizards at Google now as much as we used to admire the financial innovators at Bear Sterns and Goldman. Only time will tell if our faith in the mathematicians was misplaced yet again." Meanwhile, Google's weak sister, Yahoo!, has apparently thrown in the towel on its internet radio project, ceding the project to CBS. David Oxenford discussed whether the move would affect the decisions recently made by the Copyright Royalty Board, which relied at least in part on arguments about internet radio's economic power which have not been borne out.

Maya Richard suggested four tactics to preemptively protect patent assets from patent trolls: monitoring patent filings for applications related to your portfolio; hedging risk with patent infringement insurance; retaining skilled IP counsel to build a case for major patent assets; and joining an industry protection group. Also writing on a patent-related topic was R. David Donaghue, who noted that despite the Twombly decision, "many district courts are requiring that patent defendants plead affirmative defenses and, in some cases, counterclaims to the higher plausibility standard." He suggests remedies for this uneven application of the Twombly standards.

A month after the Presidential election ended and a month before the Minnesota Senate election will end, political topics were on the minds of a couple of legal bloggers this week. Eric Posner considered whether President Bush will pardon officials alleged to have participated in War on Terror-related illegal acts and noted that such pardons would allow the Obama Administration to avoid politically divisive trials: "Obama supporters should probably root for Bush to issue pardons. Bush might be just ornery enough to refuse." Larry Tribe discussed whether the appointment of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State would violate the Emoulments Clause in the Constitution. He noted that this situation has come up before: "In each instance, the constitutional 'fix' for what would otherwise have been an insurmountable Emoluments Clause obstacle took the form of a congressional repeal of the pay raise for the Cabinet office in question, restoring the 'emoluments' for that office to the level that had obtained prior to the election of the relevant Senator."

If, like me, you thought until you read Tribe's post that "emoulments" were those chunks of fauna which decorate our rural highways, Laura Orr had some information which might be of interest. Orr walked us through some rather extensive research into Oregon laws concerning the use of road kill.

Did you think road kill would be the most unlikely legal topic addressed in this Blawg Review? Hah! Ron Coleman explained that "tackiness is not grounds for refusal to register" a trademark. The owners of the Chippendale's male striptease concern are hoping to register their distinctive collar-and-cuffs costume as a trademark and Coleman pointed out that they've lined-up some considerable legal and expert support for their efforts. John Welch noted that the PTO has already "conceded that the Chippendale 'outfit' is product packaging rather than product shape" and Ryan Gile added that, faced with "400 pages of evidence [presented by Chippendale's, the] PTO had no problem recognizing that the Chippendales trade dress had acquired distinctiveness." Rebecca Tushnet suggested that the claims were limited in the application, but confused rather than clarified matters: "If the fact that the torso wearing the collar and bow tie is unclothed is not part of the mark, then any man in an outfit with cuffs and a bow tie is copying the Chippendale's mark."

Ken Adams argued that in contract drafting, we should omit references to "immediate" effect where things are meant to occur automatically upon occurrence of an event, as it implies "that a moment of time, however short, passes" between the event and the occurrence. Once we have a well-drafted contract, how long are we meant to keep it? Generally, a document retention policy would answer that, but is a document retention policy an absolute requirement? Maxwell Kennerly contended that it may not be. Considering a technology publication's suggestion that Apple is in the wrong for not having an applicable written document retention policy during ongoing litigation, Kennerly wrote that the publication is off-base: "I think the problem here is that the lawyer and/or reporter presumed that, in the absence of a company-enforced 'litigation hold' on documents, the employees would not or could not comply fully with that hold. But that's because they presume Apple works like most companies, destroying documents and files as quickly as they can so as not to leave evidence of anything, thereby (they hope) frustrating plaintiffs' cases."

A number of blogs and bloggers covered various types of speech and speech restrictions this week. The Citizen Media Law Project blog discussed a matter which concerned anonymous speech. After securing a restraining order and a preliminary injunction against a blogging critic, an attorney sought to enforce these against a new blog run by an anonymous blogger. Although the blog was initially taken down, it was restored by Blogger when the anonymous proprietor denied that he was the person against whom the attorney had his injunction (and, presumably, the attorney was unable to offer evidence that he was).

Daithí Mac Síthigh described a controversy caused by an Irish law which prohibits religious advertising. A Catholic bookseller sought to advertise and its ads were rejected by the national broadcasting authority; Mac Síthigh, while expressing no opinion on the underlying law, was critical of some comments by those involved in the case and characterizations of those comments in the press: "There is little that is new here. There is perhaps a relatively minor, but interesting argument to be made over whether the legislative provision is being interpreted correctly. There is a broader argument over whether the provision should be amended or repealed.... I smell a publicity stunt."

Tim Nelson and Robert Milligan reported a recent case which demonstrated that attorneys who fail to observe the letter of protective orders concerning trade secrets do so at their own financial peril. In the matter, trade secrets were improperly put into the public record despite being filed under seal; "[the sanctioned] attorney allegedly notified her client that the declaration was in the court’s public file. The client then sent three people to view the public file and to take notes so that an argument could be made that the alleged trade secrets had been publicly disclosed. The client also had a copying service make a digital copy of the confidential declaration." The appellate court upheld sanctions imposed, determining "that the attorney’s actions were frivolous and were taken in bad faith."

Kimberly Alderman made an argument for holding privately-funded museums to a lower standard for disclosures of the provenance of antiquities they display: "To apply legislation requiring full disclosure to private museums is to act as if there is no such thing as the legal trade in antiquities. It is to invite Big Brother into the private sphere to inspect personal actions and possessions for ethical/moral compliance."

The Tale

As the Mariner's ship surged onward, propelled by the spirits of the deep, he heard two ghostly voices in dialog. The first voice condemned the Mariner for killing the albatross who cared for him and his crewmates, but the second voice, a softer one, suggested that the Mariner had done penance for his crime and would continue to do so. When the Mariner's ship reached its safe harbor, the souls of the dead departed as angels:
This seraph band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light:

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart--
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

A ship's pilot, his son, and a hermit holy man rowed out to meet the ship. I know that sounds like the set-up for a joke, but I swear it's in the poem. Anyhow, as they approached the vessel, it disappeared into a whirlpool, carrying with it the corpses of the crew and leaving the Mariner behind in the water. When he is rescued, the Mariner looks to the holy man to absolve him of his sins. The hermit can offer him no absolution, but the Mariner finds some measure of peace and release from guilt in telling his story.

This then becomes the cycle of the Mariner's life. As the voice had predicted during his return, he continues his penance for what he has done. The nature of that penance is described by the Mariner:
Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns;
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

A slightly-creepy guy telling stories to anyone who'll pause to listen? Give that Ancient Mariner a Blogger account and a pair of pajamas!

By nature, lawyers are, communicators. The development of blogging and other social media have provided us fresh avenues for communication but not without presenting new technical, practical, and ethical challenges. A number of legal bloggers wrote about these issues this week.

Noting that most experiments fail, Scott Greenfield wrote about one experiment which wildly succeeded -- his Simple Justice blog -- and about the recent marketing controversy which has played itself out on that blog and many others:
I've leraned that Simple Justice has gone far, far astray of its purpose, an outlet for me to write about things that interest me. Nothing more. I will continue to write about things that interest me whenever the mood strikes. I will continue to respond to comments in whatever way I chose. I will continue to take the position in which I believe, even if it's unpopular or, God forbid, boring to others . . . . It is indeed self-indulgent. Everything about Simple Justice is self-indulgent. That's why I write. I'm not you, and I don't chose to be you. I have no plans on letting any reader define me or my purpose. If you still don't get it, then you never will. And if you never want to read Simple Justice again, I'm fine with that. But thanks for your help with my experiment.
Susan Cartier Liebel touched on that marketing controversy by defining what marketing is and isn't and by noting that marketing is not a dirty word: "[T]rue marketing is all about the customer or (in the legal profession) the client and client-orientation is the cornerstone to client satisfaction which results in profitability (hopefully) for the lawyer. If done correctly it is positioned as a 100%/100% win for client and lawyer." Doing legal marketing correctly is not difficult for Cartier Liebel, but it seems that it is for some. Mark Bennett discussed, in a pair of posts, a marketer who seems to not be doing it correctly and may be doing a disservice to those attorneys whose names he "promotes." He cautioned that "[t]he ethics of marketing are not the ethics of lawyering" and that attorneys "are (must be) responsible for what they are paying people to say on their own behalf."

For those legal marketers who are looking to do things correctly, Omar Ha-Redeye covered a seminar concerning social media awareness for legal marketing professionals: "What used to be a book is today a long series of blog posts or a couple dozen podcasts. The format is much more cost effective, and produces more palatable consumer content." Perhaps the American Bar Association should've attended that social media seminar. At the ABA's new LegallyMinded site, Doug Cornelius struggled through a poorly-designed sign-up process only to find that content was lacking and that it was difficult to connect with other users. He concludes, "I think they missed the mark with LegallyMinded." At least he managed to get there to find out; Robert Ambrogi noted that the buggy site wouldn't even allow him to log on.

For those of us who still think there's a bit of life in this older blogging thing, Greg Lambert offered an outstanding list of large law firm blogs, with assessments whether those firms seem proud or merely tolerant of their official blogs.

At or slightly beyond the cutting edge this week was blogger Charon QC. Forget blogging and forget podcasting; in a -- um, unique -- video presentation he's interviewed the British Home Secretary about the recent Damien Green affair, wearing nothing but an Australian bush hat. Although he puts some tough and much-needed questions to the government, it appeared that it was Charon who got a "dressing down" from Jacqui Smith.

Adrian Lurssen (@JDTwitt) has compiled the definitive list of lawyers and other legal professionals on Twitter. When the list was originally posted just a few months ago, it comprised only 145 names; it now has more than 500. I'm on there (@colinsamuels), as are many of the bloggers whose posts have been highlighted in this Blawg Review. If you're on Twitter and free to follow me, I'll do my best to make it worthwhile.

The Departure

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner concludes:
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us
He made and loveth all.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
Thus ends the one hundred eighty-ninth edition of Blawg Review.

As was the case in Blawg Reviews #35, #86, and #137, the engravings which accompanied each of the sections of this week's issue are by Gustave Doré; these images are from an illustrated edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner published in 1876. A larger version of each picture is available by clicking on the image. The edition of the poem from which I quoted is available online through Project Gutenberg. A slightly later version of Doré's illustrated edition is available through Google Book Search and is embedded below:

Blawg Review sails on next week when Marc Randazza and his Satyriconistas at The Legal Satyricon host.

Blawg Review has information about next week's host and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.


Anonymous said...

Colin - very enjoyable - good choice of Theme.... and thanks for the mention about my new bushman's hat.

Good stuff

Anonymous said...

The bar keeps getting higher and higher on Blawg Review. This was phenomenal. Thanks for including me.

I'm already starting to break out in hives, again, for when I reappear as Blawg reviewer on January 12th!

Anonymous said...

I can never do Blawg Review again if this is the expected perfomance. Bravo.

Victor said...

Great Review - I really like the choice of theme.

Thanks for including my post.

Eric Turkewitz said...

Nicely done. Should we expect Gunga Din next year? Or the more populist Casey at the Bat?

I knew I shoulda paid attention in those English classes I was forced to take.

Unknown said...

I'm thinking of taking things in a new direction next time around. I've done epic poetry to death, but I've not built a Blawg Review around the very underappreciated dirty limerick. "There was a young lawyer from...."

Thanks to all for the kind words.

Doug Cornelius said...

Colin -

That was a heck of a Blawg Review.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your blog was gorgeous, really. Good job.

Thank you for the inclusion. *blush*

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous blog! The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is my favorite The fantastic details in the story are well-suited to vivid illustration, the ideas of crime and punishment in the poem, and the poet's attitude to the natural world are brilliant. Another reason why i love it is due to the strange, macabre, uncanny or “Gothic” elements.

This is an excellent poem and if anyone has not read it yet! off to the store you go!