Canadian, Please (#CLawBies2012)

Every December the good folks at Stem Legal encourage bloggers to promote the many fabulous Canadian law blogs that are now available. And this year is no exception: a quick look at the #Clawbies2012 Twitter hashtag reveals some worthy additions for your RSS feedreader. As a Canadian living in the United States, it’s my great pleasure to do my part for this commendable effort. So I’m offering my nominations for the 2012 CLawBies awards based on blog posts regarding one of my favorite topics — social media and the law:

I’d encourage you to check out these blogs, as well as other blogs listed on the website. In addition, check out the Canadian, Please video I’ve posted above (make sure you turn on the captions!). Once you’ve finished both exercises, you might understand better why Andrew Gunadie and Julia Bentley claim in the video, “I know that you wanna be Canadian.”




In Praise of Older Blogs (#ClawBies2011)

Maple Leaves The older I get, the more I appreciate the effort it takes to get the important things done right.  Blogging is no exception.  Lots of blogs (and their bloggers) start out with a bright burst of energy and enthusiasm, only to falter when they come face to face with the realities of regular blogging.  As I have learned, it is very hard to maintain a schedule of regular blogging.  So I  remain impressed by those who do.  Equally impressive are the folks who have been blogging for years, but still find a reason to blog regularly and, more importantly, still find something interesting to say to their readers.

Accordingly, on this occasion of the the nominations for the 2011 ClawBies Awards, I thought I should pay tribute to Canadian bloggers who are relative “old-timers” in terms of their length of service in the blogging field.  Their longevity is a testament to their creativity, mastery of the art, and stick-with-itness:

  • Connie Crosby.  Let me start by nominating “Info Diva” and consultant, Connie Crosby.  Blogging since 2004, Connie consistently provides her readers with the latest information and guidance in the areas of information management, social media and legal libraries.  In addition to her own blog, Connie is a contributor to the phenomenal blog. Active on Twitter and in several professional groups that meet face-to-face, Connie is a blogging leader.
  • Garry J. Wise. The Wise Law Blog casts its net widely, covering legal, political and technology topics.  Garry started the blog in 2005 and has been joined over the years by contributors from his firm and by the occasional guest blogger.  In addition, he and his colleagues provide legal news updates via Wise Law on Twitter. The “140Law” headlines give readers a quick way to track legal developments in their Twitter feed.
  • Allison Wolf.  Blogging since 2006, Allison provides timely and thoughtful advice in The Lawyer Coach Blog.  If you take a moment to read some of her posts, you’ll soon discover that her coaching advice is not limited to the world of lawyers and law firms.  Rather, it has broader application across a variety of workplaces.  In addition to her blog, Allison is a columnist on

There is an old proverb that claims that “old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.”  While I know little about the chronological ages of the bloggers nominated here, the quality of their blogging suggests that they have cornered the market on skill.  On behalf of their readers past, present and future, I wish them many more years of continued blogging success.

[Photo Credit: Hugh Bell]


America Borders on the Magnificent

“America Borders on the Magnificent” was the tag line of a brilliant series of posters promoting travel to Canada in the 1980s.  I proudly displayed these posters on my dorm walls and loved the look on the faces of my US classmates when the meaning of that tag line finally dawned on them.  I was reminded of the truth of that tag line as I carried out my annual review of the magnificent Canadian legal blogging scene in preparation for this post nominating blogs for the 2010 Canadian Law Blog Awards (the CLawBies). Started in 2006, these awards recognize bloggers relevant to the Canadian legal blogosphere.  The nominees ran the gamut from well-established blogging icons to newbies in need of an encouraging word.  In each case, the nominations and awards have been handled in a typically Canadian fashion — with warmth, generosity and modesty.

Since I have readers on both side of the border, I’m hopeful that this post will remind my readers in more southernly  climes that casting their reading nets up north can yield some rich results.  There truly are some fantastic bloggers between the 49th parallel and Alaska. To get a sense of the full range of Canadian blogs available, take a look at the Canadian Law Blogs List maintained by Stem Legal.  For a quick sample, here are my nominations for the 2010 CLawBies:

  • David Ma offers a nice blend of legal insights and practical technology advice on Techblawg.  While the black letter law he discusses may not be as helpful south of the border, lawyers and non-lawyers alike will be grateful for his guidance on common technical challenges such as handling the fall-out of the end of Delicious.
  • The writers at Blogosaurus Lex aim high. Sponsored by Alberta’s Legal Resource Centre, their goal is to speed public education about the law.  Their posts are practical and written in plain English.  This is entirely in keeping with what they call their Guiding Ideal:  “Law plays an essential role in the maintenance of a democracy. It is a bulwark against tyranny and a mechanism for advancing the cause of justice. Public legal education is, therefore, fundamentally, citizenship education that ensures that the public understands and supports the rule of law, makes effective use of the justice system, and engages effectively in ensuring the system meets the changing needs of society.”
  • Samantha Collier is a marketing professional with the patience necessary to work with lawyers.  And, she’s willing to tackle a subject regarding which many lawyers are skeptical or scared:  social media.  Her Social Media for Law Firms blog covers a range of issues that lawyers and law firms on the cutting edge should be considering such as building a social media strategy, optimizing your use of popular social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and how to handle online criticism.  It’s topical and it’s practical.

No review of Canadian legal blogging would be complete without recognition of the continued excellence exhibited by Connie Crosby, Jordan Furlong and the entire blogging team at Slaw.  When I referred to “blogging icons” at the beginning of the post, these were the folks I had in mind.  They set an impressively high standard for the rest of us.

[Photo Credit: vtgard]