In addition to yours truly, a number of my blog pals were selected to the ABA's top 100 blogs for 2012. Kudos to:
Because of its perceived friendliness to corporations, the Delaware Court of Chancery is where much corporate litigation goes down, and Wilmington-based attorney Francis Pileggi is a dedicated reporter of its findings. His excellent case summaries and explanations of Delaware law make this one to follow.
Allen Matkins partner Keith Paul Bishop in Irvine, Calif., posts every weekday about the latest in corporate and securities law for California and Nevada. “A real joy to read as compared to other dull and dry academic presentations in this practice area!” —Alan Parness of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in Manhattan
“Overlawyered.com blogs about the American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public’s expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.” —Michael Schearer, a student at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law
The layout, lineup of writers and libertarian leanings have stayed the same, as well as the blog’s focus on constitutional law issues in the news (although there is a little more about legal education in the past year). Which is to say, it’s still a great blog, and there’s no other one with contributors so engaged with each other that they’ll spontaneously post dueling updates on a topic within the same day—or maybe within the same hour.
The Volokh Conspiracy has been named to the ABA Law Blog Hall of Fame:
The Volokh Conspiracy: The layout, lineup of writers and libertarian leanings have stayed the same, as well as the blog’s focus on constitutional law issues in the news (although there is a little more about legal education in the past year). Which is to say, it’s still a great blog, and there’s no other one with contributors so engaged with each other that they’ll spontaneously post dueling updates on a topic within the same day—or maybe within the same hour.
I'm delighted to once again have been named to the ABA's top 100 law and lawyer blogs. I'm especially gratified by Francis Pileggi's kind remarks, which the ABA quoted in the announcement:
“Professor Bainbridge is often cited by the Delaware courts in their opinions due to their recognition of his expertise in corporate law. In addition to citations to his books and articles, the court also has cited to his blog posts. [UCLA prof Stephen Bainbridge’s] blog is required reading for those who want the most current insights on corporate law developments from one of the foremost corporate law scholars in the country. His perceptive posts on culture and current events are also enjoyable.” —Francis Pileggi, Delaware Corporate & Commercial Litigation Blog
This is the 5th time in the 6-year history of the award that I've made the list.
It's not because I'm preoccupied with my stats or obsessed with climbing the rankings in Paul Caron's quarterly survey of law professor blogs. (Both of those things are true, of course, they're just not the reason for this specific decision.) As James Joyner observed recently, Sitemeter has been acting up for a while now:
I’ve been using SiteMeter since the earliest days* of OTB, going back to February 4, 2003. There have been some glitches from time to time over the years but, for the most part, it’s done a good job of tracking visits in real time. It’s been down for three days now and, given that their website hasn’t been updated in years—they’re still “sponsored” by the old Truth Laid Bear site, which hasn’t been in operation in forever—I’m wondering if there’s anyone there doing maintenance anymore.
... SiteMeter has always had three advantages that kept it on my site. First, because I’ve used it since the beginning, it give me a steady state measure. Second, because it was so ubiquitous in those early days, it gives me a means of comparing performance to other blogs. Third, it lets me know who’s on my site and sending people to my site in real time. Google Analytics, by contrast, tells me who was on the site yesterday.
In addition to the problems James notes, Sitemeter has been very glitchy lately. Sometimes the counter widget shows two counters. Sometimes the widget code wipes out the entire sidebar.
Like James, I'm pretty dissatisfied with Sitemeter right now. But also like James, at least for right now, I've used Sitemeter since the biog started and the three advantages he cites apply to my site as well. (it's sort of a path dependency story, kind of.) But I'm going to experiment with Statcounter and maybe Google Analytics to see if I can get more stable and accurate stats, because if Sitemeter keeps resting on its laurels, there may come a time when those advantages no longer justify using it. (After all, sometimes following a path gets so costly not even strong path dependency can justify continuing to follow it.)
The LA Times carries an article today on a new solar film being developed at UCLA: (excerpt)
One of the holy grails of solar cell technology may have been found, with researchers at UCLA announcing they have created a new organic polymer that produces electricity, is nearly transparent and is more durable and malleable than silicon. The applications are mind-boggling. Windows that produce electricity. Buildings wrapped in transparent solar cells. Laptops and phones – or even cars or planes – whose outer coverings act as chargers. It might even be sprayed on as a liquid. The promise of cheap and easy-to-apply site-generated solar electricity might now be a lot closer to reality. Of course, the idea of solar films and solar plastics is not new. The breakthrough to making a transparent film, however, came with isolating only one band of light in the spectrum.“[A solar film] harvests light and turns it into electricity. In our case, we harvest only the infrared part,” says Professor Yang Yang at UCLA’s California Nanosystems Institute, who has headed up the research on the new photovoltaic polymer. Absorbing only the infrared light, he explains, means the material doesn’t have to be dark or black or blue, like most silicon photovoltaic panels. It can be clear. “We have developed a material that absorbs infrared and is all transparent to the visible light.”...
Very cool. Makes one proud to be a Bruin.
Paul Caron has posted his periodic ranking of law blogs. Although my blog has had a public site meter for a while, PB.com isn't included in the rankings. FWIW, during 2011, we had 646,397 visitors, which would have ranked 15th, and 1,046,349 page views, which would have ranked 14th.
Dave Hoffman explains why he keeps at it after ten years:
I doubt that blogging has made me a better scholar. I don’t think my blog posts have made a bit of difference in public debates. (It might have, but the effect is incidental and contingent, not by design.) I certainly don’t think that Concurring Opinions has built a deep virtual community (cf. Volokh) to play with. (Maybe we should?) When I look around, I can think of only a few examples of law professors whose blogging has moved the needle. Then again, the same is true of long-form scholarship! Blogging is a cheap form of self-expression, and it’s nice to own my own printing press. It is as simple as that.
I think blogging has made me a more visible scholar, but am agnostic as to whether it's made me better.
I think my blogging impacted at least one debate; namely, Harriet Miers. Matt Bodie, for example, kindly observed that I "was of material importance in making the conservative case against her." My blogging about the STOCK Act is the other case where I think I had an impact, since it got me in touch with key staffers. But that's about it.
I don't have a deep virtual community. I've stopped trying to build one. Indeed, my current attitude is summed up by the moment in the 1980 Presidential campaign when Ronald Reagan declared "I paid for this microphone." This is not a public forum. I pay for it. If you want a microphone, pay for one of your own.
At bottom, however, I completely agree with Hoffman's last point. When I was growing up, I wanted to be an author. I love writing and blogging has been a fun way of scratching that itch.
Steve Bradford, Eric Chaffee, Josh Fershee, Anne Tucker, and Stefan Padfield will no longer be blogging at Business Law Prof starting next week. Since that's pretty much the entire masthead, who will be blogging there going forward? And why is the whole masthead quitting at once? Did Law Blog head honcho Paul Caron purge the incumbents? Did they quit en masse? Enquiring minds want to know, to coin a phrase.
Among the many public services rendered by Francis Pileggi's blogging is his annual roundup of important Delaware cases. It's a must read for me, as a check to make sure I haven't missed anything. Inevitably, there will be some case(s) that slipped past me during the year but about which I am glad to now know.
I just read Pileggi's 2011 post. How did I miss Openlane?
Matt Bodie chides Roberta Romano, Larry Ribstein, and I for standing up for ourselves against John Coffee's (as Romano put it) "serial namecalling." We could quibble about whether what Coffee wrote is actually insulting; I still think so given our history. Indeed, it's curious that Bodie leaves out and reference to the Sgt. Schultz crack (which admittedly still rankles).
Bodie also complains that we've all "Called a major piece of federal legislation "quack corporate governance.'" BFD. There's a huge difference between uncivil towards a person and being uncivil about a piece of legislation.
So Bodie's main complaint is that Larry and I have been uncivil from time to time when blogging. I concede the charge. Although I'm usually a pretty civil fellow even on this site, there have been more than a few times when I cut loose with a few zingers. But so what?
In his essay The Circumstances of Civility, Brian Leiter defines civility as "showing respect for the other person or persons with whom one is conversing; avoiding insulting, demeaning or derisive language (or gestures); and genuinely listening to (and trying to make good sense of) what the other person says." A good working definition. I'll adopt it.
But when should one be civil?
Leiter argues that context matters:
Some philosophers with Kantian intuitions think that civility is always a general requirement of respect for persons, an intuition that I do not share, and for which I can not think of any compelling arguments, and many objectionable counter-examples, like those in the text: treating Nazis in Weimar with civility seems to me a moral failing on the part of their opponents, not a requirement of respect. Such a demanding conception of civility would also be incompatible with derisive polemics (think H.L. Mencken), which often play an important role in political and social life.
Instead of being a universal value, Leiter argues that civility is a paramount virtue in settings characterized by "epistemic values and motives: knowledge, understanding, learning, and the desire for all of these."
Leiter offers teaching as the prime example of such a circumstance. I would argue that formal scholarship and academic conferences, however, come in as close seconds. They are conversations in which people are trying to exchange knowledge and learn from one another. Incivility in those contexts distorts the conversation and therefore tends to impede the epistemic values inherent in those contexts.
Blogging is something else entirely. It's not a conversation (at least the way i do it), it's a monoloque. To be sure, there's some learning and imparting of knowledge going on, but there's also politics, football, and so on. Insults, disparaging or derisive remarks, and even expressions of contempt have been part and parcel of the enterprise since the start. No sensible person would deny that Leiter is a serious and important scholar, for example, but he admits to routinely be uncivil in the blogosphere:
It has, on occasion, been noted that gentleness is not the hallmark of my postings on this blog, at least on matters of a political nature. The fans call it the "no bullshit" approach, pungent, acerbic. This law student calls me, aptly enough, "the man who blogs with a hammer," while Jeremy Stangroom at Butterflies & Wheels says I am "everyone's favorite Rottweiler." (I'm not sure about everyone's.) Dispassionate discursiveness is not the medium in which I generally operate here, a fact for which some of my philosopher friends occasionally take me to task.
While I've never had the misfortune of being a target of Brian's rapier wit, some of the things other people have said about yours truly in the blogosphere make comparing one to Sgt. Schultz sound like a compliment. Because I know the blogosphere is a rough place, I've mostly ignored them or, rarely, responded in kind. In contrast, I both give and expect civility in scholarly settings, which is why I took issue with Coffee.
There's a time and a place for "Dispassionate discursiveness" and a time and a place for incivility. I'm comfortable with where I've chosen to draw the line.