Monday, December 26, 2011

My 2011 #Clawbie Nominees

I typically like to do a year end wrap-up to accompany my Clawbie nominations.  This is my 2011 edition.

A significant development this year was the emergence of Twitter as a truly vital hub for the profession's online written contributions. Twitter now rivals law blogs in terms of volume of participation and as a reliable source of immediate legal information, particularly about current and breaking news and developments.

And in fact, I did find myself doing more tweeting than blogging in 2011 - posting legal headlines on Twitter in real time, and then reposting those headlines at this blog with our daily 140 Law summaries, to be specific.

All was not silent at Wise Law Blog in 2011, of course - aside from our daily updates we continued posting Ontario Court of Appeal Reports and ongoing employment law and topical updates.  I'd like to thank Robert Tanha, Rachel Spence, Christopher Bird and Alim Ramji for their contributions all year long.

This was not a year, however, in which I found myself doing that much analytical writing, in the traditional blogging sense.  My extra-curricular attentions, frankly, were mostly focused on chairing two Law Society of Upper Canada CPD programmes in October and November, Ethical Considerations in the Age of Technology  I'd like to take a moment to talk about these two webinars.

In many ways, I believe they reflected yet another "coming of age moment" for the Canadian law blogging community, as our Law Society called upon four law bloggers to host two accredited professionalism programmes on the ethical considerations affecting blogging, social media, online marketing and living in "the Cloud."

Over 5,000 Ontario lawyers and paralegals joined us for these two programmes.  As I noted during the webinars, that may mean we had more viewers than SunTV  (and deservedly so, I might modestly add)!

That Canada's law bloggers were afforded this honour and acknowledgment by our regulators is noteworthy, to say the least.  It is certainly not something I imagined when I started this blog in April 2005.

The tremendous volume of legal information, opinion and analysis now emerging from our nation's excellent law blogs and twitter feeds is of enormous benefit to the public, the media and the profession, as a whole.  It is genuinely worthy of collective kudos.  That our regulators are also recognizing the important role played by the blogging community is extremely gratifying.

I implicitly cast my 2011 Clawbie votes when I asked Bob Tarantino (@bobtarantino) Mitch Kowalski (@mekowalski) and Omar Ha-Redeye (@omarharedeye) to join me as panelists for these webinars.  Today, I'd like to make that official with these nominations:
  • Bob Tarantino's Entertainment and Media Law Signal continues to be an excellent example of a well-written, thoughtful and consistently updated blog.  Its niche focus allows it to consider both substance and nuance with a depth of understanding and humour that I have learned is highly representative of Bob's own abundant talent as a legal professional.
  • Mitch Kowalski is a regular contributor to the Financial Post Legal Post, and while his focus there is on the offbeat and wacky developments in the law, he has also emerged in 2011 as one of the profession's most persuasive and outspoken proponents of practising law in the Cloud. Never afraid to speak his mind,  Mitch has taken it upon himself to urge the profession to a speedy embrace of a modernity our clients are increasingly going to demand.  It behooves us all to listen.
  • Finally, Omar Ha-Redeye. The Zelig of the Ontario bar, if there is an event or function somewhere in the legal community, Omar will probably be there - and a thoughtful and insightful blog post will almost certainly follow at Slaw,, or his old alma mater, Law is Cool.  For a man who was called to the Bar only a few months ago, he has already left quite the footprint throughout the profession.
You can see Bob, Mitch and Omar in action - in living colour - in this video.

In addition, I'd also like to mention:
  • Barry Sookman's blog  and Twitter feed, which provide an impressive collection of up-to-date reports and summaries on computer and internet law and are a must-follow for the tech-minded among us.
As a friend of the North, I'll nominate New York Personal Injury Law Blog's Eric Turkewitz. Aside from his annual April 1 festivities which have an increasingly Pan-American list of co-conspirators, Eric is doing much to assert and protect the freedom of expression of all law bloggers, north and south of the border, in his role as defence counsel for many - including Canadian lawyers - caught in the web of ongoing litigation brought in New York State against numerous (too many to mention) leading law bloggers.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention the contributions made by Mark Robins, as a builder of Toronto's burgeoning law blogger community. While I have no interest in wading into the so-called controversy about the place of legal marketers and social media professionals in the law blogging world, I'd like to note with thanks that no-one has been more active than Mark in encouraging Toronto's law bloggers to come together for the regular meet-ups that are now, always, among the highlights of my professional calendar.

If nothing else, our blogger meet-ups have proven that law bloggers are a genuinely interesting and entertaining group with a whole lot in common, aside from our chosen careers.

Thanks to Steve Matthews for once again taking the time to recognize this worthy group with this year's 6th Annual Clawbie Awards.

And good luck to all in the Clawbie hunt.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
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