Monday, September 23, 2013

Readers Pitch In To Support An Independent Voice Among The Top 50 Law Blogs In North America

Murphy Abigail Shuler, the schnauzer
who inspired a top 50 law blog
We have been heartened by response to the first fund-raising campaign in Legal Schnauzer history. For six-plus years, this blog has been a "no profit" enterprise, with no ads, no donate button, no form of external support. That changed last Thursday when we installed a donate button in the upper left-hand corner of the blog, and we are pleased to report that a number of readers have been most generous in their support.

Why does this matter? A look at a 2012 ranking of "The Top 50 Independent Law Blogs in North America" provides perspective. And it suggests Legal Schnauzer might be the only blog of its kind in the Unites States and Canada. To be sure, the number of like blogs is extremely small.

Cision, a Chicago-based social media/marketing firm, compiled the ranking, and we were pleased to discover that Legal Schnauzer came in at No. 37. Actually, we were more than pleased; we were stunned, almost speechless--and regular readers know that is an unusual state for us.

How many law blogs are there in North America? We don't know, but our research indicates they number well into the hundreds of thousands; wouldn't be surprised if it tops a million. To think that a one-man operation like Legal Schnauzer could break through all of that clutter to reach the top 50 . . . well, I'm still dumbfounded--especially when you consider I did nothing to push for inclusion in the Cision survey, and I didn't even know it was taking place.

Perhaps the most curious element of the Cision rankings is its use of the word "independent" to describe the blogs on the list. I've read everything I can find about Cision and its surveys, but I still don't know what they mean by "independent law blogs." My best guess is that it refers to legal blogs that are not attached to any form of mainstream media, such as a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast outlet.

I've researched each blog in the top 50 and discovered many of them are not as "independent" as it might appear--certainly not when compared to the kind of independence we have here at Legal Schnauzer. In fact, it appears that LS is one of only two blogs on the list that could be called truly independent.

Do most of the blogs on the Cision list receive some sort of institutional support? The answer is a yes, and here is a breakdown:

* Of the 50 blogs, 47 are written by lawyers; those lawyers are connected to law firms of various sizes;

* Of the 50 blogs, 27 are group blogging efforts, including more than one author. Some have a dozen or more writers;

* Of the 50 blogs, 13 are connected to law schools;

* Three of the blogs are tied to a major publishing house, American Lawyer Media.

* One of the blogs, LSAT Blog: Ace the LSAT, appears tied to a business enterprise, with ties to the legal and publishing fields.

Legal Schnauzer is the only blog on the list that is based in Alabama, and only four others are in the Southeast--three in Florida and one in Atlanta.

The only other truly independent blog on the list appears to be Grits for Breakfast, which focuses on the Texas criminal justice system and came in at No. 3. It is the work of Scott Henson, who describes himself as "a a former journalist turned opposition researcher/political consultant, public policy researcher and blogger."

Henson has been an associate editor at Texas Observer and has worked for the ACLU, the Sunshine Project for Police Accountability, and the Innocence Project of Texas. He has an impressive background, and if I am alone in his company on the Cision list . . . well, that seems like a pretty good place to be.

This much is clear: Independent voices in the legal blogosphere are rare. We are fortunate here at Legal Schnauzer to have readers who recognize the value in what we do. Whether their support is financial, moral, emotional, informational, or otherwise, it all is greatly appreciated.

For the record, it's probably safe to say that we are the only law blog that draws inspiration from the memory of a beloved pet. Our work is dedicated to Murphy Abigail Shuler (1993-2004), the miniature schnauzer who helped us survive some of the darkest days of our personal legal nightmare. Since starting this blog, I've heard from an extraordinary number of similar victims; they come from all corners of the United States.

That reminds me of Hillary Clinton, who is famed for saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." I've come to learn that it also takes a village to shine a spotlight on a broken justice system.

Legal Schnauzer might be a one-man operation, but it's never been a one-man effort. Those who have pitched in to help have our deepest gratitude.


Anonymous said...

Go get 'em, Schnauzer. Grrr!

Anonymous said...

Your work has staying power, LS. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

That ranking in the top 50 law blogs is awesome. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Thanks MURPH. You've become an inspiration for me.
Continue on your daily routine, sniffing out those in sheep's clothing, who are, actually wolves.
And let us know if Shu doesn't give you treats now and then, you hear!

Spasmoda said...

Glad to see brave, important reporting get recognized.

Anonymous said...

The way I read this, you are No. 2 among blogs that are independent of any external or institutional support.

That makes this ranking even more impressive.

Molli said...

Ever so grateful to you and your hard work. Invaluable service. Congratulations and thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the breakdown of the law blogs, about where they originate. Guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it's interesting that 47 of the 50 are written by lawyers. They seem to have a grip on legal information.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why American Lawyer Media blogs are included in the ranking. Doesn't seem fair to compare them to a one-man shop like yours.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were so many law blogs out there, that so many law firms and law professions write blogs.

legalschnauzer said...

I didn't know it either until recently, @3:04. There are several companies that have services where they help lawyers establish blogs. I believe Lexus Nexus has such a service, maybe WestLaw. I can't remember all of the company names, but some pretty big players are involved in helping to generate law blogs.

Imaboogieman said...

LS..we appreciate all you do and hopefully something will come of it.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks, boogieman. Are you a Taylor Hicks fan? I think he has a fan site called the "Boogie Board," and your name reminded me of that.

I gotta ask this, too: Do you wear Boogie Shoes? How are they in terms of footwear?

(Long live KC and the Sunshine Band!)

Anonymous said...

LS spirit called. Murph's students appeared cause they know and knew the feel of pure uncorrupted truth, reality.

Those that oppose the Murph LS Spirit are those that are the poor degenerates whom got hold of really bad poisons and can't be trusted to be leaders of a world that has been made fully transparent.

technology captured the militant technocrats in their own no boundaries in exposed x-rated opposite behavior of any and all truth, justice, due process, rule of law, real us constitution and bill of rights stuff.

bad choices aren't often fond memories shared amongst the craggy vermin that are always swapping spit and bodily pus slime in swamps with colors of regulations for those that might catch the human filth really.

LS caught the craggy vermin mafioso slithering in the dark places lit up like churches or other such artificial 'gov'.

Alabama can attempt to do a recover from the sunshine, but to no avail --big boner got dug up and the pack of real dogs saw just how artificial the bad puppy was and is, fraudulent US leaders as life time servants for the bone that isn't but debt slavery.

NOT S.M.A.R.T. 'the' craggy vermin and well endowed as a teen isn't the same, where's the photo non shopped of wee willie pryor billy dick do too-today?

we need to check and compare to ascertain forensics are totally in control of the situation and therefore, no loose hand jobs to circle jerk some more of the same ole hunting club member of males causing a temperature to rise in the oh sacred pee pee HERE YOUR HONORS Roaches In Robes at our disposable - to the fires - some people eat the cooked 'protein' and so there, dogs n'bones.

Boogieman said...

No LS I don't wear boogie shoes anymore..Had to give them up 30 plus years ago...after I would "Get Down Tonight."....LOL..

Anonymous said...

Nice little find.


legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sending, @11:26. That is a very interesting take on the story.