If you’re on Facebook, we’ve already pestered you to sign up as a “Fan” of Overlawyered. If you’re also on the BlogNetworks application, we’d like to pester you to take an additional step: visit the Overlawyered page there, become a reader, and confirm that I am indeed the owner/proprietor. Once a relatively small number of readers do these things, the system will pick us up and we’ll have a new avenue of distribution.
I mostly leave regular visitors alone to say what they want in our comments section, whether or not I agree. That being said:
Given this site’s subject matter, we often find ourselves talking about cases of injury or death that pose unthinkable tragedies to the persons and families involved. Given the identifying material in the stories, it is inevitable that members of those families, or others who deeply care about the injured persons, or the persons themselves, will at some point come to the site and read what we have said.
When we voice our disagreement with the claims made in resulting lawsuits, it can be helpful to imagine those family members’ faces as being among those in the audience, and let our words be shaped accordingly. I’m sure I sometimes fall short of following this advice myself, but when I do follow it, I always feel like more of a grown-up.
In case you missed it, yesterday’s post on the disputes over bandwidth, cable speeds and BitTorrent has prompted an unusually rich discussion with contributions from many knowledgeable readers — I know I’ve learned a lot. Check it out here.
We continue to hear reports, scattered and so far unexplained, from readers around the world who get an “unavailable” or “forbidden” message when they call up https://www.overlawyered.com in their browser. Thus some readers in Australia have no problem with access to the site, while others have reported that they are blocked; and we got a similarly inconsistent report the other day from New Zealand.
The Australian lawyer who writes the interesting blog Stumblng Tumblr writes to say that
I have outflanked the problem. I only regret that it took me so long to think of it. I use Bloglines and it permits me to choose how much of a feed I want to see in Bloglines itself. It finally occurred to me to change the setting for Overlawyered to show the full post in Bloglines in every case, rather than just a summary. That means that I don’t have to go to your site. I just read it all in Bloglines.
I’m very happy to be able to read Overlawyered again!
Without our loyal audience we wouldn’t have made it through nine years — and wide acclaim as the oldest legal blog, as well as one of the most popular. In yesterday’s thread, reader Greg Dwyer says he has “read every single post on this site” (I’m impressed) while reader M.T. Glass discovered this blog (a word that didn’t exist then, if memory serves) when it was less than two months old.
Partly in consequence of our popular WordPress redesign we’ve also been setting new traffic records, regularly surpassing 9,000 and often hitting 10,000 unique daily visitors. Thanks for your support! (& welcome Above the Law, National Arbitration Forum, Law Crossing, Point of Law readers).
Added to the favorites sidebar on the right: our contemporaneous coverage of the case of the finger in the Wendy’s chili. Any other favorites you’d like to see there?
Robert Ambrogi has more discussion on that case from Utah (Apr. 8 ) in which a litigant is suing an expert witness who changed his mind on the eve of trial about his willingness to support a medical malpractice suit, resulting in an adverse outcome. He mentions this site and quotes Ted, who
believes that [dissenting Tenth Circuit Judge Neil] Gorsuch is correct in his analysis. “The incentives of expert witnesses to give independent truthful opinions are already distorted, and should not be distorted further.”
Beyond that, the court appears not to have thought through the consequences of its decision, he says. “Every cross-examination of an expert at deposition should now include questions relating to the expert’s fear of being sued.”
As we’ve begun filling in tags to the thousands of posts, the “tag cloud” became less and less interesting and more and more distracting on the front page. We’ve moved it to a back page and replaced it with three hand-made lists of tags:
- Categories, with tags roughly corresponding to the categories from the old website;
- Favorite topics, featuring tags corresponding to popular reader favorites from years past and today; and
- Good copy, attorneys and law firms you want to read about.
Are we leaving anything out in those tag lists you’d like to see there?
Don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail with a link if you see something that was improperly auto-tagged or is missing a tag that would be useful.
Continuing our WordPress site overhaul, we’ve added two new ways to navigate through Overlawyered to find relevant past material.
Our new browse by tag page lets you zero in quickly on posts that relate to your topic of interest or locality. We’ve assembled an uneasy mix of the old post categories, automatically generated new tags on old posts (e.g., “Detroit” will yield stories linking to the Detroit News even when there is no local angle) and tags newly selected by Ted and me, with the balance, we assume, gradually shifting toward the latter over time. We’ve tended to avoid autotagging the most common terms as well as the very largest cities and states; remember that you can still try our regular search function.
And here’s a neat trick: by tinkering with tag URLs, you can combine tags to find a subset of posts with overlapping tags. For example, the URL http://overlawyered.com/tag/illinois+family-law/ calls up all posts that are tagged with both “Illinois” and “family law”. (Note the required placement of the plus sign and hyphen(s).) Likewise with “Bill Lerach” + “politics” or whatever other combination of tags you like.
Finally, we’re experimenting on individual posts with suggested “Related posts”. These are auto-generated by the tag program based on shared tags, so they will inevitably be less than perfect, but may make a helpful place to start.
Continuing the site overhaul, we’ve done away with the old menu of categories, each of which has now been converted to a “tag” — you can find our past posts on class actions, for example, here.