Best search engine query of the day that led someone to Overlawyered: “i parked.my.car drunk and.forgot.where it is”. We don’t have it!
Like Lois Lerner and so many others in Washington, we’ve suffered a computer data loss. In our case we were able to recover most of it, the only gap being some data that was entered onto the site over the course of the day today, which unfortunately includes most of today’s reader comments. Where appropriate, I’ll plan on emailing persons who left comments to propose re-posting them, but there are no guarantees that comments responding to other comments will wind up in the right order.
Our most heavily trafficked post in October 2013 was “USPS To Destroy ‘Just Move’ Stamps Over Safety Concerns’” The most commented-on posts were “Update: $2.2 M verdict reinstated for client whose chair collapsed at law firm,” “A slippery slope to polygamy?” and the USPS post above.
November’s most clicked-on post was “San Rafael, Calif. passes own-home smoking ban.” The most commented-on posts were that post, “NYC: ‘Meet the seemingly unfirable female firefighter’,” and “FDA orders 23andMe to shut down home genome test.”
The most visited post in December was “Drunk driver will recover $6.6 million from two Pennsylvania bars.” (In fact, by being linked on Reddit, it brought us the highest number of visitors of any day in the site’s history, since moving onto WordPress at least.) The most commented-on posts, subject to change should there be some last-minute wave of comments, were “Megan McArdle: ‘Lead paint verdict sets dangerous precedent’,” “Liberty cake wrecks, cont’d,” and the drunk driver post above.
Details here. The “Hall of Fame” began last year with 10 inductees and this year the ABA Blawg 100 competition is inducting 10 more, with us in the batch. Its description:
Whether or not you’re sympathetic to tort reform and the idea that the government overregulates, Overlawyered is a little hair-raising and eye-opening. Its stated mission is to bring to light abuses of the legal system that raise costs and inhibit justice. Acquired this year by the Cato Institute, the blog is the project of Walter Olson, a senior Cato fellow. Having celebrated its 15th anniversary in July, Overlawyered says it may be the oldest legal blog: “At least, no one seems to be able to name one that’s older.”
So far as anyone we know has been able to tell us, Overlawyered, launched in July 1999, is the longest running blog about law. From time to time the question arises whether it was the very first law blog, a question discussed at Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites (and in turn noted in an Editor’s Note at the above ABA link). It was certainly not the first regularly updated law site; there were plenty of those in 1999, such as Mark Astarita’s seclaw.com which dates back to 1995 (!). In a 2003 post Greg Siskind writes that his visalaw.com was first to adopt a blog format, citing a 1998 post (visible at Wayback Machine here) that provided regular updates on H-1B legislation over the course of a month, with older updates scrolling down the page, and which drew wide traffic. For reasons I advance at LawSites, I think a lot depends on one’s definition of what a blog is, and that’s probably not a subject we’ll all agree on soon.
- In quiet retreat from STOCK Act, Congress dispenses with trading transparency for its staff [Prof. Bainbridge]
- Deep-pocket quest: hotel named as additional defendant in Florida A&M hazing death [Orlando Sentinel, earlier]
- “Keynes didn’t expect to have kids so he didn’t care about the future” wheeze long predates Niall Ferguson [Kenneth Silber; my new post at IGF, where I’ve also been posting lately on the topic of adoption]
- Ten and five (respectively) reasons for a plaintiff’s lawyer to turn down a personal injury case [Eric Turkewitz, Max Kennerly]
- Setback for man seeking to trademark “Eat More Kale” [AP, earlier]
- Gawker is now on the UK “Warning: This bag of nuts may contain nuts” case [earlier]
- Overlawyered’s Twitter feed just passed the 7,000-follower mark, while our Facebook page, which recently stood at 1,000 likes, has now surged to nearly 2,500. Thanks for following and liking, and if you’d like to engage with other parts of Cato on social media, check out this nifty guide by Zach Graves.
- An Instalanche from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, and Prof. Bainbridge remembers the phrase “takes the Boeing;” R.S. McCain on blogging communities and linkiness; Coyote (“Congrats… The Overlawyered blog is one of the blogs I read every day, and is one of the grand old blogs of the Internet”); Joe Patrice/Above the Law; Chris Fountain/For What It’s Worth (“If you haven’t used it to keep track of the inanities of our modern society of flawed men and laws, here’s a good opportunity.”); Think Tank Watch.
- From Twitter: Tunku Varadarajan (“I love — and recommend — ‘Overlawyered'”), Alan Gura (“so the lawyers have gone over all the details and finalized the documents?”), Sohrab Ahmari (“sharpest critic of our litigious culture… must-read”), Popehat (“indispensable”), David Boaz, Danny Alvarez, Sr. (“REALLY? Congrats. You better keep that flippant attitude now that you are part of ‘The Man!'”), Jack Robling (“I’d love to meet the lawyer who lawyered @overlawyered and @CatoInstitute’s marriage”); occasional guestblogger Ron Coleman (“So, hey, am I now retroactively a prestigious ‘Cato blogger’?”), Kurt Loder, Andrew Stuttaford, John Carney (“Surprised it took this long”), Massimiliano Trovato (“must read for anyone interested in law and liberty”), Jeremy Kolassa (“must [follow] if you want to know how litigation is screwed up in this country”), Scott Greenfield (“indie blogs bite the dust. Congrats to Wally, but I hate to see it go ‘corporate'” — and exchange with Popehat), Tom Kirkendall, Susan Cartier Liebel, Business Roundtable, Bob Lucas Jr., and many others.
- At Facebook, various reactions including from longtime reader Doug Iverson: “I’d just like to say that I think Overlawyered was better before Walter turned it over to Cato to market. I think it’s hyped more.” My response, in part: “Ian, my colleague at Cato, now writes the regular Facebook links, which are the chief reason visits to the site via Facebook are up tremendously in recent weeks. If Doug writes to Cato to say that Overlawyered’s Facebook presence has become a flagrant puffery scheme designed to lure readers into giving the website a try, I think they will give Ian a raise.”
- If you missed it, Friday’s announcement.
Since it looks as if we’ll have thousands of new readers today, this might be a good time to reprint in slightly updated form an evergreen post that first appeared in 2007:
* When we post on Overlawyered about a real or potential lawsuit, it doesn’t necessarily mean we think the case is without merit. We regularly discuss meritorious cases.
* Not infrequently lawsuits we discuss are well founded on existing law, but that existing law is ill-conceived and deserves to be reconsidered. Or both law and lawsuit may make perfect sense, but the level of damages demanded may be excessive or implausible. Or the combatants on one side or both may pursue dubious tactics and theories. Or the media coverage of the case may have been credulous or one-sided. You get the idea.
* Sometimes it’s not clear what if anything either side did wrong in pursuing a dispute, but the case still stands as a monument to the high cost of resolving things through legal process. A recurring example: the family feud over a legacy that ends by consuming the estate in litigation costs.
* We also discuss a certain number of cases that are just plain interesting: they raise novel or non-obvious legal issues, or they shed light on human nature as it manifests itself in legal disputes. And, yes, it does happen on occasion that I take note of a case without being sure what I myself think of it.
* Finally, the multiple people who have posted content on the site are different people and don’t always agree with each other.
Sorry if this introduces complexity where people were expecting to find simplicity.