Posts Tagged ‘about the site’

Overlawyered: now a Cato Institute blog

I’m delighted to announce that Overlawyered, a freestanding blog since I founded it in 1999, has now affiliated itself with the Cato Institute, at whose Center for Constitutional Studies I’m a senior fellow. Cato already publishes several blogs and its prowess in technical support, marketing, and press outreach are certain to help the blog reach new readers, look sharper, keep more current with blog technology, and be even more a part of the conversation about law and legal reform.

As a trial run, Cato’s Ian Jacobson has already been helping out with the site’s Facebook presence in recent weeks, and Cato’s graphics team has devised an terrifically good-looking banner you can check out there, complete with shark fin. (We’re not losing the popular “shark and goldfish” emblem, though.) While you’re there, be sure to “Like” us and recommend us to friends, and also join nearly 7,000 others who follow us on Twitter.

In coming weeks you’ll notice design changes on our front page, as well as other new features. If you’re not familiar with Cato, the world’s leading libertarian think tank, this is a good time to check it out and learn more about its pursuit of individual liberties, free markets, and peace. In particular, let me recommend Cato’s group blog Cato at Liberty, where I and my colleagues blog on a variety of public policy issues.

Here’s the Cato announcement that went out this morning:

The Cato Institute is proud to announce its affiliation with one of the most respected law blogs around: Founded and run by senior fellow Walter Olson, the blog explores an American legal system in dire need of reform, showing how litigation is used as a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, new laws erode individual responsibility, and law firms enrich themselves at the public’s expense.

Walter skewers American litigiousness with a careful eye and sharp wit. If you haven’t been following Overlawyered, here’s what you’ve been missing:

To learn the extent of the legal insanity, and how to fix it, visit and “like” its Facebook page.

Walter Olson founded and continues to run He is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

Query: what sites should I be linking more?

We don’t do many open threads here at Overlawyered, but here’s one with a specific focus: what sites should I be looking to more often for links?

Regular readers will notice that I frequently link to perhaps 40 or 50 blogs that I follow regularly, as well as to some news outlets with generous or no paywall policies (though the oft-linked Washington Post, e.g., will alas be ringing down the curtain soon on its no-paywall policy). I tend to avoid linking to strictly paywalled sites, even important ones like the WSJ, since I know most readers will not be able to follow the links.

I also link frequently to news sources from certain parts of the country from which friends and readers regularly send me clips, such as central Florida. Alert readers may possibly have deduced that there are some popular sites that I do *not* link to if I can possibly avoid it, even though readers often send me clips from those places. Often this is because those sites too often associate themselves with factually unreliable content. Meanwhile, I do sometimes link to some sites like the U.K. Daily Mail that predictably generate “how can you link to those awful people” comments, even when I am linking to an AP story or when the content of a piece can be fully confirmed elsewhere.

Your opinions?

Overlawyered makes the ABA Blawg 100 again

The ABA’s beauty contest/collection of notable law blogs is in its sixth year and once again we’ve been nominated, in the “Torts” category.

The News/Analysis category has the really tough competition, including Ken White at Popehat, Above the Law, and Volokh Conspiracy. Also, in other categories: Stephen Bainbridge’s Prof. Bainbridge, Scott Greenfield’s Simple Justice, Paul Caron’s TaxProf, Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites, and many others. And they’ve cited Jim Dedman’s excellent Abnormal Use blog, but I’m not supposed to mention that because it’s competing with Overlawyered.

Molly McDonough, Sarah Randag, and Lee Rawles of the ABA Journal describe all the various entrants, with links, here. There’s also a new Hall of Fame of perennial nominees and a Twitter list.

To vote for (or for that matter against) Overlawyered, you’ll need to register: do that here.

A Facebook observation

Many politically active people “like” candidates and causes to which they are in fact ardently opposed, since following the opposition’s Facebook stream can be a smart way to keep tabs on what it’s doing. But as a result Facebook keeps feeding us sponsored posts — often very misleading ones — that follow the formula “[my friend] likes [candidate/cause X]”.

By the way, if you’re on Facebook, you really should be liking Overlawyered, here. That’s true even if you can’t stand the site and just want to keep tabs on its nefarious ways.

Note on Hurricane Sandy

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down, I expect that power and connectivity may be a challenge for me over the next few days, so I’ve set up a number of items to post automatically at Overlawyered. Be aware that comments moderation may be much slower than usual, depending on my access to communications.

Our blog-iversary

Overlawyered turns 13 today, launched July 1, 1999. You can read our first fifteen days’ worth of posts at this page.

P.S.: “It’s a blog-mitzvah!” (Ira Stoll).

And a sampling of other reactions via Twitter: “First in time and, to this day, in merit.” [Andrew Grossman] “In internet years, 13 makes you ancient. Cheers!” [@libbyspencer] “Heaven help me, I remember that, approximately.” [G.S. Taylor] “A voice of reason in an often twisted civil justice system.” [Marc Williams] “You are the Methuselah of the internet.” [@scottgreenfield] “I remember reading the site when I was a law student in 2000.” [Jim Dedman] “Do you realize your blog’s now a teenager? Time to start locking up the liquor…” [@petewarden] “Happy blogiversary! Your book, The Litigation Explosion, was one of the most import that I, then a young lawyer, ever read.” [@bookwormroom] “#haiku? @overlawyered blog/ Started thirteen years ago/ More profound than me.” [@SupremeHaiku] “Congrats @walterolson on your blogiversary! even a progressive like me reads it regularly! ?#imafan” [Monique Hall] “Started reading not long after; never stopped. Here’s to the next 13 years!” [@Hal_RTFLC] “Happy (belated) 13th birthday to @walterolson’s indispensable legal blog” [@damonroot], Jim Dedman (“we here at Abnormal Use were early readers”).

Plus: some generous comments from Dan Pero at American Courthouse, Kevin Underhill/@loweringthebar, Bob Dorigo Jones (“It’s long held the first spot on my list of Must Read blogs.”).

New server; missing emails and comments

Following some down time, Overlawyered has re-emerged on new servers and with upgraded software allowing for improved features. Thanks to Jason Vines of the Cato Institute for his assistance.

Unfortunately, during this process, my email accounts went dark for a while. If you sent me an email anytime over the weekend or on Monday through the late afternoon, I probably didn’t get it and you should send it again.

In addition, several reader comments approved on Friday and Saturday were inadvertently lost in the upgrade. I may be able to go back to my files to reconstruct what these were, but if the comments were important to you, you should consider re-posting them.

Think tank confidential

Over at Secular Right, I’ve done a lengthy post about think tanks, more specifically about the future of the policy think tank model in light of the controversy over control of my own Cato Institute. It’s also got some memoir-ish material in it in which I recall times over the years in which I felt relatively proud of having an effect on public debate. You can read it here.

P.S. Kind words from Ryan Radia and Pierre Lemieux.