Posts Tagged ‘Walter Olson’

On Secular Right (& welcome NY Times readers)

Religion correspondent Mark Oppenheimer mentions this site and me in a finely drawn profile of Secular Right, the website I’m involved in (it launched in 2008) which explores the theme of a non-religiously-based conservatism. Oppenheimer interviewed at length two scintillating writers who contribute much of the site’s luster, Heather Mac Donald and Razib Khan. This passage amusingly captures the diversity of views among the SR principals:

The five bloggers are like the dramatis personae of a drawing-room comedy about irascible conservatives — written by Alan Bennett but set at the Heritage Foundation.

There’s the urban pragmatist (Ms. Mac Donald, who clerked for the liberal federal Judge Stephen Reinhardt but now writes conservative essays about homelessness and policing), the data-driven scientist (Mr. Khan), and the libertarian enthusiast for tort reform (Walter Olson, also founder of the blog Overlawyered).

The other two, I should add, are John Derbyshire and Andrew Stuttaford, both born in Great Britain and well known through their association with National Review, and both, like Khan and Mac Donald, exceptionally talented writers. The article is interesting throughout, and has already begun to provoke a variety of responses: Memeorandum, Dan Riehl (disapproving) with response from Razib Khan, Amy Alkon, Tyler Cowen, Ilya Somin, FrumForum, etc.

Upcoming New Orleans speeches

I’ll be speaking at Tulane law school late in the afternoon of Mon., Oct. 18, and then at Loyola-New Orleans at lunchtime on Tues., Oct. 19. Both events are sponsored by student Federalist Society chapters; my topics will be legal ethics/lawyer unpopularity and employment law/ADA litigation, respectively. To bring me to your campus, convention or group, drop me a line at editor – at – thisdomainname – dot – com or, if you prefer, work through the Cato Institute’s speaker service (202-789-5226) or the national office of the Federalist Society. And don’t forget that early next year I’ll start touring to speak on my new book on law schools, Schools for Misrule.

Welcome readers

In an article for on legal blogging (“How to Build a Better Law Blog”, Dec. 8) C.C. Holland is kind enough to quote me and discuss this site:

Walter Olson imagined that his Overlawyered blog would pull an audience of his friends and acquaintances and a cadre of legal policy wonks.

“But you don’t know who your audience really is until you start writing and find out,” he notes. “My readership has a large following among lawyers, but I’ve been surprised to find that a lot of doctors are reading it, as are a lot of people from other countries.” …

Olson, who has been writing Overlawyered since July 1, 1999, knows a thing or two about longevity. His blog is widely considered to be the oldest legal blog and is also one of the most popular, regularly surpassing 9,000 unique daily visitors.

“People who force themselves to blog, it’s a sad spectacle,” he says. “You can tell reading it that it’s painful to them.” The key is to find a topic that will sustain you. “You have to think, ‘Boy, there’s so much to write about I can’t imagine getting tired of it anytime soon,'” he says.

And I still can’t.

What happened to the slavery reparations movement?

I’ve got an op-ed in today’s L.A. Times (Walter Olson, “Slavery reparations: what happened?”, Oct. 31) based on a longer article forthcoming in City Journal. (The short answer to what happened: 9/11, public opinion, and the courts.)

The City Journal article is in turn a much condensed version of a draft chapter in my book-in-progress about the influence of the law schools. As I show in that chapter, there were few places where reparations enthusiasm burned hotter than in legal academia, with conferences and law review articles galore devoted to advancing the cause. The most prominent law school advocate of the reparations cause back then, Harvard’s Charles Ogletree, is back in the news these days because of his role as mentor (and, reportedly, chief advisor on racial issues) to Democratic candidate Barack Obama; he’s being mentioned as a possible civil rights chief in the next administration. Not surprisingly, Ogletree has had much less to say about the reparations cause this year than he did eight or nine years ago; I have a feeling that in an Obama administration he’d be under strict orders not to get near the issue, but of course I could be wrong.

We’ve covered reparations litigation extensively at Overlawyered.

“The Lieberman Purge”

Off-topic, I add to the punditocracy’s surfeit of blather on the Connecticut Senate election at National Review Online.

One thing I didn’t mention in the article that is on topic for this site is that Lieberman is one of the few prominent federal Democrats still in office that is generally willing to stand up to the trial bar. If Lamont does supplant Lieberman, the trial-lawyer takeover of the Democratic party (commented on a year ago by Walter) will be all but complete.

Update: Walter reminds me of his 2000 Wall Street Journal op-ed on Lieberman’s record on liability reform.