A NOTE OF APPRECIATION
(Posted July 19, 2022) I have too few competitors. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not talking about the number of appellate lawyers in the Commonwealth. That number has grown from the low single digits, twenty years ago, to several dozen now, and I sense that it’s still expanding. It’s been gratifying to watch the rise and growth of the Virginia appellate bar in that time.
No, I’m talking about those among us who post appellate commentary. It is, as I’ve found, great fun, and I like to believe that I’m performing a public service of sorts, by letting my readers know about new developments in the appellate milieu. I can also warn advocates about where at least some of the landmines are in the appellate labyrinth.
Others have discovered this fun, too. Early in my tenure at this post, one of my friendly competitors was not a lawyer but a jurist: Have Opinion, Will Travel was published by an unidentified Virginia appellate judge. It was pointed and insightful and witty and always a great read. The site folded many years ago, and I’ve mourned its absence ever since.
A few lawyers have taken up the challenge. My pal Jay O’Keeffe began publishing De Novo about thirteen years ago, and it immediately jumped onto my must-read list. Jay is an outstanding writer who, like another appellate publisher of your cyber-acquaintance, likes to add the occasional dose of spice to his writings. His posts were consistently interesting and informative.
Alas, as far as I can tell, I had to use the past tense there, as his last post is now almost a year old. I’ll do what I can to persuade him to return to the keyboard, no matter how busy his caseload keeps him. We’re better off with him active.
John O’Herron at Thompson McMullan occasionally posts essays on his firm’s website. John’s a very capable advocate and a good writer. Maybe I can needle him into posting essays more often, too; his latest substantive post is about five months old.
Today I write to note that John Koehler, over at Roanoke Appellate Law Blog, has been churning out some great stuff lately. His recent posts, primarily focusing on the Court of Appeals of Virginia, include statistical analyses (something of which I’m particularly fond); a new feature called the Icarus Index, tracking the number and degree of affirmances and reversals in that court; and a terrific description of an oral argument that he and another appellate pro, Deputy Solicitor General Graham Bryant, experienced last week. Just read that last essay, posted July 15, and see if you aren’t hooked.
Who’s next? You can do it, too, as long as you’re willing to commit to maintaining an active website. Yes, it takes time, but you’ll find that it increases your visibility (which is good for paying business), it improves the quality of your writing, and it’s a wonderful creative outlet. If you’re starting a blog or website like this, or if you’ve already started and I just don’t know about you, let me know and I’ll help spread the word about your site. C’mon; I need more competitors!