[Posted May 17, 2010] First, you should know that I just gave my computer’s spell-check feature a coronary by typing blawgosphere. But I didn’t make up the term; it relates to the universe of blogs that are devoted to the law. (This site, I’m told, isn’t a true blog but a law-related website. I’m not going to fuss with those who insist as much, as long as they don’t interfere with the message.)

If you’ve taken a look at the listing of web links from the navigation box off to the left, you will have noticed that we’ve thinned out the list considerably. I’ve removed some of the links to sites that haven’t published in quite a while. If you want one last link to the deleted sites, so you can check out their archives, here they are:

Appellate Law & Practice – last published Dec. 10, 2008

Abstract Appeal – last published Aug. 6, 2009

Have Opinion, Will Travel – last published Aug. 17, 2009

Appeals Granted – last published Aug. 25, 2009

August 2009 thus turns out to be a fairly deadly month for appellate blogs, with three unrelated sites closing up in a span of less than three weeks.

But the blogging news isn’t all sad; Joseph Pope over at Williams Mullen’s Richmond office has launched a site entitled Special Concurrence. He tells me that he’ll concentrate on cases out of the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits, with occasional reports on decisions from Virginia’s and North Carolina’s appellate courts. Based on my initial read of the site, it looks as though they have some talented and energetic writers over there, so I encourage you to check it from time to time, especially if you handle a lot of cases in federal courts.

While there aren’t quite as many entrants as before, the state of the Virginia appellate blawgosphere seems healthy for now. Steve Minor, over in Bristol, continues to post notes, including the occasional appellate comment, from time to time on his long-running SW Virginia Law Blog; and Jay O’Keeffe in Roanoke regularly updates his readers on appellate matters in De Novo. With the demise of HOWT last year, we no longer have a judicial insider’s view of the appellate process. But as long as lawyers continue to focus on issues unique to appellate courts, there will be a reason to be optimistic about an improvement in the quality of appellate practice.