(Well, some of them, anyway)

[Posted November 30, 2009] Some time ago, life was good for those willing to talk online about appeals in Virginia. There was a lively conversation with plenty of different voices. But the blogosphere has thinned out just a bit lately. Here’s a report on the state of appellate commentary in the Commonwealth these days:

Have Opinion, Will Travel once offered the unique perspective of an appellate jurist, posting anonymously (which enabled him to be quite candid) about his view of our craft. Written with more than a dollop of wry wit, it was always a fun read, even thought the topics often strayed from the appellate world. Alas; as I reported here back in August, his Honor decided to close up shop and post no more. This was a tough blow to take, although the site is still up so you can comb through the archives if you want.

I noted earlier this year the launch of a new web site called Appeals Granted, which was designed to focus on writs granted by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Virginia. This site existed to give us a peek into the courts’ coming attractions. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a post since late August; I have tried contacting the publisher, Ron Gore, but have not been able to reach him. Ron, if you’re out there, I’d love to hear from you, if only to know that you’re well. We miss you. [Update December 1, 2009 — Ron contacted me today to let me know that he’s still among the world of the living, and intends to resume his posts. Like Steve Minor, below, he has been beset by a busier-than-expected caseload. I’m very glad to get this news and to be able to pass it along.]

Regular readers of Steve Minor’s SW Virginia Law Blog noticed a prolonged lull in his posts this summer and autumn. I’m pleased to report that that pause was merely a result of his being overly busy during that stretch. Steve resumed posting his commentary earlier this month, and I look forward to the next note, and the one after that.

Jay O’Keeffe’s entertaining and informative blog De Novo is still going strong several months after his launch this summer. Jay posts thoughtful commentary on many appellate issues. He gives great practical advice that you’ll find useful in your own practice. Being a good, solid generation behind me, he’s a guy you can follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. If you want to hold your breath waiting for me to start tweeting, be my guest.

One of the busiest blogs around is the one published by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. The big advantage VLW has over the rest of us is the size of its staff; they can put three or four people on separate tasks, and still have plenty of folks to answer the phone, make the coffee, and pay the bills, not to mention publishing the newspaper. Publisher Paul Fletcher has his own blog on the site that always makes for interesting reading; editors Deborah Elkins, Alan Cooper, and Peter Vieth keep you up to speed on the newest developments in the law on the regular blog.

Of course, if you want a quick turnaround on appellate news, frequent essays on a variety of appellate topics, practical advice on how the latest rulings will affect your trial next week, the latest in clerk’s office closings and rule changes, and more than a few oh-so-sophisticated appellate jokes, . . . well, there’s only one place to turn for all that stuff, but modesty forbids me to mention that it’s Virginia Appellate News & Analysis. Fortunately, you appear to have discovered the site already. We’re approaching the fifth anniversary of the launch, about six weeks from now. If you have any ideas for how I can improve the site, I’d be grateful to hear from you.