It’s holiday season again, time for the giving of gifts. In the blawgosphere (a word I despise but have been unable to replace), we give and receive gifts in the form of pies. Yes, pies — see my post here, and Scott Greenfield here.

The new pie-giver in town, LexisNexis, has added a “Top 25 Tort Law Blogs” listing, including your humble author, for whom you should go vote as the top tort blog (and not any of these other tort blogs I’m about to mention). Unfortunately, as Eric Turkewitz says in his post comparing the LexisNexis list unfavorably to the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100:

[T]here are some good blogs in there. But there are also some real barkers, like  two faux-blogs from the Illinois firm of Levin & Perconti that are little more than thinly disguised ads for the firm. LexisNexis apparently wasn’t too concerned about quality, as those aren’t the only ads posing as blogs.

I concur in part and dissent in part.

The ABA Journal has been giving out pies for five years now in the form of their Blawg 100, which they describe as the websites “the Journal staff finds the posts useful in terms of tipping us off to news or generating posts we consider worthy of coverage.” Consequently, it’s not really a list of legal blogs per se — all seven “News” websites on their list, for example, are professional media outlets with full-time employees — but it’s as good a place to start for legal content online as you’ll get. The “Torts” blogs include OverlawyeredDrug and Device LawAbnormal Use, and New York Personal Injury Law Blog, all great blogs which have linked to me in the past year. LexBlog has put together a curated publication of all those law blogs posts’ together, for easier reading.

But it’s not like the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 is without fault. Many of the “blogs” there rarely or never link out or engage with other blogs (Greenfield’s ‘those aren’t blogs’ comment comes to mind), and so should be dismissed as pure marketing endeavors. Several “blogs” in there are updated infrequently and/or rarely include substantive legal content. (Ann Althouse might be a law professor for her day job, but it’s a political blog, not a law blog.) There are also a couple obvious blogs missing. E.g., where’s A Public Defender? I don’t fault the ABA Journal for that — making a limited list is a hard business — but I do raise it to point out that any blog list will have its ups and downs.

The LexisNexis list is on the whole worth reviewing because it includes many quality blogs that get overlooked by the ABA Journal’s shorter and narrower list (in terms of torts blogs), including TortsProf Blog, Tort Talk, Day on Torts, and The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog. LexisNexis somehow left off New York Injury Cases Blog, though, which has by far the most thorough discussion of damages case law that you’ll find anywhere online.

Contra Turkewitz, I don’t fault LexisNexis for pushing the awards as a SEO and marketing initiative. Putting together award badges is an old link building technique, and it’s not like the ABA Journal isn’t doing the same thing — check the bottom of their announcement post chiding authors who “don’t tout their Blawg 100 status on their sites.” It’s a competitive market out there; as Law Librarian Blog notes, big media players like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters are both trying to dominate the legal publishing world, leaving a pretty big wake behind them. As silly as it may seem to refer to an ABA publication or LexisNexis as the scrappy underdogs, that might really be the case these days.

Nonetheless, congratulations to everyone on their pies. Are you a tort lawyer who thinks you deserved pie and didn’t get it from the ABA or LexisNexis? Let me know and, if your site isn’t just a bunch of marketing drivel, I’ll send you some in the form of a link.