Feb. 21, 2018

Faculty of Law blog celebrates 10 years with induction to Clawbie Hall of Fame

Collaboration between professors has forged a place in the legal community.
ABlawg, the Faculty of Law's blog, has been making an impact on the legal community for 10 years.

Ten years ago this February, University of Calgary law professors collaborated to create ABlawg.ca. Since that time, the blog has forged a place in the legal community, covering current legal topics that impact Albertans.

According to professor Jennifer Koshan, one of the co-ordinators of ABlawg, “The blog was professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton’s brainchild, but I implemented the idea as the associate dean research at the time with input from other faculty members. It was and is truly a collective endeavour.”

Posts cover important topics, such as #metoo, nursing home costs

The blog posts new content multiple times a week, featuring legal commentary on a wide range of Alberta court and tribunal decisions, legislative and policy changes, as well as legal developments from across Canada and around the world. ABlawg has had almost 170 contributors during its first 10 years including faculty, affiliated researchers, students, alumni, and lawyers, who have collectively written almost 1,400 posts analyzing close to 1,200 cases and statutes. These posts deal with a broad spectrum of issues: for example, in the last month, contributors have discussed topics such as costs facing elderly Albertans in nursing homes, the morality of the #metoo movement, and the Alberta government’s plan to protect endangered woodland caribou habitat.

“All of our contributors have their finger on the pulse of important legal developments in our province, and are able to publish their analysis in a timely manner, which is key in the blogging world,” says Koshan. “As a result, our contributors and the law school are seen as some of Canada’s leading experts on a wide range of legal matters.”

Creating engagement with community, legal profession

ABlawg’s posts frequently lead to engagement on law and policy issues between faculty members and the broader community, and have been cited in academic and professional publications, legal briefs, and judicial decisions, as well as contributing to legislative changes.

ABlawg has also produced series of posts on legislative and policy matters of significant interest, including a series in 2012 on the then-proposed Responsible Energy Development Act, SA 2012, c R-17.3, and an upcoming series on Bills C-68 and C-69, proposed federal amendments to fisheries, energy and environmental legislation. In addition, ABlawg contributors have produced longer ebooks about specific issues, such as a recent collection of posts on Landlords, Tenants and Domestic Violence. ABlawg also frequently features shared content, cross-posting from sources such as Slaw, and shares its own content on platforms such as CanLIIConnects.

Faculty members and instructors use ABlawg in the classroom, and students have increasingly sought opportunities to contribute, seeing it as an accessible gateway into legal scholarship.

“ABlawg has helped me develop my writing skills, and having the opportunity to publish my work allowed me to stand out in job interviews,” says third-year student Amy Matychuk, who is also the blog’s student editor. “I assist the faculty co-ordinators (currently professors Koshan and Shaun Fluker) in editing and moderating blog content. We also monitor new decisions by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal (approximately 25 cases per week) and circulate cases of interest to faculty members and other bloggers. In this way, ABlawg seeks to ensure that its contributors cover important changes and developments in case law.”

Named to blog hall of fame in 2017

ABlawg’s valuable contribution to Canadian law blogging has been recognized several times by the Canadian Law Blog Awards (or “Clawbies”), including winning the Best Law School blog category in 2012, 2013 and 2015. In 2017, it was inducted into the Clawbie Hall of Fame, where the awards committee noted it had “long set the standard for legal academic blogging in Canada.”