I’m back!

Or, should I say, the blog is back. I’m not sure how much blogging I will do in the near future, but at least the old posts are up again after an extended outage. The fix was really simple, but it took three tech support guys at my hosting provider, over the course of a week, to figure out that simple solution.

My apologies to my regular readers. That means Ben and . . . anyone? Anyone?

Second District Court of Appeal to implement TrueFiling e-filing system in late 2016

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 11.46.15 AMAccording to a notice I received today from the California Appellate Project:

The clerk of the 2nd District Court of Appeal has asked us to inform the panel that True Filing will be available in this district beginning in November.  For two months, November and December, True Filing will coexist with the present eFiling system presently being used in the district.  The choice of which to use will be yours.  Then, in January, the present eFiling system will disappear, and everyone will be required to use True Filing.  Those of you already working in other districts with True Filing will definitely have a leg up on the rest of us.

That last sentence is certainly true. TrueFiling takes some getting used to.

The Second District’s present e-filing system has the advantage of being free, but it is also not a pure e-filing system. Hard copies of briefs still had to be submitted to the court. Also, original proceedings (writ petitions) cannot be initiated electronically under the current system, but I have initiated original proceedings via True-Filing in other districts.

You can’t stop progress. But I still hope the justices print out my briefs before reading them.

Update (09/25/2017): From the “better late than never” department. TrueFiling becomes mandatory in the Second District Court of Appeal on October 30, 2017. I shouldn’t joke. The Second District has always generously granted me extensions, it’s about time the court got one.

The 2015 edition of the California Litigation Review is Out

Find it and read it!

Find it and read it!


The 2015 edition of the California Litigation Review hit my mailbox yesterday. It is published by the Litigation Section of the California State Bar and it has some terrific coverage of appeals and writs developments last year . . . and I don’t say that just because the vast majority of the cases examined in it were covered here as they happened, including:

Jameson v. Desta (2015) 24 Cal.App.4th 491 (indigent plaintiff with fee waiver unable to afford court reporter still held limited in appellate argument by absence of transcript);

Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Oracle Corp. (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1174 (in which the court offered some friendly advice to the legislature for modification of California’s anti-SLAPP statute);

Ellis v. Ellis (2105) 235 Cal.App.4th 837 (Court of Appeal’s summary denial of motion to dismiss does not preclude granting the motion at the merits stage);

Ironridge Global IV, Ltd. v. ScripsAmerica, Inc. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 259 (explaining and reaffirming the disentitlement doctrine, under which disobedience of the order appealed from can result in dismissal of the appeal);

McKenzie v. Ford Motor Co. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 695 (how a trial court’s explicit reasoning can undermine presumptions inherent in the deferential “abuse of discretion” standard of review);

Lanquist v. Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Assn. (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 186 (exercising heightened review of an administrative agency’s construction of statute);

Bermudez v. Chiolek (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 1311 (judicial notice of laws of physics cannot be basis for arguing new theory of accident on appeal);

In re Christopher B. (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 809 (trial court cannot “clarify” a mistaken dismissal to reinstate some charges);

AP-Colton, LLC v. Ohaeri  (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 500 (failure to pay fee to reclassify case from limited to unlimited did not cap damages amount to maximum awardable in an unlimited case);

Marriage of Oliverez (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 1242 (limits on superior court judge’s power to reconsider rulings of another superior court judge);

People v. Scarbrough (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 916 (trial court lacks jurisdiction to recall and reduce sentences under Proposition 47 when the judgment for those crimes is on appeal);

Martinez v. State of California Dept. of Transportation (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 559 (trial court abused discretion in denying mistrial where counsel repeatedly violated orders on motions in limine);

Shiffer v. CBS Corporation (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 246 (new theory developed by expert witness does not merit new trial where evidence upon which theory is based was previously in party’s possession).

Unfortunately, the Review appears to be available online only to members of the Litigation Section of the California State Bar. If you are a litigator who is not a member, find a friend with a copy of the Review and browse it. Besides articles on appellate issues, there are articles on alternative dispute resolution, class actions, employment law, etc. It is a great resource for catching up on developments you may have missed.

UPDATE: I should have given credit for the great year-end write-up on Appeals and Writs not just to the review generally, but to the two lawyers who authored it: Ben Feuer (who graciously thanked me for the post even though I had not mentioned him by name) and Anna-Rose Mathieson of Appellate Law Group LLP. Thanks, guys!

Some technical help for e-filing in the Court of Appeal

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 11.46.15 AMThis week, the Second District Court of Appeal published a terrific guide for creating electronic documents. (PDF link) The guide is broken down into a section on briefs and a section on appendices, and is meant as a technical guide, not a set of rules for filing. It is thus helpful regardless of the district your appeal is in.

The guide provides the nitty-gritty detailed steps, with illustrations, for creating, editing, and formatting documents for electronic filing, including instructions for safely and securely redacting information, adding bookmarks, and making scanned documents text-searchable, among other things. Unfortunately, instructions on hyperlinking have been deferred to a future edition.

I wouldn’t quite call it Electronic Filing for Dummies, though it will be helpful even for those who don’t know a PDF from a DOC and think Adobe Acrobat is a circus performer. I consider myself pretty tech-savvy on PDF creation and manipulation, and I still learned from it.

I think the guide will be particularly helpful for solos, who don’t always have the staff to handle the tech side of things and must rely on a DYI approach. However, the use of Adobe Acrobat, the PDF application used in the guide, can be cost-prohibitive for solos on a budget (though I believe it is now available through a monthly subscription). Keep in mind that there are alternative, less expensive PDF applications that can probably do everything you need for electronic filing, including PDF Pen for the Mac and Nitro Pro for the PC. (I have used both, but I am not endorsing either of them. Both offer free trials, so you can be sure they do what you need before purchasing.) I use Acrobat now because it came free with my Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner (an awesome piece of hardware).

Don’t forget that e-filing practices are not uniform throughout the state. Always check the particular procedures for your district. But this guide should help you no matter where you practice.

Are records on appeal from the Los Angeles Superior Court about to get better?

LASCThe headline is not a dig at anyone at the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC). It refers to the impact of the statewide court budget crunch, which led many courts to stop providing court reporters as a matter of course. Faced with having to engage court reporters on their own, some litigants were foregoing the expense, at risk of having records inadequate to prosecute their appeals.

As a result, parties are appealing decisions without the reporter’s transcript that they would have been able to order under the old system. That can spell trouble for an appeal.

Last Friday, the LASC announced that it is hiring court reporters. Actually, I can’t tell from the announcement whether they are looking for multiple reporters or just trying to fill a single vacant position. Here’s hoping that it’s the former, and that this is a sign of things to come.

UPDATE (4/13/16): According to the 2015 edition of the California Litigation Review*, which hit my mailbox this week. published by the Litigation Section of the California State Bar, the court is “hiring court reporters again,” suggesting the court is restaffing in preparation for providing reporters again. Let’s hope.

*Published by the Litigation Section of the California State Bar.


SB 470 codifies Reid v. Google, Inc., provides that objections to summary judgment evidence are preserved for appeal

whichthat2On Monday, according to this article at The Recorder, Governor Brown signed SB 470, amending Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, which governs procedure for motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication. For appellate practitioners, the significance of the bill lies in its codification of Reid v. Google, Inc. (2010) 50 Cal.4th 512. Reid held that objections to evidence submitted in support of a motion for summary judgment are preserved for appeal even if the trial court fails to rule on the objections. Prior to Reid, the courts were split on whether such objections were preserved. I’m unaware of any lingering controversy over the issue since Reid, but it is nonetheless satisfying to see its holding codified.

Specifically, the bill adds the following language to the section 437c:

(q) In granting or denying a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, the court need rule only on those objections to evidence that it deems material to its disposition of the motion. Objections to evidence that are not ruled on for purposes of the motion shall be preserved for appellate review.

Trial judges served with dozens of pages of objections are now explicitly excused from ruling on those that they deem immaterial. I think some judges have probably been doing this already with orders such as “Plaintiff’s objections 1-10 granted; all others denied,” especially in light of the holding in Reid, but it is good to see the burden explicitly lifted. Consider this excerpt from the first report on the bill from the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The report cites published opinions that illustrate the large number of objections made in summary judgment papers and the huge volume of motion papers in overall. (See Reid v. Google, Inc. (2010) 50 Cal.4th 512, 532 [“We recognize that it has become common practice for litigants to flood the trial courts with inconsequential written evidentiary objection, without focusing on those that are critical [footnote omitted].”]) The report specifically cites, as an example, the case of Nazir v. United Airlines, Inc. (2009) wherein “the moving papers in support of a summary judgment totaled 1,056 pages, plaintiff’s opposition was nearly three times as long and included 47 objections to evidence, and the defendant’s reply included 764 objections to evidence.” [Citation.]

If you are wondering about the graphic accompanying this post, here’s the explanation. It is in honor of the drafters of SB 470, for eliminating from section 437c three incorrect uses of the word “which.” Misuse of “that” and “which” (most commonly, the improper use of “which” in place of “that”) is a pet peeve of mine — not just in section 437c, but everywhere, including all other California codes, briefs, news media, correspondence and judicial decisions. Yet, I am sure I am guilty of it on occasion. Every once in a while, whether “which” or “that” is the correct word can be a close call, but SB 470 corrected some obvious mistakes. You can see the redline of the amended section 437c here.

Changes to the blog

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgb-2Regular readers will note a different look to the blog, which I implemented over the weekend. I actually liked the old look better, but my WordPress upgrade “broke” the Headway theme I used to create it. So, I’ve used a stock WordPress theme, which I was able to customize only in color and font choice. I’ll get back to a custom look once I figure out the new version of Headway, but that may be several months from now.

Upgrading my WordPress installation has significant “back end” benefits for me (most notably, better backup capabilities and comment spam prevention), but also has several benefits for readers. The broken commenting function has been restored, so readers can once again comment on my posts. Take advantage of it! (Look for the “Leave a comment” link to the right of the post categories underneath the social media icons that are under each post.) The social media icons are also new, and make it very easy for readers to share posts via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Printing functionality is also greatly improved. Clicking the printer icon in the icon row below a post will create a printer-friendly version of the post.

Readers who currently subscribe via RSS or email should watch for an announcement later this month about changes to the subscription service. I will try to make that as seamless as possible.

California Supreme Court invites your comment on proposed changes to publication rules involving cases accepted for review

I expect that in this age of electronic research, most lawyers have experienced the frustration of finding the “perfect” case, only to learn it is unpublished and therefore could not be cited as precedent. (See rule 8.1115(a), Cal. Rules of Court.) Even in the “old days,” when research was limited to hard copy books, you could still find the perfect cases whisked out from under you, either because it was later disapproved or, more frustratingly, had been accepted for review by the Supreme Court, which has the effect of automatically de-publishing the case. (See rule 8.1105(e)(1), Cal. Rules of Court.)

That may change. Yesterday, the Supreme Court posted for comment some proposed changes to this scheme.The upshot is that there would be a 180-degree change in the rule, so that published cases accepted for review by the Supreme Court would remain published, with a notation that the case has been accepted for review.

Where things get interesting is in the related issue of the precedential effect of such cases. If cases on review remain published, should they have the same precedential value they had prior to being accepted for review? That’s one proposal (but it also has a provision that the Supreme Court could explicitly limit the precedential value of the decision. The second proposal is that such decisions would not be binding and could be cited only for persuasive value.

The proposal generated quite a bit of buzz on the Los Angeles County Bar Association Appellate Courts Section listerv yesterday. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” caucus seemed to win the day.

Of course, not everyone agrees that the current system “ain’t broke.” There is an organization dedicated to advocacy for publication of all Court of Appeal opinions. Several years ago, a law firm even sued the Supreme Court over its publication rules.

The issue of the precedential value of cases accepted for review is of concern beyond the appellate community, of course. Published decisions of the Court of Appeal, regardless of the district in which the decision was rendered, are binding on trial courts statewide. Where there are conflicting appellate court decisions, a trial court is free to choose which it will apply.

Since conflicts among the Court of Appeal often generate review by the Supreme Court, trial courts are forced under the current rules not to rely on the more recent decision and treat the earlier one as binding. Someone on the listserv pointed out yesterday that this is unfair, and I tend to agree. After all, where review is granted because of a conflict between two cases, the Supreme Court is likely to disapprove one or the other of them rather than reconcile them. In other words, since the fate of both cases lies in the balance, why should one have greater precedential value than the other?

If you wish to offer the Supreme Court your comments on the proposal, you must do so by September 25, 2015.

Update: Horrendously embarrassing typo in headline fixed!

Congrats and thank you to the new TEN Networks Blog (and welcome, TEN members!)

The TEN Networks, Inc. launched its blog last week, and the editors graciously designated The California Blog of Appeal as one of its Member Blogs of the Month, along with with Elderupdates.com, the blog of Encino elder law attorney Brian Shepphard.

The TEN Networks is the umbrella organization for two business networking groups: The Esquire Network, a fantastic attorney group with a unique meeting structure, of which I am an enthusiastic member; and The Executive Network, which is open to other professionals. I encourage you to check them out.

Finally, how fortuitous (divine?) that TEN’s new blog would honor this one around the time I made my shameless plea for nominations for 2015 Legal Blog of the Year!

Shameless request for nominations

Expert witness service The Expert Institute is taking nominations for entries in its 2015 Best Legal Blog Contest.

Do I need to say anything more?

OK, here comes the shameless part.

Whether you are a years-long fanatical subscriber to this blog whose first action every morning upon waking is to grab your iPhone off your nightstand and check your RSS reader to see if there are any updates to this blog, or someone who just came across this blog yesterday, give some thought to nominating this blog. If you do, you should nominate it in the “niche” category. (If Best Blog By A Guy Who Does The Best He Can With The Time He Has Blogging About Things Like Appellate Procedure, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Technology in the Law, Significant Substantive Developments In The Law, And Court News Off-And-On Since 2007 is not a niche, I don’t know what is.)

To reach the contest nomination page, click the image above or the second link in this post. Or click here, here, here, or here. Or, if you like, here.

I’ll even let you click there to nominate other blogs. Just this once.

Update (8/19/15): Time is running out. I got an email this morning advising that nominations must be in no later than than the “end of the day” on Friday, August 21, 2015.

Now in session: The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals!

The Ninth Circuit

Just before Christmas, I announced that this blog would be spinning off a new blog, The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals, with the start of the new year. I’m pleased to announce that The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals is now in session. This is the follow-up post I promised about how I reached the decision to split this blog and my plans for managing both of them.

First, an explanation as to why I am resuming blogging on a more regular basis. As regular readers recall, my blogging frequency dropped off dramatically in 2009. I posted from time to time, but not with the regularity and enthusiasm with which

I started this blog in spring of 2007. (Then again, I’m not sure any solo blogger could have kept up that pace for long.)

A funny thing happened while I was away from this blog.

Traffic doubled. People called and hired me after finding me through the blog. And, while I was worried that the drop off in my blogging would eventually catch up to me, and that I would be passed by other California appellate bloggers, it turns out many of them — the practicing attorneys, anyway — blogged even less than I did!

Now, all of that might suggest the whimsical view that infrequent blogging is the key to success! But I don’t look at it that way. I see the past year as evidence that renewed and consistent blogging will bring even more traffic and help reestablish my blogging niche. That way, I won’t be embarrassed at the state of the blog the next time I get mentioned at Lexblog.

Why spin off The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals?

There was one thing that was missing, or at least very infrequent, about the traffic generated by this blog: inquiries about

Ninth Circuit appeals. Virtually all my inquiries were about California state court appeals. When I did get an out-of-state inquiry, it was often for an appeal in some state court where I am not admitted to practice, or an appeal in another federal circuit.

That made me think that federal subject matter posted on this blog is hidden from the typical internet researcher. Who is going to look for information about federal appeals on a blog called The Calfornia Blog of Appeal, even if it shows up in their search results?

The new blog is an effort to reach those readers. It seems to me that someone with a federal case in Arizona who turns up a result on The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals is far more likely to look at it than at the identical content on The California Blog of Appeal, especially if that someone is a lawyer familiar with the terminology. (A fair number of my inquiries come from lawyers rather than their clients.) But even a party with little knowledge of the court system is likely to have learned from his trial lawyer that his appeal is to the Ninth Circuit.

I’ve taken steps (amateur ones) to “SEO” the new blog. That’s “search engine optimization” for you non-techies. And its designed to draw ninth circuit traffic like flies. I hope.

What should regular readers expect here?

The state-federal division between the blogs isn’t as simple as it sounds. You lawyers out there can think of it as the Erie

doctrine for blogs. The question I face is similar to that faced by the Erie court both in the nature of the split and the difficulty of answering the question: when does a post belong on the state court blog The California Blog of Appeal and when does it belong on the federal court blog The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals?

Well, the easy answer is that posts about federal cases go on  The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals and those about California state court cases go on The California Blog of Appeal. The problem is, that is the easy answer, not necessarily a good one. Too many posts transcend jurisdiction.

For starters, what about cases that affect the law in both court systems? For example, a case where the Ninth Circuit certifies a question to the California Supreme Court? Or a United States Supreme Court case regarding constitutional criminal procedure that governs all criminal cases, state or federal?

In addition, I’ve blogged about many things besides developing case law. Legal humor, legal technology, legal education , and even law practice and marketing are occasional topics here. I blog about legal writing and legal research quite a bit. I even blog about blogging and note the occasional oddity.

So, I’ve been pondering for several weeks how to divide these seemingly transcendant posts between the blogs, and I’ve come up with a hard and fast rule: I’m going to wing it. But I’m going to wing it with an eye towards taking care of my regular readers. I may cross-post some posts at both blogs. I may write a summary on one blog that links to the full post on the other. I ma

y try to put a slightly different spin on the same post at the respective blogs. The lighter and more personal posts are likely to be posted here. Until I establish some kind of rhythm, my principle concern will be not to make the transition too jarring for my regular visitors. My apologies in advance for any inconvenience.

There is, however, one way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Subscribe to both RSS feeds! (State and Federal.)

So, go read my introductory post at The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals, poke around a bit, and feel free to offer any suggestions for improvement.

Finally, within the next week or so I will be converting The California Blog of Appeal to a new theme that complements the theme at The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals and will allow me to implement better search engine optimization. My target date for the new theme is Monday, January 11.  You may find this blog down occasionally until you see it with the new theme


Unlike the Ninth Circuit, this blog is soon to be split in two

Teenage boy chopping wood

And just how, you might be wondering, is a blog with a single blogger going to split up?

Since this blog’s inception, I have covered case law and issues in the Ninth Circuit as well as California state court. Based on responses to the blog, however, it appears few people arrive by looking for federal information. Am I missing out on readers — and maybe even business — by having coverage of federal issues buried in a blog called The California Blog of Appeal?

Well, I’m going to try to find out. Starting January 1, 2010, your humble blogger is going to be pulling double blog duty, covering case law and issues from California state court here and covering case law and federal issues in the Ninth Circuit at The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals. The new blog is still under construction, but if you care to bookmark it prior to the grand opening, click here.

I’ll have a lot more to say on January 1 about how I reached the decision to split the blog, how I intend to avoid duplicate posts on both blogs on subjects applicable to both (legal writing, e.g.), and how I intend to minimize inconvenience for my regular readers who wish to follow both blogs.

UPDATE (12/29/09): The split may be delayed until January 4. I’m running into technical difficulties with the design of the new blog. Nobody is going to be reading law blogs on New Year’s Day anyway . . . are they?

A Note to my Feed Subscribers

A glitch over the weekend resulted in a post to this blog that didn’t belong here.  You’ll know it when you see it.  Rather than trying to figure out what it has to do with appeals, rest assured that it doesn’t . . . it didn’t even belong on the blog!  Sorry for any resulting confusion.

Proposed Meeting of Law Bloggers at the California State Bar Convention

Victoria Pynchon of the Settle It Now Negotiation Blog asked that I pass along her suggestion for a law blogger meeting at the California State Bar Convention this week, and I do so gladly.  From Victoria:

Please let me know if you’re interested in a legal bloggers meeting at the state bar convention in monterey this week. 

We could have drinks at the Hyatt between, say, 5 and 7 on the 27th — the annual dinner & cabaret starts at 7 p.m. that evening — Saturday — and we could just flow into that event; or we could do Thursday AT the Opening Night reception, which starts at 5:45 . . . I’ve got the Cal Women Lawyers Annual Dinner at 7 p.m. 

What would be most convenient for everyone? 

Reply to Vickie Pynchon at vpynchon@settlenow.com or leave a comment on the [LinkedIn] Group discussion thread on the meetup. Thanks.

Time for Another WordPress Upgrade

I’m behind in upgrading to WordPress version 2.6, so I’m going to try to do it this weekend.  That means a brief outage during the upgrade process.  Previous upgrades have gone smoothly, and with any luck, the blog should not be down more than about 15 minutes, probably late Friday or Saturday night.

My New Digs . . . and New Everything Else

Some of you may have noticed some changes in sidebar information that clued you in to my recent relocation and change of practice name. Most of you probably didn’t, so here’s everything you need to know (more than you need, actually) in one post.

First, the new digs. I’ve moved from Ventura to Oxnard, and specifically to the Fisherman’s Wharf area of Channel Islands Harbor, where you’ll find the fine gentleman at right (the one in the yellow coat) standing post in front of the Ventura County Maritime Museum, which is in the building next to my office.

I’ve gone from a professional building in a busy part of town — with the attendant traffic — to a far more tranquil setting. Instead of having doctors and lawyers as neighbors, I share a building with Anacapa Surf Shop and The Studio Gallery, which is . . . cool. There are two other law offices in the complex. One is my old boss, the other I haven’t been able to check out yet.

The location also makes for distinctive driving directions: “After you pass the lighthouse, turn in at the second ship’s mast and park near the water taxi sign.”

Oh yeah, remember that view of the parking lot? It’s been replaced with this:

OK, I admit, that’s not quite my view. I actually have to take a few steps outside my office to see this. But my old view was of a parking lot, and when I stepped outside my office, I still saw a parking lot. This is better. My first office as a lawyer in BigLaw was on the 46th floor of the Gas Company Tower in downtown Los Angeles, from which I could see Dodger Stadium, the HOLLYWOOD sign, and Griffith Park Observatory. Again, this is better. And it’s minutes from my house, so the commute is better, too.

And perhaps one of the biggest benefits of all: windows that actually open . . . fresh air!

Luckily, the nature of appellate practice means I can work on appeals from all over the state (or from around the Ninth Circuit, for that matter) no matter where I locate my office. Most appeals require only a single court appearance and very few meetings with the client (sometimes none). Send your documents to me in Channel Islands Harbor (or deliver then yourself as an excuse for a brief getaway to this beautiful place), and let me take care of the rest!

By the way, when you send them, you’ll no longer be sending them to me at “G.T. May Law Offices.” You’ll be sending them to me at “The Law Office of Greg May.” Not exactly a radical change, but I thought the name of the practice should include the name under which I have developed an online presence. The rest of my new contact information:

Greg May
The Law Office of Greg May
2741 Victoria Ave, Suite “E”
Oxnard, CA 93035
Ph: (805) 824-5120
Fax: (805) 832-6145
Website: http://gregmaylaw.com
UPDATE: While web address, phone number and fax number remain the same, my address is now P. O. Box 7027, Oxnard, CA 93031.
Zemanta Pixie

Happy Birthday to The California Blog of Appeal!

The California Blog of Appeal launched at 3:12 pm on April 30, 2007, with a first post entitled “The California Blog of Appeal Will Now Come to Order!” (Seemed clever at the time, anyway.) I don’t think I’ve wandered far from the vision I described in that post.  So, if I may be self-congratulatory for a few minutes . . .

This is the 539th post on this blog.  The 539 posts span 135 categories (I may be going a bit overboard on cateogrization) and altogether contain more than 164,000 words. That’s the equivalent of nearly a dozen maximum length civil appellate briefs. Whew! Speaking of birthdays, learn how to throw your child a great bday!

As for readership, the blog had 767 page views last June and has more than 4300 page views this month – nearly a 6-fold increase.  As the graph below shows, the last two months have exceeded even last October’s traffic spike, which resulted in large measure from a single post that got picked up and linked to by Overlawyered (and hosting Blawg Review #155 this month with a link from Instapundit sure didn’t hurt):

Of course, part of that growth is due purely to the increasing number of posts over time, which means more and more posts will be found in Google searches.

In the same period, RSS feed subscriptions have gone up from 9 to around 150 (though the badge in the right sidebar often shows about half that because it often fails to include Netvibes subscribers).

To everyone: thanks for reading, commenting and linking here. Here’s hoping you see a post here on the blog’s second anniversary — and many more between now and then.

P.S. One not-so-good stat: more than 16,000 spam comments intercepted by my spam blocker! That stuff is everywhere.

Brief Outage for Upgrade Monday Night

I will be upgrading The California Blog of Appeal to WordPress 2.5 on Monday night. Previous upgrades have gone off without a hitch, requiring only about 15 minutes of downtime. This one should run just as smoothly, but you never know. On the off chance you can’t access the blog on Tuesday, rest assured the situation is temporary.

This post will stay at the top of the blog until the upgrade is complete. Scroll down to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Site Upgrade Notes and Request for Assistance

I upgraded the blog from WordPress 2.2 to WordPress 2.3 overnight. You may see some minor fluctuations in the site as a result.

For example, I have removed the site stats from the right sidebar because the plug-in does not seem compatible with this new version of WordPress. No big loss. Nobody was looking there to see that I have posted more than 71,000 words in 226 posts, right?

As far as commenting goes, comment previews seem to be working. The Blogfollow plug-in does not seem to be working, but I’d appreciate it if someone else would try posting a comment to this post so I can be sure the Blogfollow incompatibility has to do with the upgrade and not with the blog URL I was entering. When you post the comment, make sure to provide the URL of your blog. When the comment is approved, it will include a snippet from your own blog if the plug-in is working correctly. If not, I’ll know it’s not working and can get to work on fixing it.

Snapshots seem to be working. The comments spam filter seems to be working, so you shouldn’t see any offers for Viagra or investments in the comment threads.

I’ll be playing with the remaining plug-ins over the next few days, seeing what needs to be tweaked. If the site seems to behave strangely on your end, shoot me an e-mail to describe the odd behavior.

Posting Schedule

I will be out of town starting tomorrow and will not return until Monday night.  I’ve set up posts in advance for tomorrow and Friday, so they obviously won’t cover breaking news.  I’m not sure if I will have internet access, so I may not be able to see the latest cases or court news until my return.

Posting Schedule

I will be in San Diego or in transit July 17-19 and doubt I will be accessing the blog in that time.  If there’s a blog storm over some bombshell opinion between now and Friday and you’re wondering why I have nothing to say about it, it’s because I’m either driving, in my seminar, or with my wife and 5-year-old daughter watching Shamu and the other killer whales jump through hoops.

You will have to content yourself with the posts I have already drafted and scheduled to publish automatically (assuming I did it right) through July 19.  The California Blog of Appeal will thus have at least one new post per day (again, assuming I did it right) for those of you who can’t get through your morning coffee without checking to see what I published in the wee hours.

Snap Shots are Back

Introducing Snap Shots from Snap.com

I just installed a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you “look ahead,” before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Readers of this blog at its original WordPress host will remember that this feature disappeared when I moved to my own host on June 11. Now it’s back, for those that want it.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon (it looks like a gear wheel) in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot (i.e., the pop-up window) and opt-out. You can also choose between different size pop-up windows by clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of the pop-up window.

Some Small Changes

Regular readers will note some small changes to the post and commenting formats.

First, the comment form now includes a field for your URL. If you fill out this field with the URL of your own blog, then a recent snippet from your blog will appear immediately below your comment. For an example, check the comment I have added to this post. In effect, you’re advertising on my blog. This service is by way of a plug-in called “Blogfollow,” and the Blogfollow badge appears below each post and on the comment page (which may be overkill — I’ll probably take it out of the position below each post). Hovering over the badge explains what the plug-in does. Clicking on it takes you to the developer’s webiste.

Second, I have added links for “E-mail This” and “Add a Comment” below each post. I was concerned that the “No Comments” link at the bottom of the post (which is still there), rather than communicating that no one had yet commented, might instead convey that comments were not allowed. “Add a Comment” hopefull dispels that impression.

This last feature has proven to be a little buggy. (For example, those links don’t appear to show up in this post, though they are in earlier posts.) I’m working through the issues with the developer. If I can’t get it functioning correctly in the next few days, I’ll take it out.

The Move is Complete — Welcome to the Self-Hosted California Blog of Appeal!

I got everything done, and from now on I’ll be posting exclusively here at the self-hosted site. No more posts will be made to the WordPress site, except in order to direct traffic here. Some things you may need to do:

Bookmarks: If you had the WordPress URL bookmarked, you need to update your bookmark for The California Blog of Appeal to http://www.calblogofappeal.com.

Posts Feed: If you were a subscriber to the feed from the WordPress site and wish to continue receiving a feed, you need to update the feed URL to http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheCaliforniaBlogOfAppeal. You can subscribe to the posts feed automatically using either the newsreader button or web aggregator button in the right sidebar. If you need an Atom feed rather than an RSS feed, don’t worry. The feed is set up with Feedburner’s SmartFeed, which should convert the feed on the fly to either RSS or Atom, depending on your aggregator. You can also use the second button to subscribe by e-mail. If you try subscribing and your feed does not work, please email me using the link in the left sidebar.

Comments/Trackbacks: To leave a comment or to trackback to the post, click on the title of the post or on the comments link below the post. (A link that says “No Comments” doesn’t mean that comments are not allowed. It just means no one has left a comment yet.) The trackback URL is the same as the URL for the post.

Blogrolls: If you have The California Blog of Appeal on your blogroll, please update the link to http://www.calblogofappeal.com.

Changes Made and Changes Coming to The California Blog of Appeal

I’m in the process of setting up my own web host for The California Blog of Appeal. Right now, the blog is hosted on WordPress.com. at the URL http://calblogofappeal.wordpress.com.

Those of you who have found the blog through a link from another site already know this. But those of you accessing the blog through the URL http://www.calblogofappeal.com may not. I have domain forwarding set up on the calblogofappeal.com domain name and, until tonight, also had domain masking enabled. That means that if you typed in the URl http://www.calblogofappeal.com, you were forwarded to the WordPress URL but it was hidden from you.

The chief drawback to this domain forwarding and masking scheme is that if you then click on a specific post title or the link to its comments, the URL in your address bar still says calblogofappeal.com, which means you can’t identify the specific URL of the post for trackbacks or linking. Tonight, I disabled the masking, so as soon as you reach the site, you’ll see the wordpress URL in the address bar.

When I move the blog to my host, the actual address of the bog will be calblogofappeal.com. If you subscreibe to the RSS feed, you will probably have to resubscribe after the move.

I’m trying to get this done while the blog is still young (it’s 32 days old today) and before it gets too many followers (being optimistic — except for the three-day weekend, I’ve enjoyed a boost in traffic most of the last week or so, creating a greater sense of urgency to get set up as a self-hosted blog). And since I’m not sure I can resume my blog stats where they leave off when I move from WordPress, I do not want to let a large number of hits build up just top start at zero again. Finally, I’ve been holding off on many of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and other steps for increasing the blog’s visibility until it moves to its own host (those steps are listed at http://seobergen.no).

I plan to keep the same general look on the blog (the maroon-to-black banner, fonts, etc.), though I may have to make some changes in the course of switching to the new host.

This won’t happen for a while, but I wanted to give everyone fair warning and explain what I will be doing and why I will be doing it. I also want to mininmize any loss of readership due to the transition. My target date to complete this process is June 18, but that’s likely to slip. I will post updates as the project progresses.

RSS Feed Issue Resolved

I’ve corrected the RSS Feed link in the right sidebar.  The former link was inadvertently set up with an incorrect address for the feed.  So, if you have tried unsuccessfully to subscribe to the feed, try again. I’ve also added direct links to subscribe to the feed through a number of services, such as Google, Yahoo, etc., so users of those services no longer have to go to the newsreader link and then click on another link at that page.