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May 17, 2005

Law-Related Things That Suck: When Lawyers and Law Students Stop Blogging

According to this podcast, the comments there, and this post, Notes from the (Legal) Underground is no more. Instead, it's going to be called Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground and “is going to come to an abrupt halt.” It's unclear what this means. Evan has promised to explain, but for now it seems that the Legal Underground as we've known and loved it is no more.

Why? Evan has apparently seen evidence that becoming a popular blogger can actually hurt a lawyer's business. That news is itself almost as sad as hearing that the Legal Underground may no longer be the fun and happening place we've all come to know and love. It makes me wonder: What the heck do people want from lawyers, anyway? Lawyers are criticized for being stuffy, bloodthirsty sharks. Then, if they show a more human or friendly side, they get criticized (via lost business) for not being stuffy bloodthirsty sharks? I just don't get it.

Along with all the talk recently of why law students shouldn't blog summer jobs, the bad news about law blogging just keeps rolling in. Oh, and now this: Blonde Justice notes that Soupie's BBQ Daycare has gone fishing for the summer.

I guess it's good that I've started my job and don't have much time to read (or write) blogs anymore, huh?

Posted May 17, 2005 06:57 AM | meta-blogging

You know, I haven't yet piped in on this whole "Is blogging bad for your job" discussion, but I think it's time. I sense you getting disillusioned with blogging on the job and that's not good.

My greater fear is blogging ON the job, rather than blogging ABOUT the job. In fact, I never ever mention my active cases until they've gone to trial and become part of the public record or maybe if there's an appeal. That should keep it kosher. Otherwise, all things law-related - discussion of latest news, developments, case law and so on (in a blawg) should work just fine.

If you wish to describe your job function at your summer job, the TYPE of work you're doing (not the specific work) then you should be fine. Think about this: blogging is essentially talking to your friends about your job (but written down). So don't post anything you wouldn't disclose to your friends or someone you met at a bar about your job.

In fact, I've had the head of training, attorneys in my office, heads of other divisions and in fact, senior attorneys from the "other side" tell me they read my blog. It made me nervous at first, but then I looked back at my posts and realized that I hadn't revealed anything about any client. I never write about my colleagues.

As a law student, I'd hardly worry about it. I had an LJ when I was working during my second summer and that was never a problem.

Keep it up - unless you're too busy.

Posted by: Gideon at May 17, 2005 07:22 AM

I too was stunned to read Evan's comments on his blog (I have not heard the podcast yet). I think it will be a huge loss if he decides to stop blogging. I want to add my words of encouragement to Gideon. I think he is right on point (for what my opinion is worth - being a blogosphere newbie). I having been dealing with this subject on my blog because it affects me as an associate. I will have more thoughts on it as time goes by, so let's keep up this dialgue and not be discouraged. I am only writing a comment in response to your post right now, but will write more later on my own blog. This is because I agree with Gideon that one of the main concerns I think employees will have is blogging on the job. I also think this goes for clients as well. Imagine if you were late to a meeting or screwed up a deadline and then they saw that you had time to post on your blog. It could be disastrous. I think the perception of employees and clients about how you are spending your time must be the highest (or one of the highest) priorities. Anyway, I've vowed not to blog during work hours, so that's it for now. More to come.

Posted by: Lawgirl at May 17, 2005 10:13 AM

Yeah, i think Gideon's got it about right. To connect this back to the ongoing discussion about whether to blog your summer job, ai, I think this is a much more moderate view than the "don't blog about work, period!" option. Basically, don't write anything you wouldn't want your boss, your co-workers, your clients, or your opposing counsel to see. But everything else is fair game, including stuff in the public recrod. That makes the most sense to me.

There's still your outside-of-work life to blog about, and I get the impression that you'll have enough of that, no matter what you end up doing.

Posted by: monica at May 17, 2005 01:33 PM

Do it for the people!

Posted by: Womanofthelaw at May 17, 2005 03:55 PM

I think we want lawyers to be less shark-like, but we want our lawyer to be the biggest shark of all.

Posted by: Katxena at May 18, 2005 12:48 PM

The law is one of the most image-driven, conservative, risk averse professional field that exists. And you question why it might be bad to blog, given these realities? Blogging basically exposes you to the entire world; it's the opposite of the circumspections and discretion that people expect out of lawyers. I'm not saying you can't be a good lawyer and blog at the same time; but if you do blog, you shouldn't be surprised that the conventional legal establishment frowns on it.

Posted by: tex at May 20, 2005 07:32 PM

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