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Shingle-Minded Devotion

Carolyn Elefant is hanging tight to her shingle. The founder of the blog MyShingle.com (and my co-blogger here at Legal Blog Watch) says she could care less if some lawyers believe hanging out a shingle is out of style -- she'll take substance over form any day:

I love running MyShingle, but I'll always be a practicing lawyer, first and foremost.  And that's why I favor the solo and practice blogs that aren't form over substance or full of jargon but those that teach me, by example, how to practice law and deliver legal services to my clients better, faster and less expensively.

What's got Elefant defending her domain? It's "third wave" lawyer Chuck Newton, who writes on his blog that it's time to "give the whole shingle metaphor a rest." Says Newton:

I am just not sure that I like the term 'hanging out a shingle.' I know it is insider slang that is shouted out by the plaintiff-crips and the defendant-bloods that means going into practice for yourself. I am all for getting your 'law dog down,' but it just seems that phrase is so-o-o-o-o-o last millennium. It is almost Amish-speak.

Rather than a shingle-hanger, Newton calls himself and his ilk Third Wave lawyers. Inspired by futurist Alvin Toffler's book, "The Third Wave," Newton offers a manifesto of sorts:

We work from our homes or from cubicles or small shared offices free from the confines of standardization, centralization, concentration, synchronization and bureaucracy, which has primarily contributed to the dissatisfaction of lawyers with the practice of law.  We live, support and fight for diverse lifestyles.

So, he continues, rather than hang shingles, Third Wave lawyers should pursue the M-Theory. This is a principle of physics that somehow translates into "doing what you love, while keeping your sanity, your earnings and your clients happy."

Which brings us back to Elefant and her shingle. "Truth is," she says, "trends and coolness aren't my focus." That's why, as quoted above, she prefers legal blogs of substance over form. "Maybe that makes me awfully stodgy in a third wave world, but that's My Shingle and I plan on sticking to it."

Hmmmm. Sounds very M-Theory to me.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 31, 2006 at 02:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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