My Last Day at Legal Blog Watch
So let me get right to the point: Today is my last day as a contributor to Legal Blog Watch. Though I've spent the past three-and-a-half years here trying to uncover salacious little tidbits or outrageous controversies in the legal world to enlighten or entertain readers, I'm disappointed to report that there's no scandalous backstory to my departure. I've just run out of steam.
During my tenure here, I've blogged an average of 10 posts a week, roughly 50 weeks a year, for a total of 1,680 posts. Since I'm neither a natural-born nor professionally trained writer, the sheer volume of blogging has taken its toll on my ability to consistently formulate keen insights and package them into clever and engaging blog posts, all within a short span of time. Rather than compromise quality or let my posts grow stale, I prefer to step down now and turn the reigns over to a fresh voice.
At the same time, my law practice, Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant is getting busier because some of my practice areas, like renewable energy, haven't been impacted by the recession. Likewise, with firms cutting associates and employment opportunities in the legal profession on the decline, demand for information on starting and running a solo practice is on the rise. The first run of my book, "Solo by Choice," is about sold out, so I'm going to start an update. I'm also finalizing a major upgrade of my home blog, MyShingle.com, to make it even more useful to readers.
Still, even with these opportunities ahead, my decision to leave Legal Blog Watch isn't without regret. I've had a front-row seat to watch the tumultuous changes sweeping the legal profession and a soapbox from which to comment on it. I've seen the profession swing from the giddy, extravagant days of $1,000/hour billing rates and $2 million profits per partner to its current morass of massive layoffs, pathetic efforts to stem the breach in the dike by cutting back on luxury toilet paper purchases and ABA bar dues and the growth of offshoring legal contract work to India. I've followed the scandals surrounding Enron and Bernie Madoff, and a recent historic presidential election in which lawyer candidates dominated the primaries.
It has been even more fascinating to watch the way technology is changing the legal profession. I've tracked how social media tools went from being a blip on the legal profession's collective radar back in 2006 to a force to be reckoned with in 2009, impacting discovery, ex parte communications, jury trials and lawyer marketing. Yet as technology giveth, so too does it taketh away. I've observed how some of the traditional trappings of the legal profession, like typewriters in law practice, bike couriers and fancy law firm libraries, are going extinct.
In a profession that hews so closely to precedent, I've found all of these changes invigorating. As I leave my position here, I look forward to playing a more active role in rebuilding our trade instead of merely commenting on its transformation. But there's one change I've seen during my stint here that has been a huge disappointment, and that is the deterioration of the blawgosphere. When I started writing for Legal Blog Watch in March 2006, I felt like a kid in a candy store as I read through insightful, well-informed blog posts and chose content to feature. Three-and-a-half years later, the number of legal blogs has exploded, yet the quantity doesn't translate into quality. I've discovered that the Pareto principle applies with full force in the blawgosphere, with 20 percent of the blogs generating 80 percent (maybe more) of the original insights and thought-provoking content. Perhaps there are some terrific new blogs out there, but they become more and more difficult to find amidst all of the noise. On the flip side, most of the great blogs are getting even better with age.
But for all the ups and downs, I've enjoyed every day that I've been here. The thrill of getting paid to read blogs and write for Incisive Media/ALM Media never grew old. Fittingly, this week even brought a parting gift of sorts -- The New York Times Freakonomics Blog (of which I'm an unabashed fan) picked up one of my earlier posts.
Though some people have claimed Incisive is beholden to its advertisers or large law firms, never once have any of my posts been censored or removed, even though they may have been critical of an Incisive sponsor. I credit Jill Windwer and David Snow for allowing me and my co-blogger, Bob Ambrogi, to write what we want, and I also thank them and the rest of the Incisive family for their unwavering support of Legal Blog Watch.
I also have an enormous thank you to John Bringardner for his skillful editing over the past two years so that my posts always shined, and for his patience in waiting to get my material on days when I couldn't meet my deadline. There's also Jennifer Moline and Jennifer Collins, the editors who preceded John, as well as the now-famous Lisa Stone, who created this blog and plucked me from the obscurity of MyShingle to write for her, first as an affiliate blogger and then at Legal Blog Watch. And of course, no final post would be complete without a hat tip to my indefatigable iron-man co-pilot Bob Ambrogi, whose quality posts and powerful writing have forced me to keep improving just to keep pace. Between Bob and my successor, Bruce Carton, I know that I leave the blog in good hands. Most of all, thanks to all of the loyal readers who have kept coming back, commenting and feeding the conversation. You've helped take this blog from its modest beginnings to its current perch as one of the most popular online destinations for legal news.
And with that, I'll pass the keyboard to my successor.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 18, 2009 at 03:36 PM | Permalink
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