My Swan Song at Legal Blog Watch
Imagine how I -- a lawyer who loves few things more than to write -- felt when I got this call one day four years ago. "We'd like you to be a featured contributor to our blog," said the caller, an editor at Law.com. "The blog is hosted on one of the most visited legal sites on the Web. We have a readership that spans the globe. You can write about whatever you want and we will highlight your posts prominently."
She probably had me there. Then she added, "And of course we'll pay you to do this."
This has been the greatest gig I've ever had as a writer. For four years, every other weekday (more or less), I have posted here. Our assignment, broadly speaking, was to cover the legal blogosphere. Other than that, we had free rein. Although our posts are edited, we are never censored. My first post was on March 20, 2006. When my long-time partner in blogging here, Carolyn Elefant, left in September, she estimated that her posts added up to a total of some 1,680. Given that I kept at it a few more months than she, I'll estimate my total as north of 1,700.
But over the four years I've been doing this, the blogosphere that we set out to cover has exploded like a supernova. When I started, the number of blogs to track was manageable. Now, it could easily be a full-time effort to keep up. My RSS reader shows some 500 feeds I try to follow.
Beyond the sheer number of blogs is the ever-higher bar they set. So many legal blogs produce so much high quality content that it is difficult to know where to begin and where to end in reading them. As the overall content of blogs has improved, so has the competitiveness among bloggers to be first out of the gate on a story -- us included. With all this, legal blogging could be a full-time occupation -- and in fact it now is for some.
For the legal profession, these are all good things. Blogging has come into its own and lawyers are the beneficiaries. But for this particular legal professional, the race to keep up with blogging began to compete too aggressively with my other work. Our assignment to cover legal blogs got only harder every day. Even though I was being paid to blog, it was only intended to be part-time and I wasn't about to abandon my day job or the clients who see fit to hire me. Something had to give.
So it is with mixed emotion and heavy heart that I leave this gig behind. But before I go, I want to say a special word of thanks to John Bringardner, the Law.com editor who oversees this blog. I could not ask for a better editor. John reviews every post with an eagle eye, feeds me great tips, accommodates my sometimes-crazy schedule, helps promote notable posts, and never lacks for positive and constructive feedback.
I've already thanked Carolyn Elefant, my blogging partner for most of these four years. I also want to acknowledge Law.com Executive Editor David Snow, who gave me the freedom and encouragement to blog on whatever I wanted; Law.com Vice President Jill Windwer, whose vision and hard work have made Law.com a leading destination for legal professionals on the Web; Jennifer Collins, the former Law.com editor who first invited me here; and ALM CEO Bill Pollak, one of the few corporate leaders in publishing or in any industry who truly gets social media.
I leave with enormous gratitude and respect for the legions of legal bloggers out there who gave me something to write about all these years. I regularly followed hundreds of blogs, but I would particularly acknowledge a handful for their consistently top-notch reporting (and for feeding me countless ideas). Not a morning goes by that I don't start by checking Above the Law, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, the ABA Journal Daily News, The Am Law Daily, The BLT and SCOTUSblog, all of which excel at reporting and breaking key legal news. Others I follow religiously include Overlawyered, where Walter Olson keeps a critical eye focused on the legal profession; Legal Profession Blog, which is unparalleled in covering legal ethics; Real Lawyers Have Blogs, where Kevin O'Keefe and his crew stay one step ahead of the social media curve; Law Librarian Blog, where Joe Hodnicki never misses a beat in tracking legal research and information; and beSpacific, where Sabrina Pacifici has consistently functioned as a virtual one-woman legal news bureau since 2002.
Of course, my greatest thanks goes to the people who read this blog over the years and to those who took the time to share their comments or shoot me an e-mail. Bruce Carton has done a fantastic job of stepping into Carolyn's shoes as a co-blogger here. No doubt, someone will take my spot and show me how it should have been done. But now, at least, I can reveal the one dirty little secret I've harbored since the day I got that first call offering to pay me to blog: This gig was so great, I should have paid them!
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 28, 2010 at 02:15 PM | Permalink
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