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Of Street Fights and Blawgs

Pity the innocent bystander caught up in a street fight.

Last week, Kevin O'Keefe posted this item to his blog: Time hires Wonkette blogger: What's ALM paying Elefant and Ambrogi?, in which he referred to the writing that Carolyn Elefant and I contribute to this blog and asked, "Does ALM appreciate what they have with the two of them?"

Let me be perfectly clear: Neither Carolyn nor I solicited or knew beforehand of O'Keefe's post. When I saw it, I added a comment, tongue firmly in cheek, "A brilliant and insightful post."

The anonymous editor of Blawg Review took O'Keefe's post more seriously than did I, it appears. He/she wrote O'Keefe a private e-mail titled, "What's with Kevin O'Keefe," which O'Keefe then published under the heading, What's with Blawg Review editor? That, of course, brought a public response from the Blawg Review editor, again titled, What's with Kevin O'Keefe?

The issue, of course, is not whether ALM "appreciates" Carolyn and me. As I understand the Blawg Review editor's concern, it was that O'Keefe was out of place "to take up the causes of others without them having asked [him] to do so." Let me, again, be clear: I have no "cause" to be taken up by anyone, as far as ALM is concerned. O'Keefe has been a regular critic of ALM and other legal publishers for what he sees as their failure to "get" blogging and related technologies. In the post at issue, he singled out ALM CEO Bill Pollak, suggesting that perhaps he did not understand "the power of blogs and the need for them at ALM." In a private e-mail to O'Keefe yesterday, I wrote, "Funny thing is that Bill Pollak is one of the people at ALM who most 'gets' the Internet, blogs and all that jazz. To the extent ALM has taken leaps forward in this area, I suspect he's been a prime motivator."

At the same time, I believe every blogger should be encouraged to speak his or her mind on issues that affect the legal profession. As I also wrote privately to O'Keefe: "We need more rabble rousers, fewer ass kissers." I have no cause that needs taking up, but I am all for lawyers taking up the causes of others without necessarily awaiting an invitation.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 4, 2006 at 04:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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