I started this blog 10 years ago today, absolutely clueless about what I would do with it. I just liked to write and figured this would be a good arena to take oft-times complex subjects and break them down to their easy components. (The Purpose of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
After putting up that first little post I remember telling my webmaster about the six hits I got from that post. I found readers so quickly! He told me they were Bulgarian spambots.
Since then I’ve appreciated something that I didn’t appreciate back then: That the practice of law, even in a small niche like mine, has an extraordinary breadth. There was no real reason to limit myself to local judicial decisions, or trial practice and tips.
And so I have ranged far and wide into the subject of attorney marketing and ethics, Supreme Court nominees, tort “reform,” bar exams, confidentiality and privilege, insurance fraud by the insurance industry itself, and the First Amendment.
And I’ve written about running a few times, because it’s my blog and I get to make the rules.
Among the few rules that I actually try to follow:
- No personal attacks. There is a difference between tearing into someone’s argument and an ad hominem attack;
- No gratuitous coverage of local incidents where people are likely to hire lawyers due to injuries;
- No self-aggrandizement, or this blog would look like an advertisement, and worse yet, be dreadfully dull; and
- Try hard not to do “me too” posts that merely repeat the news/thoughts of others.
Along the way of writing 1,400+ posts, I’ve had over 2M+ page views, and have stumbled into the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, among many media outlets. The NYT ripped off one of my stories, and the WSJ figured out how to do so also.
I’ve written a few op-eds and appeared in editorials. I’ve done television interviews, given lectures, and appeared on the sides of busses in a NYC Marathon ad.
This humble little site has been viewed in the White House, Supreme Court, Justice Department and CIA, and been seen in 200+ nations, according to Google Analytics. I’ve been sued twice for defamation, and been threatened several other times. The blog was part of the inaugural class of the Law Blog Hall of Fame run by the American Bar Association, along with just nine others.
In other words, it’s been a bit of an adventure. As I sit here typing, I can’t keep from humming along on what a long strange trip it’s been.
Today and tomorrow I’m going to reach back into the archives to link to some of my favorite posts. And when I say favorite, I don’t mean the ones that received the most number of hits. I mean the most fun to write, or ones that I thought important regardless of what others thought.
Because if you don’t enjoy the experience of writing (regardless of whether you do it well), or believe there is a point to what you are doing, then you shouldn’t bother blogging. You’d be miserable, and worse yet, your words would suck. If you’re not inspired to write, it will be abundantly clear in the finished product.
And so, without further ado, Part 1 of some of the babies I enjoyed birthing:
Robert Bork Brings Trip/Fall Suit for Over $1M, Plus Punitive Damages And Legal Fees — This 1997 post hits my list because the suit was brought by a big white shoe firm, and the firm utterly screwed up the simple act of drafting a complaint. And they did so on behalf of a big shot judge for a suit destined to attract media attention. Lesson for laywers: Bigger law firm does not mean better, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, ask.
Doctor “Flea” Settles Malpractice Suit After Blog Exposed In Court — Nine years ago a medical blogger decided to live-blog his own malpractice trial, and it was painful on many levels. His posts and the lawsuit attracted very wide attention at the time in the legal and medical blogosphere, and ultimately landed on the front page of the Boston Globe. Lesson: Don’t write anything you’re afraid to see on the front page of the paper.
Who Sits Jury Duty (The Turkewitz Beer Test) — Jury selection is an art. Since I’m not a great artist, this is the way I do it. Your mileage may vary.The Bubbe Maisse Report (aka “Judicial Hellholes”) – Every year the tort “reformers” come out with a “report” to declare judicial hellholes. The problem? It’s merely a collection of favored anecdotes. Does the press care? What do you think?
Supreme Court Grants Cert in “Fantasy Baseball” Case; Three Justices Recuse Themselves Due To Participation in High Court League — I had the idea to write this 2008 post about a month in advance of April 1st, then kept adding to it. And adding. And adding. I loved writing it, and hoodwinked a few folks. And the premise is still good regarding the circumstances by which SCOTUS judges should recuse themselves.
It was 20 Years Ago Today — Lessons from an around-the-world backpacking trip I took in 1988-89.
Hudson River Plane Crash To Test New York’s New Attorney Ethics Rules? — I had a problem when New York amended its attorney anti-solicitiation rules: How do I write about those rules in practice after a calamity, without it looking like its a covert way of using this blog to solicit? This Miracle on the Hudson splash landing by Captain Sully solved that problem for me, and I’ve been writing on ethics, advertising, marketing and solicitation ever since. The splash landing also had a few other benefits.
As Seen On Oprah! (Kinda, Sorta, Almost) — Back in 2009 Oprah wanted some x-ray images that I have for a piece on medical errors by Dr. Oz. Her staff proved to me that Oprah succeeded despite them. I just enjoyed writing this, OK? Do I really need another reason? (Side note, Diane Sawyer had no problem striking a deal with me a few years later.)
Your Bar Exam Answer Sheet Is Gone — Now What? — This fun little post about the time my bar exam results vanished keeps getting hit, as bar examiners invent new ways to give test takers a little extra shot of anxiety. Good preparation for life, I say. And it spawned a series of subsequent posts on bar exam horror stories. If you has the misfortune to stumble on this while prepping for the test, you’re welcome.
The SCOTUS Nominee and the Tissue Box Test -– Supreme Court nominations are always important (too important), and this is my gripe on the lack of judges with real world experience dealing with individual clients.
Did Sotomayor Violate NY Ethics Rules in Private Solo Practice with “& Associates” Name? — A post that the Times ripped off a month later, without attribution, and forced a response from the White House.
Do I look lawyerly?
Five Years of Blogging (And Happy Thanksgiving) — A little explanation as to why I do what I do, given on the 5th anniversary of this blog. While in a turkey suit. And since that particular day happens to be on the immediate radar, I think it’s time to dig that suit out of the basement.
Blawg Review #134 (NYC Marathon Edition) – Back in the day, Blawg Review was a thing, a weekly round-up of the best that the legal blogosphere had to offer. So I was delighted that so many bloggers elected to tell me what they were writing about that week while we ran the NYC Marathon. Oddly enough, I was able to coerce more bloggers to come to my house to meet Arlo Guthrie at Thanksgiving, and got The Bogeyman to come with me to the homes of bloggers on Halloween, in a couple of subsequent Blawg Reviews.
Tomorrow, some more posts as I continue to naval gaze at my little creation.