Guten Abend meine Damen und Herren.. und… even… Juristen… . aber die Zeit ist Geld … so I will keep this brief.
It is with regret that I cannot join the distinguished panel of pundits, mavens, prognosticators und blawgers at ze #UKLAWBLOGS Convention at The Law Society on 19th May 2011. I am Dr Erasmus Strangelove (no relation), as some of you know, Director of Psyops, Strategy and Education at niche boutique firm Muttley Dastardly LLP in The City. Our motto is ‘Strength & Profits’. Each day I have to make complex and even minor calculations as to how I allocate the 20 hours of billable time – available daily to the modern day professional lawyer - to the future of The Partners…. of which I am one. More often than not this consists of monitoring a bank of television screens in my Psyops room in the basement, where we are able to monitor (and direct) the productivity of our various departments or…as we call them at Muttley Dastardly LLP… ‘revenue generation units’. We like a neo-post-modern joke at our firm… or, at least, The Partners do.
I came to ze conclusion that while blawging und flawging is a most worthy and profitable activity for other lawyers to engage in… the more so if these same people can be encouraged to waste industrial amounts of time on twitter und Linked-In – the profit comes from taking advantage of the lack of productivity from our competitors and not in engaging in these activities ourselves. This explains why I am allocating time to a specially televised broadcast, delivered to you by courier using a USB device to connect with a PC at an internet cafe ‘somewhere in Abbottabad”, rather than expend Zeit ist Geld by attending in persona.
It distressed me to hear this morning that ‘persons unknown’ sought to obtain an injunction from Mr Justice Spank-Farquhar , a superinjunction contra mundum and against twitter and Facebook, to restrain publication of my address to you urbi et orbi. Fortunately, our recently knighted managing partner, Sir Matt Muttley, was able to use his considerable expertise to brief counsel to turn over this injunction on the sole ground that all matters, save those which The Partners of Muttley Dastardly LLP do not wish to be made public, are in the public interest.
Spank-Farquhar J said “I have known Sir Matt Muttley for many years. We were in The Bullingdon together and what happened at that club in London we trashed all those years ago, stays at that club we trashed in London all those years ago. When Sir Matt Muttley tells me now, through counsel, that he believes something should be made public, I can only reach one conclusion: It is in his interest, and therefore in the interest of the public and the ‘public interest’, for it to be made public. I therefore order contra mundum spiritus et fillii et Spiritus Sancti exorciso te Romanum that this notice be published everywhere – with a bit of added SupraMandamus just to chill the breast of the tardy. Make it so Mr Sulu and let these words boldly go.”
I am much encouraged that a renegade blawger in Kent has addressed the real issue of law blogging. I refer to Mr John Bolch of Family Lore and his brief, but nevertheless precise and excellent, treatise on the subject:
Lord Bolchdidit goes to the very foundation of the rot which may pervade, pervert and pollute blogging – and which we may sleep walk into – if we are not very careful. I quote:
“When I began writing this blog, there weren’t that many other legal blogs around. Law blogging was still a relatively new phenomenon, not taken seriously by the legal establishment. OK, there were certainly some serious legal blogs about (IPKat comes to mind), but there was definitely a higher proportion of more personal law blogs, with their own unique styles, such as Charon QC and the much-missed Geeklawyer.
Gradually, however, the establishment began to realise the potential of blogging to promote businesses and further careers. More and more blawgs began to appear, from the tedious “here’s a topical legal story – if you have the same problem, we can help” type, to the rather more subtle providers of detailed legal analysis, thereby demonstrating serious expertise.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that law blogs should be restricted to one type. One of the beauties of blogging is that there are (virtually) no rules as to what format a blog should take. The problem, however, is that the establishment thinks it knows best and inevitably tries to take over the medium. Before we know where we are, we have blawging mavens making their pronouncements to the minions from on high, telling us all the right and the wrong ways to do things.
Worse than that, the establishment likes order. Blawgs have to be listed and rated. Now, I have nothing against personal opinions, but if the rating is by committee or vote, then you can count me out. You can also count me out of any annual award ceremony for the best blawgs by category, even if the winners are announced in reverse order.
I concur. If I have any advice at all for law bloggers… it is this.. you have a duty to stir. My colleague and consultant to Muttley Dastardly LLP, Charon QC, will be attending #UKLAWBLOGS if he is sober – and he may well appear roaring on arrival in any event. I suspect he will be putting his “Doctrine of The Duty To Stir’ (Self Aggrandisers Monthly April 2011) before you for your delectation and delight. He may listen to reason – and he does a most passable imitation of appearing to do so and be affable at the same time – but he certainly does not feel it necessary to abide by reason.
That is all. May the law have mercy upon your soul and keep you safe from flawgers and establishment blawgers. Read their marketing schtik instead.
Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Strength & Profits