Scraps and Workshop #1
I attended a seminar this May in Huntington Beach, California, which has the storied nickname “Surf City, USA.”
When freshening up my list of legal blogs (often referred to as “blawgs,” a term originated by Denise Howell (one of the legal bloggers I refer to as “The First Ones”) (see background story)), I noticed that the St. Louis metropolitan area has a high concentration of popular and influential blawgs.
Consider for a moment:
Matt “the [non] billable hour” Homann – Perhaps the most influential blawger on alternative billing and law practice innovation issues and creator of the “Five by Five” feature, probably the best example of a regular, ongoing blawg content feature.
Evan “Notes From the Legal Underground, The Illinois Trial Practice Blog and The Illinois Personal Injury Blog” Schaeffer – Evan is hands-on the funniest of the blawgers, writes regular insightful and humorous essays and, through his multiple blogs, dispenses a lot of great, practical information. He ties with Jerry Lawson for maintaining the higest number of high-quality blawgs. I admit to being a little jealous of that, but I also have a kind email from Evan that I treasure because he thanked me for inspiring him to start a blog on account of a presentation that I made that I had felt had fallen on deaf ears.
George “George’s Employment Law” Lenard – If you want to see a great example of how to operate a legal subject-matter-specific blog, George’s blog is a great starting point. There is consistently good practically and thought-provoking content. George’s recent posts on health care insurance issues that effect all of us are especially good.
Dennis “DennisKennedy.Blog” Kennedy – Hey, that’s me. (At least I didn’t put my blog first on the list.) I am proud of what I’ve done on my blog – it includes some of my best work.
By any standard, that is a very strong list of blawgs. In the near future, with a bit more arm-twisting from me, I expect to see several new blogs from St. Louis lawyers that will unquestionably become highly-praised and valuable blogs. You know who you are .
However, does this list really get St. Louis to the point where it can claim the crown of “Blawg City, USA”? The answer: a resounding “yes!”
Here’s why. There are not yet very many legal blogs. There are also a limited number that have a high stature, large audience or great infuence. And the blawgs that fit those categories are widely scattered across the country.
Ernie the Attorney is all but synonymous with New Orleans, but you don’t think of other New Orleans blawgers.
Tom “Inter-Alia” Mighell may well be the most brilliant of the blawgers and, in my mind, the lawyer who understands blogging better than anyone else, but most people wouldn’t associate him with Dallas or be able to think of any other Dallas blawgers.
Marty “The Trademark Blog” Schwimmer may have the single best example of a subject matter expert blawg, but you do not associate him with a cluster of New York City or even East Coast blawgers.
While Denise “Bag and Baggage” Howell would be at or near the top of any list of most influential blawgers, there is not really a Los Angeles area cluster of blawgers. There are a number of Southern California blawgers, but that’s a big area. In addition, Denise lives and works within walking distance of Surf City, USA, so another nickname would be more appropriate.
Rick Klau is another of “The First Ones” and as influential as can be, but I don’t have the sense of much else happening in blawging in Chicago.
The law professor bloggers are scattered all over the place and many blawgs do not give you a sense of geography.
The biggest competitor to St. Louis, in my mind, is Washington, DC. The lineup of Jerry “NetLawBlog” Lawson (the wisest blawger), Sabrina “BeSpacific” Pacifici (the most professional blogger) and Carolyn “My Shingle” Elefant (a fantastic example of a content-rich resource blog) is a formidable one indeed. However, since Washington, DC is the nation’s capital, it is fair to have it defer to St. Louis on the “Blawg City, USA” designation.
Finally, as bloggers know, there’s an enormous first-to-market advantage of simply making the claim that “St. Louis, Missouri is Blawg City, USA” and seizing the benefits of the Google results that will arise from this post itself – not that, heaven forbid, that is what I have in mind with this post.
It is incumbent upon those of us who make up the current first group of blawgers to blaze the paths, create the directories and establish the maps and geography of the blawging world for those who follow us and those who will become the future readers and creators of blawgs. In this 200th anniversary year of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I now plant the blawger flag and proclaim that St. Louis is Blawg City, USA.
In the words of Jan and Dean:
“You know they never roll the streets up ’cause there’s always somethin’ goin’
(Blawg City, here we come)
You know they’re either out blawgin’ or they got a party growin’
(Blawg City, here we come)
Yeah, and there’s two swingin’ blawgs for every attorney
And all you gotta do is just subscribe to the RSS feeds”