Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Blog!

My blog turned a year old last Friday. It is far from where I want it to be, but I have kept up with it for a year (albeit sometimes sporatically), and I'm proud of that. In light of the occasion, I decided to review and evaluate what I have done with this blog for the past year, and set some goals to make it better.

My blog is still looking for a voice, a name and a direction. In retrospect, my posts can be roughly grouped into four categories: substantive or procedural law; consumer protection; the legal job market for new attorneys; and random legal news.

First, the largest portion of my posts have been substantive or procedural, and these have also been the posts that have received the best response. Within my firm I concentrate on appellate and complex motion practice, mostly Torts, and commercial litigation, but because I am a young attorney I have yet to carve out a specific niche. One of my posts, which was actually an article that I co-wrote with a partner and another associate at my firm on slip and fall litigation, was included in a blog round up from Eric Turkewitz's New York Personal Injury Blog (one of my favorite blogs), which I considered to be a tremendous compliment. Another post on appellate procedure prompted an e-mail from a pro se litigant saying that they had found the information helpful. In the future, I want to expand on these posts. Specifically, I do a tremendous amount of research and writing, and much of that work could be fodder for great blog posts. My plan is to have a regular segment called Little Bit O' Law, which will consist of short research pieces.

Second, many of my posts -- particularly the more opinionated ones -- relate to consumer protection. I suppose technically this could be considered a substantive area, but it is not an area where I currently practice (my firm does not do consumer class actions... yet). The most recent post, here, is a New York Civil Court case I read in the New York Law Journal which touched on an issue -- default credit card rates -- that I believe will become increasingly important in the future. I think I was the only person to comment on that case other than the Law Journal. I have also had two posts, here and here, covering a British case where the U.K. government is challenging bank overdraft fees, and contrasting that case to how U.S. courts have handled the issue. Professor Arnold S. Rosenberg found interest in the same topic, and wrote a law review article that was featured the Consumer Law and Policy Blog, here. I feel like this has been one of my blogs strongest areas, and I plan to continue these posts in a segment called Consumer Advocate.

A third group of posts have related to the legal job market for people who -- like myself -- recently graduated with a decent rank, from a decent law school, and were shocked to discover that a law degree is not a golden ticket. There have been hundreds of similar posts on other blogs, but at first I felt like this was ground-breaking information. Shortly after my first post, Loyola2L gained a great deal of publicity. I'll admit I was a little jealous, for a minute, but I am probably better off having not garnered a great deal of publicity for complaining about law school tuition. I in no way regret having gone to law school. The only thing I would have done differently, if I had a more accurate picture of the job prospects for a top-50-ish school, would be to have more seriously considered a public or lower ranked school. That said: I love being an attorney; I believe that I am extremely good at what I do; and I am sure it is just a matter of time before my education pays off financially. Over the past year, the issue of return on intvestment for legal education has been greatly publicized, and I am glad to have put in my two cents. I cannot, however, keep re-posting on the same topic. I have had a few staggered posts about practical lessons I've learned, and my plan is to combine these categories and expand them to include a broader range of topics relevant to young (or prospective) attorneys. I'll include regular (maybe quarterly?) articles about the legal job market, but also pieces with practical lessons that I have picked up. I need a catchy name for this one, but my working title is: I'm a lawyer, now what?

My fourth category of posts over the past year have related to random law related news, but these posts have not had a unifying theme. What I plan to do is have an Around the Bloggosphere segment, where I'll include links and comments to other blog posts that I find interesting.

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