Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

Interviewing Adam Smith, Esq.

We've been reading Bruce MacEwen's Adam Smith, Esq. weblog regularly for quite a while now, and thought it might be interesting to somehow interview this busy consultant whose blog inquires into the economics of law firms.

Bruce MacEwen has been especially busy this week, consulting to major law firms and beavering away on next week's Blawg Review #39, and we've been pretty busy around here ourselves, so it was late this week when we tracked him down on his blog, where he answered our questions.

First off, Bruce, tell us what prompted you to start blogging about law office economics?
I conceived the idea for "Adam Smith, Esq." in late 2003 and actually launched it at the start of 2004. Long fascinated by the transformational potential of the blog as a new medium, at the time I found myself disappointed by the paucity of blogs with a serious, even rigorous, business mission.
Did you see that void in the blogosphere as a "market opportunity" for your consulting practice?
Surveying the legal blogosphere, I suspected there might be room for an analytically focused, professionally produced blog addressing what was and is my passion—the economics of law firms. Not only did there appear to be no sites consistently addressing those issues, altogether too many blogs in general lacked either a polished, adult tone of voice, an approach driven by critical thinking, or both.
I suppose many bloggers would have called it Bruce MacEwen's Law Firm Economics Blog. Why Adam Smith, Esq.?
Adam Smith (the original) is an intellectual hero of mine. He gave the modern world the priceless and ineffable gift of capitalism. When I was majoring in economics in college, I realized again and again how often we depend to this day on his insights and his analytic foundation to drive the market systems that give us today's unprecedented prosperity. I believe it no exaggeration to say that the intellectual framework he developed around markets, the division of labor, and the sources of "the wealth of nations" spurred the progress of the human race as powerfully as any technological invention.
So, Adam Smith is sort of a...
So when the notion sprung into my mind of combining "Adam Smith" with law, the branding "Adam Smith, Esq." seemed perfect. The only problem at the time was that everyone I asked strongly advised against it: "No one knows who he is;" "It's too obscure;" "Adam who?;" "You'll put people off;" "Sounds way too cerebral to me;" etc. Sometimes you just have to go with your instincts.
Well, your instincts seem to have been very good. It's not many law blogs that have over 90,000 readers a month. You must be doing something right. Could you share one of your blogging secrets with our readers?
A little humor never hurts.
What's the best thing about blogging, for you personally?
The readers and the community. I do not exaggerate when I say that the most compelling professional and emotional benefit I have derived from "Adam Smith, Esq." are the virtual- and real-world connections I have made with people from literally across the English-speaking world whom I would never have had the chance to engage with otherwise.
And what does your blog add to your consulting practice?
The ability to foster and support an on-going dialogue about the management of law firms. While it's a commonplace to say that their management has become increasingly professionalized in the past decade or two (to the point where the managerial infrastructure of the typical large firm today would be unrecognizable to the managing committee of, say, 1985), I happen to believe this development is of surpassing importance to the profession, almost without exception positive, and far from complete.
And your blogging on various topics of interest to your clients is a way of engaging your clients and prospective clients in a dialogue—or what did you call it—a conversation about law office economics and changes in the practice of law?
The opportunity to be part of the conversation surrounding this consummately fascinating trend is, to me, the highlight of my career. I hope you find the discussion as rich as do I.
I really do, Bruce, and I'm sure our readers will, too, when you host Blawg Review #39 next week. Last week's Blawg Review #38 by Evan Schaeffer was a New Year's Resolution...
Isn't there something fundamentally irrational about New Year's resolutions to begin with? After all, if you want to start running five miles a day, getting to work earlier, or cutting out the cheesecake, you shouldn't wait until January 1st to start.
Yeah, but that's not what Evan was talking about with his list of resolutions for better blogging. Specifically for your blog, Bruce, what would you like to do on Adam Smith, Esq. in the next year, that you might call New Year's Resolutions?
To connect with more readers of "Adam Smith, Esq." in the real, off-line world—one of the greatest rewards of this site, to me. To try to make "Adam Smith, Esq." ever more insightful, carefully reasoned, and just plain intrinsically interesting. And to celebrate everyone's entitlement to one vice of their choosing.
Well, you'd probably enjoy getting together with our good friend Professor Bainbridge, a business law and economics specialist and a man with many vices to recommend, whose penance will be hosting Blawg Review for us next election eve.
Steve Bainbridge was on the "Savvy Blawgers Panel" at Adam Smith, Esq.
That's interesting. Speaking of networking bloggers, I see you are one of the Affiliate Bloggers, too, which Blawg Review recently hooked up with. How's that working out for you?
In case you haven't seen the home-page of today, they are launching their "Career Center" with a familiar face.
Wow, that's pretty good coverage, and a nice article you got published there. Bruce, you've been busy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, today. Is there anything special you're looking for in the upcoming Blawg Review that we can help you with?
I'm asking for reader participation. Legal bloggers: Send me a link to what you consider one of your smartest, sassiest posts of this week. Loyal readers: Send me a link to posts from your travels in the legal blogosphere that you either think I ought to see, wish you had written, or both.
Okay, your heard him, blawg reviewers. Let's get our submissions and recommendations in this week to help Bruce MacEwen present the best recent blawg posts on Blawg Review #39 at Adam Smith, Esq.