"We shall meet again," said Sir Piercie Shafton, " at least I trust
so..." from The Monastery by Sir Walter Scott
It's been three years since I was a a guest blogger on Above the Law with this nom de plume, Piercie Shafton. As I said at the time, don't bother to Google me. I'm not that Piercie Shafton, “the meddling tool of wise plotters–a hair-brained trafficker in treason–a champion of the Pope, employed as a forlorn hope by those more politic heads, who have more will to work mischief, than valour to encounter danger.” However, I imagine that, in another time and place, I may well have been a figment of the imagination of a lawyer who published controversial writings under an assumed name.
Today, I'm hosting Blawg Review #286 in the stead of a regularly scheduled host who has not blogged or tweeted in months and has been unresponsive to our editor's email reminder messages. We fear he may be unable to write (a fate worse than death for a blogger) and wish him a speedy return to his craft.
Rather than call upon Professor Kingsfield to castigate a recalcitrant blogger, our editor commissioned a more literary Blawg Review to draw attention to the upcoming National Day on Writing, which is October 20th.
Whether we call it texting, IMing, jotting a note, writing a letter, posting an email, blogging, making a video, building an electronic presentation, composing a memo, keeping a diary, or just pulling together a report, Americans are writing like never before. Recent research suggests that writing, in its many forms, has become a daily practice for millions of Americans. It may be the quintessential 21st century skill. By collecting a cross-section of everyday writing through a National Gallery of Writing, we will better understand what matters to writers today—and when writing really counts. Understanding who writes, when, how, to whom, and for what purposes will lead to production of improved resources for writers, better strategies to nurture and celebrate writers, and improved policy to support writing.In the National Gallery of Writing they’re collecting all kinds of writing from people from all walks of life—people just like you. Submit stories, poems, recipes, emails, blogs, even audio, video, and artwork.
Take part in the National Day on Writing.
It pains me that this is styled (as Americans are wont to do) a "National" Day, whereas...whatever.
We share the view of Dan Hull on Cultural Literacy in America.
Put another way, Americans, the Alpha-humans, the elect and the "winners" in modern world history, are not well-rounded in our knowledge of the world, its people, and how we all got to this point on earth. Browse the American blogs of the Internet for a few hours. Mostly bad neighborhoods--and getting worse and dumber every week. We are insular and at best (being charitable here) semi-literate as a people. We are uninformed about the history, political roots, ideas and art of the West.Rather than focus only on American lawyers who write, this Blawg Review on writing takes a global view.
For reasons that make perfect sense, if you click the links and read between the lines, we begin this Blawg Review in England, the homeland of our mother tongue, with CharonQC, who, in his euphuistic style, announces the return of West London Man. If you have never read West London Man – a social satire – and wish to do so there are the first 25 episodes at the link, including guest appearances by Scott Greenfield and Colin Samuels. More about them, later in this Blawg Review.
No review of literary lawyers would be complete without a look at BabyBarista, where this week we find a Solicitor advocate.
BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar. The stories he tells appeared on The Times for three years and now appear on The Guardian and also led to him getting two book deals with Harry Potter’s publisher Bloomsbury. Law and Disorder was first published in 2009 as BabyBarista and the Art of War and republished with its new title in 2010. Book Two of the BabyBarista Files is entitled Law and Peace and will be published by Bloomsbury in May 2011. BabyBarista is written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan.In America, we had the Anonymous Lawyer blog and book, or "blook", as it was called, but he hasn't blogged in a year. Still, the hilariously well-written attorney bios of the Anonymous Law Firm website are timeless.
Scott Greenfield, on Simple Justice, finds much to criticize about the Real Lawyers of Las Vegas.
"What's wrong with your law firm bio?" asks Adrian Dayton, writing on Above the Law.
Should only the gray-haired senior practitioners among us write about how lawyers can improve their business practices with the proper use of blogs and social networking? Or might we learn something from those younger than ourselves? What are we afraid of? Gerry Spence (if you prefer to listen to elders) has written an interesting blog post about the great power of ignorance.
Jordan Furlong, a lawyer, former legal journalist, thought leader and consultant, with more than a dozen years’ experience leading three top Canadian legal periodicals, knows something about what's wrong with the legal profession, and he knows how to make his point with a story.
Rossa McMahon, who blogs at A Clatter of the Law, knows how to write about cases in a way that makes a technical legal matter interesting, not just for other lawyers, but also for clients who read their blogs.
Eoin O'Dell, a senior lecturer in Law in Trinity College Dublin and former Blawg Review host who blogs at Cearta, compares and contrasts the US and EU positions on the extent to which ISPs can be immune from liability in defamation for defamatory posts which they host.
Kenneth Anderson at the Volokh Conspiracy has a very interesting post, effectively headlined for search-engine-optimization, Google Cars Drive Themselves, and Robots and the Law.
Mark W. Bennett (you'll see why lawyers named Bennett always use their middle initials) knows how to tell a story about the trials and tribulations of criminal defense when there's too much to mock.
Among social media savants, few have the klout of Scott Greenfield. "You've got an idea or cause you want to share with the world and you've found the perfect medium for it. Your audience counts on you to champion your cause." Scott Greenfield is a rebel among legal rebels IRL* and Rebels Don't Hide In The Shadows.
Neither does Norm Pattis, who writes on his blog this week about Qualified Immunity And The Police State.
On Lawyer2Lawyer, the Real Betty Anne Waters, who is portrayed in the movie Conviction by character actor Hilary Swank. There's also an interview in Moving Pictures Magazine where "Conviction writer Pamela Gray discusses why writing the script was an arduous journey and how the film was able to hold onto its artistic integrity...Gray dishes on her reasoning for cutting scenes from the script, why you don’t know your characters until you meet the actors who will play them, why she thinks the film is a love story, and her newfound friendship with the real-life Betty Anne."
Colin Samuels has more in this Round Tuit post highlighting the past week's law blogs, with his well-written commentary.
Keith Lee at An Associate's Mind says, Do NOT Tweet, Blog, or Any Other #*$&! While in Trial.
The Wars on Drugs and Terror: mirror images, is an important blog post by Glenn Greenwald, a writer who's a lawyer by profession.
When it comes to literary Blawg Review presentations, we always recognize the award-winning writing Colin Samuels on Infamy or Praise based on Dante's Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Not to mention The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" Speech.
Charon QC, himself a literary blawg reviewer, first noted the trend here.
I have noticed the literary bent of many of the hosts of Blawg Review…. the elegance of Dante, the earthiness of Shakespeare…. but this is hardly surprising; lawyers use language, words, psychology, pathos, emotion…. as arrows of desire and bows of burning gold… our stock in trade.CharonQC followed up with his own masterwork as the Lord of Misrule on Twelfth Night.
But no day on writing would be complete without mention of Kevin Thompson's excellent presentations of the best law blogs with literary themes based on Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as well as the Lord of the Rings.
We end as we began this Blawg Review, leaving the last word to CharonQC who reminds us in his War of 1812 Blawg Review that it was James Lawrence, the mortally-wounded commander of the USS Chesapeake, who cried out “Don’t give up the ship!”
Wait, wait. One last post, from a fool in the forest, George M. Wallace, a must-read for his thoughtful perspectives on culture and the arts, in real life. Everybody Give It Up for . . . Giving Up!
Blawg Review has information about hosting and instructions how to submit your blog posts or recommend others for inclusion in next week's presentation.
*IRL In Real Life - Something people who have such a thing say on the Internet to irritate those of us who do not. These three letters send the average geek loner into a nostalgic flashback of better times in their childhood.
"I'm talking about my friends IRL not you, loser."
"I wish I could attract members of the opposite sex IRL."
"Do you think we'll ever meet IRL?"
In recognition of the 40th anniversary of her October 4, 1970 death, this edition of Blawg Review is dedicated to Texas-born blues wailer Janis Joplin.
Houston-based criminal-defense attorney Mark Bennett does her proud in his thoughtful presentation of Blawg Review #284 on his law blog, Defending People.