Friday, 16 February 2007

Anonymous lawyer and other blogs

In an interruption to the normal Pupilblog posting schedule...

Like several other bloggers -- Nearlylegal and Geeklawyer/Ruthie, at least (links are to their reviews, btw) -- I was contacted by the publisher of a book entitled Anonymous Lawyer by a guy called Jeremy Blachman and asked whether I'd give it a mention on this blog. I was delighted to accept, as it brings my total earnings from this blog to $3.73 (from the Google Adsense thing I tucked away discretely at the foot of the blog to try and get access to stats on how many visitors I was getting, before I heard from Tim Kevan about site counters) and one book. I was also flattered and a bit surprised to be asked, although, I strongly suspect the email to me originated with the UK publishers, Vintage, rather than Blachman himself, especially given the very swift arrival of the book in question when I agreed.

Anyway, for the above reasons I can't credibly claim to be entirely dispassionate.

The book is structured mainly as blog entries by the (sadly) fictional, Machiavellian and anonymous hiring partner at a major US law firm, and it is all based on the blog of the same name. I found the book very funny indeed. I read it over the course of last weekend and it was a light read but tremondously enjoyable. I was rooting for the Anonymous Lawyer all the way. I think he appealed to my dark side. Which clearly means I should never be entrusted with minions.

The torturing of paralegals and associates is highly entertaining and sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it seems one has to undergo this baptism of fire oneself before getting to dole it out, so I don't think I'll be signing up for any of the misleadingly opulent summer associate programmes he describes. The various references to associate suicides seemed more amusing before the recent death of Matthew Courtney, I have to say (see Charon QC for blog commentary links). Attitudes amongst the senior partners to the role of women, ethnic minorities and the disabled are interestingly almost prejudice free - they are marginalised and humiliated by Anonymous Lawyer and Anonymous Law Firm for entirely commercial reasons of short term profit maximisation. Without wanting to come over too sandal-flappy, it's a good expose of what happens when you combine short term profit motive and an unregulated market.

I was particularly horrified to read about the character's blogging experiences, which are all (which one rather important exception) very familiar to me. Setting it up in the first place as a form of release and confession, the technical hurdles a newbie needs to cross, increasing hubris expressed through the blog, the giving away of too much personal information, the kicking in of a desire after a few weeks to see what other people think by setting up a visitor counter and an email address, the discovery of your identity by an initially friendly unknown individual...

I'd definitely recommend it as a fun read. It was far better than I imagined it would be when I started, as I'm not, ironically, much of a fan of the use of the diary format in literature. Although as a lawyer and a blogger I'm not exactly best placed to judge this, I think it is sufficiently well written and amusing to appeal to a wider audience.

On another non-pupillage related subject, while I'm at it, I have, since I started this blog, linked several other blogs on my 'blogroll' to the right of the main text. Partly this is the result of the etiquette of reciprocation, partly because I dip into these other blogs from time to time and find them interesting and amusing.

They range from the well established big fish of the small pond of the UK legal blogging world, the likes of Geeklawyer, Charon QC (both of whom have been on particularly amusing form of late, incidentally) and Binary law, to the more niche, specialist and reflective bloggers like Nearlylegal, Lo-fi librarian, Tim Kevan and Human Law, to the trainee and up and coming bloggers such as the UK Law Students, Batgirl, Law Student and Lawyer-2-be. It's this last category into which I fall, as I've so far resisted using this blog as a platform.

Legal Scribbles & Quibbles will no doubt shortly rank with the 'blawging' (I'm not keen on the term) colossi but Martin George of fame has only just started this personal blog. Legal Beagle also looks interesting, and makes me realise that I should probably link other practitioner blogs, and perhaps have a section on them. It would be useful for anyone stumbling across this blog while considering a legal career.

I'm thinking of expanding but also breaking down my existing blogroll into these sorts of sections to point readers in the right direction. I haven't given it much thought yet, but this is probably fraught with difficulties and potential for offence. One of the advantages of anonymity, I suppose.

Maybe just:
1. Legal comment and gossip
2. Practitioner and trainee experiences
3. Slightly random

Right, back to normal posting parameters for next time!


lo-fi librarian said...

Oh, no, not 'slightly random'! I fear this is where I would fall.

BabyBarista said...

Thanks for the links to the other legal blogs. Enjoying your own tales of pupillage.

Nearly Legal said...

'Niche, specialist and reflective'? Hmm. I suppose I feel almost complimented.

I might well bang on about housing law, I'll admit, but on the whole I'd go for all three of your categories, or at least 1 and 2.

Not that I'm not suitably grateful for the linkage ;-) but I thought about categorising my link list, then gave up in fear and trembling. Let them lie and let the reader sort them out, I'd say.

Pupilblogger said...

Hum, perhaps not such a good idea. Might just do a 'Life as a lawyer' section and leave it at that. Bloggers do seem to defy categorisation, as do their blogs.

Nearly Legal said...

'Life as a lawyer' sounds like a good catch all. Sorry, I didn't mean to sound as sniffy as that last comment came over.