Stephen Warne on professional negligence, regulation and discipline around the world

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On blogging

February 15th, 2008 · 2 Comments

The other day, I did a very geeky thing which was also a bit unonline. I had a coffee with fellow lawyer blogger, the mysterious Legal Eagle. One result of the coffee was that somehow I charmed her into writing a second case note of interest to readers of this blog — this time on the long and not entirely straightforward decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal in Equuscorp v Wilmoth Field Warne, referred to briefly in my post ‘Cases, cases’. Go read it. A second may have been that Ms Eagle has ‘tagged’ me with a ‘meme’. It’s very blogosphere. I will participate, but one of the three limbs of this modern day chain letter is going to die with me as I don’t intend to tag anyone else. I will be very grateful if some of the effusive commenters over at her blog migrate over to mine and get a bit of discussion going. So, 3 reasons why I blog.

First, hubris and compulsion. I bet not a lot of people admit it in response to such exercises, but I like the idea of my little platform, and of people willingly ingesting my views. Like many bloggers, no doubt, I take a keen interest in how many people read the blog, where they’re from, and what searches they use to get here. (You wouldn’t credit how many people must be searching ‘home made porno‘, and how many lawyers type ‘Calderbank offer’ into Google. In fact, simply by writing ‘home made porno’ in the last sentence and reiterating it in this one, floods of new readers will probably come, and go, dissatisfied). I like writing, which is one reason why I do not dislike ‘paper work’ as much as many barristers seem to, and perhaps why I get relatively interesting opinion writing briefs. So maybe I have a compulsion to burst into print. Then there’s a compulsion to feed the beast comprised of you readers.

Second, as service. I do genuinely conceive of the blog as a useful tool in evening up the access to ‘the knowledge’ in relation to the quite arcane world of lawyer-client disputes so that it can be accessed by clients and sole practitoners of limited means along with those who are well enough off not to think twice about hiring costs consultants or the relatively few specialists in lawyer-client disputes and professional discipline. Furthermore, I like participating in the nascent international discussion on legal ethics, and reading about developments in legal ethics in America where there is — partly as a function of a huge population, including of lawyers — just so much law. In transporting some of that discussion to Australia, I think that is useful, or can potentially be if anyone ever reads my ‘shared items’. Startlingly the Americans actually read my blog. By way of recent interactions, see here and here. Finally, I hope that some of my writing about legal ethics is a bit more fun than most, and anything that stimulates the moribund silence on the issue in Australia must be a good thing.

Third, as education. Until you do it, you won’t get that writing a blog is quite good fun, and so the impetus to do the professional reading which might otherwise be subordinated to some other activity is given a boost. And to read is one thing, but to digest, synthesise, summarise, and explain takes one’s understanding (and retention) of a case to a different level. Striving to explain it in a way which does not over-simplify, yet can be appreciated by the browsing reader adds further to the benefits. And then the knowledge stays there, and you can search it wherever your Blackberry is, and because you are its author, you can generally remember what words to search for. I frequently consult my own blog by way of legal research, and often enough embed links to it in emails to instructors and in opinions.

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Tags: Law Blogs · No win no fee · Professional fees and disbursements · Retainers · setting aside costs agreements