5 PerspectivesSeptember 28, 2008
A quick warning: this post is not about how to resolve disputes; it’s about blogging and it’s one of the few off-topic posts I intend to write. For thoughts on settlements and how to negotiate them, please scroll down to the next post.
With that important caveat out of the way, today makes 30 days since Settlement Perspectives went live. It’s hardly time for a memoir, but I have fielded more than a few questions from lawyers considering whether to launch a blog, and this is my way to encourage them — with a few pointers added in.
The First 30 Days
Settlement Perspectives has been a lot more fun than I had imagined. As some of you know, the site went live with its first post, “Why Are We Here?”, on August 29th, and hitting “publish” that afternoon was no small feat. I put my ideas out there and — legal paranoia notwithstanding — nothing bad has happened. I soon turned to a better question than “Why Are We Here?”: What’s next?
Diane Levin’s Post on the Mediation Channel. To help determine what should be next, I began to reread the posts of a few negotiation bloggers who know what they are doing. Diane Levin at MediationChannel.com wrote one that caught my eye: “Mediation bloggers: are you making the most of the social side of blogging?” Diane’s post reinforced the idea that the blogosphere wasn’t just waiting for me to mess up so “it” could pounce. She highlighted how collaborative the blogging world is, and underscored this point by linking to a piece from “lawyer and blog evangelist” Kevin O’Keefe, who urges legal bloggers to link to their “competitors”.
A Fantastic Group of People. Concerned about whether a tree falling in the woods makes any noise (and inspired by Diane’s post), I wrote to a few bloggers to let them know that Settlement Perspectives was up and running. The open welcome I received was incredible — not “incredible like I don’t know what word to put here,” but “incredible.” Nancy Hudgins’s response on Civil Negotiation and Mediation was quick and unambiguous, and Diane’s post on MediationChannel.com quickly followed suit. Christopher K. Annunziata on CKA Mediation & Arbitration, Stephanie West Allen on idealawg, and Richard J. Webb on his Healthcare Neutral ADR Blog said nice things about Settlement Perspectives soon thereafter, too. All this was followed by a long (and fantastic) cup of coffee and welcome post by Victoria Pynchon (on her Settle it Now Negotiation Blog – the first one I ever read in this space), who encouraged me to become a Featured Blog on Mediate.com. A welcome comment from Michael Maslanka, with his own new blog at Work Matters, was just one of many that I received on and off my new blog’s “comments” section as Settlement Perspectives got its start.
For a guy whose friends warned him that “the Internet is forever,” these folks made that prospect seem not so bad.
A New Blogger’s Advice to Lawyers Thinking About One
I list these great blogs and bloggers and highlight their open arms for two reasons: first, to say “thank you” to the fantastic people out there who have been so welcoming to a newcomer in their space; and, second, to pay it forward. Admittedly I’m just getting started and this post is already too long, but if you are a lawyer thinking about starting a blog, I say give it a try. I won’t recount all those wrong turns I made this summer on West Galveston Island as I tried to decide if a blog was a good idea and if I did one how should I do it, but I’ll give you a few of the steps I’d take if I knew then what I know now:
- I’d look at Michael S. Hyatt’s “From Where I Sit” blog, written by the CEO of a Christian book publisher — if he can do a blog, you can, too;
- I’d look at Michael Hyatt’s posts on blogging generally and the tools he uses, as they can get you started with minimal effort if you like;
- I’d poke around in Copyblogger a bit, perhaps starting here;
- I’d talk to people who do this sort of thing full time, like the fantastic team at Unit Interactive, who helped me and lived to blog about it, or Kevin O’Keefe with LexBlog, or the folks at TypePad (who can get you up and blogging in less than an hour if you like);
- I’d join the Legal Blogging group on LinkedIn.com;
- I’d form a plan; and
- I’d get started.
There’s no time like the present.