Settlement Perspectives

Thoughts on how to resolve disputes and get your deal done.


5 PerspectivesSeptember 28, 2008

Come on In, the Water’s Fine


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 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 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  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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. I’d poke around in Copyblogger a bit, perhaps starting here;
  4. 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);
  5. I’d join the Legal Blogging group on;
  6. I’d form a plan; and
  7. I’d get started. 

There’s no time like the present.

Categories: Blogging,Miscellaneous

5 Perspectives:

Nancy E. HudginsSunday, September 28, 2008 3:59 pm

Hi, John!
Thanks for the shout out.
Great to have your perspective in the blogosphere.

Stephanie West AllenSunday, September 28, 2008 5:48 pm

Hey, how nice of you. Thanks. And another welcome to the blogosphere. I know you will continue to like it here. We have a great gang and I’m glad you joined.

vickie pynchonSunday, September 28, 2008 10:45 pm

a pleasure john – whose advice helped me help a few stuck litigants move past impasse – I miss being in a law firm – the blogosphere is beginning to replace the best parts of working as a team and john is a great new colleague

Diane LevinMonday, September 29, 2008 7:08 am

John, your gracious post highlights what is one of the greatest pleasures for me of blogging — the community and collegiality of kindred spirits. Thank you for the kind mention of my own blog here, and congratulations on the successful launch of a bright and promising blog. I’m glad to know that I was able in some small way to make you feel more at home in the blogosphere. Best wishes to you, John!

Nathan FordTuesday, September 30, 2008 9:56 pm

Thanks for the bump, John! We [the Unit team] have really enjoyed working with you on this project. I am continually impressed with your promotional efforts, but, of course, when the content is quality, success shouldn’t be a surprise. Congrats! I wish you the best as you continue to grow.

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Settlement Perspectives
is the professional weblog
of John DeGroote.

I created this site to help clients and their counsel navigate the challenges that inevitably result from disputes, settlement efforts, impasse, and negotiation in general. The perspectives I bring are based on my experience, summarized in this abbreviated bio. If you have any questions or thoughts about this site, or an issue you’d like to see addressed, please email me at:


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