I’m back! What does that mean? I blogged about legal issues, particularly legal writing and research, about ten years ago. Most of you likely don’t remember, but that’s OK because I’m back!
I can’t remember why I quit blogging. It was probably a combination of personal and professional commitments. When I started that old blog, I thought it would generate legal business for me. For almost twenty years, I have had a solo law practice that is limited to legal research and writing for other lawyers. I had a small following for my blog, but it did not generate the kind of work that I do and like.
This time around, I don’t expect my blog to generate work. So why am I doing this? Writing a blog combines two passions – legal research and writing. I enjoy following news about litigation and other matters, and I enjoy writing. Writing a blog gives me a “reason” to spend time following the news as well as needed practice in writing and thinking.
This blog will also include my added perspective as a former Language Arts teacher. Yes, I went back to school to get a teaching certificate and taught eighth grade Language Arts. The teacher at a nearby school retired six weeks into the school year, and I was hired to take her place. No doubt, the hardest job I have ever had. It was like being lead counsel in a trial for eight months. I prepared every morning and evening, and presented to the jury (the eighth graders) for eight hours every day. And I didn’t have co-counsel. And I only had twenty-five minutes to get my students to and from the cafeteria, go to the bathroom, and eat my peanut butter sandwich at lunch. Through it all, however, I never thought about quitting, and I started every day with joy and anticipation.
As a lawyer, I thought about teaching government or social studies, a class that would draw on my work experience, all those facts I know about how government and courts work. I learned, however, that Language Arts draws on my work experience even more – the experience in reading and thinking and understanding. For example, I had to teach active and passive voice. Questions about voice may be on some standardized test. But the more important part was teaching or helping students understand how they can use their knowledge of active and passive voice. Think about these two sentences: “The defendant stole the car” and “The car was stolen.” In writing or speaking, how would you choose which form to use? If you read the second sentence, what alarm should go off in your head?
See the difference in teaching facts (the rules about active and passive voice) and teaching thinking (what messages that active and passive voice send)? I doubt I got the thinking points across very well or very often in my class. I hope, however, that I planted some little seeds that will grow. (In case you have forgotten the details of active and passive voice, check out this video that we used in class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARaEpSAD-ng)
So what to look for in this blog? More legal research and writing, especially in the context of legal news. But also some focus on thinking about how we can use those issues to be better lawyers, better citizens, better people. Enjoy!