Five years ago, I launched MyShingle.com with this Welcome Message, proclaiming my vision. Here’s an excerpt:
What we’d like to convey here in this welcome message is our vision of MyShingle.com as a site which captures and reflects the innovative, pioneering and “can do” spirit of solo and small firm practice and gives voice, presence and respectability to solo and small firm lawyers who represent a majority of lawyers in the United States and around the world….MyShingle.com strives to carry out the trend-setting tradition of our solo and small firm colleagues. Our website is the first site devoted to non-tech legal issues built with open source slashcode, as well as the first to allow for interactive dialogue between our authors and our audience in contrast to the more traditional blogs. We seek to serve a broad audience — solos and small firm lawyers foremost of course, but also lawyers who dream of hanging out a shingle and law students for whom solo and small firm practice might some day offer a career option. Here’s the place to learn the basics about starting and running a law practice, read about solo and small law firm concerns, learn about solo and small firm accomplishments, discuss new models for collaboration between large and small firms and ponder the place that we solos and small firms occupy in the legal universe. So please join us for all this and more at MyShingle.com. Welcome.
I’d wanted to write something profound, offer some pithy insight that would convey all that I’ve learned during these past five years of blogging. Truth is, I can’t even begin to count how many opportunities this blog has brought me (including this one). But perhaps the most ironic is that by celebrating and embracing the benefits of solo and small firm practice, I’ve unlocked doors to fora like Legal Blogwatch, or the ABAthat have traditionally been the exclusive province of large established or well connected law firms. The obvious lesson here, for any blogger, is quite simply, be yourself; let your blog reflect your genuine voice and you will find success.
My second observation after five years of blogging is that there’s also a unique affinity between blogging and solos, which is why solo and small firm lawyers still dominate the blogosphere (even some bloggers who started out at large firms have since turned solos). Starting a law practice is a proactive step by which we lawyers take charge of our destiny and effect change in our own lives and within the legal profession. Rather than simply complain about the hierarcy of biglaw or the injustice in the legal system or the shoddy treatment that some clients receive from other lawyers, when we start a law practice, we take steps towards addressing these perceived deficiencies. And in starting a blog and staking a shingle on our own little corner in cyberspace, lawyer bloggers take proactive steps to make our voices heard, or as Kevin O’Keefe puts it, “join the conversation,” even if we’ve not been formally invited. Just as starting a law firm empowers lawyers, so too does blogging. Out here in the blogosphere, whether we’re solos, academics or biglaw attorneys, in many ways, we’re all shinglers as well, asserting our control over a little piece of the universe, creating something where nothing existed before. (perhaps I should say ich bin ein Shingler?!)
I’m grateful to all of the readers of this blog – here’s to many more years of blogging.