Sometime in early 2003 — when blogging and MyShingle were still in their infancy — I learned that Jerry Lawson, one of legal blogging’s pioneers, would be speaking about blogging at a local public library. I hustled down to the even, and before the talk began, I introduced myself to Jerry. Jerry had heard of MyShingle even though it was only a few months old at the time – and he invited me, on the spot, to join him in giving the presentation. You’re never going to believe what happened…. I burbled to my husband when I arrived home later that afternoon and shared news of my spontaneous promotion from participant to presenter by someone as prominent as Jerry Lawson!
In today’s world —- where blogging catapulted an anonymous law student to the feature story in the New York Times and a book deal, or gave an Ivy-educated lawyer with the holy trifecta of credentials (Law Review, federal circuit clerkship and big law background) a second – and far sexier act as creator and editor of the legal profession’s most popular and salacious publication — my excitement at an invitation from an Internet-famous legal tech expert to chat about blogging to a room of five people seems utterly ludicrous – in a get a life, girl kind of way. Yet I had no reference point. Back then, it was simply unimaginable in the mean and tight, zero-sum game that was the legal profession that someone of my relatively junior status would even be invited months in advance to speak at a CLE or credited by a law partner for a job well done, let alone be asked by a stranger to co-present. In this context, blogging was nothing short of magical.
Turns out, I wasn’t really crazy characterizing blogging as magic. In her recent book, Creative Living Beyond Fear , Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert describes “Big Magic” as the “surprising results” of our hunt to find and bring forth the creative treasures buried inside of each of us. But Gilbert continues that bringing forth those treasures takes courage and persistence — probably more so for lawyers since there’s nothing like law school and the practice of law to crush the creativity out of anyone. And in those early days, blogging made it easy. Blogging gave lawyers a direct, unfiltered medium to “say what [we] want to say, with all of our hearts, and “share what we were driven to share” – not to “help others” or because we expected rewards, but simply for our own pleasure. And because we put it out there, with no thought of what we’d get back, the Big Magic happened.
Indisputably, blogging is still around, but it’s changed; lost that magic of the early, heady days. For some lawyers, blogging has become a chore, for others a disappointment when it didn’t deliver the riches that were promised. But for me, as I celebrate MyShingle’s thirteenth birthday of December 9 2002, I will forever view those early days of blogging as a once in a lifetime Renaissance even if only for a brief window; a force that unleashed lawyers’ creativity and passion, opened doors to possibility, broke down some of the barriers between big law, solos and academia, kickstarted positive change in the legal profession and lead to lasting friendships. In short, Big Magic.