5 Years

The first post at SJ was published on February 13, 2007.  It was a day without a great deal to do, and Dr. SJ was a bit annoyed at my bothering her, and suggested (in a way that hardly seemed like a suggestion) that I start a blog as a way to keep me busy.  Idle hands concerned her.

So I did.

Since then, I’ve posted 4,744 posts. I’ve written more, but some never saw the light of day because they were either awful, inappropriate for one reason or another or failed to reflect something I believed to be worth your time to read.  I subscribe to the idea that I don’t know what I think until I see what I write.  On occasion, I will write something and realize my thinking was wrong. Sometimes terribly wrong. Other times just a little wrong, but wrong enough to dump it.

Much has changed in five years.  Many people have come and gone in the blawgosphere.  Some still post, but they changed from regular posters to occasional posters. Others have disappeared into the ether.  For the silly people who insist this is the path to wealth and prestige, the hard reality is otherwise. If having a blawg was the secret to success, the vast majority of blawgers wouldn’t quietly disappear, but they do.

There are some who have been at this longer than me, some first-wavers who have remained the pillars of the blawgosphere, and second-wavers (like me) on whose heels I followed.  Some have turned it into their business, though few have been able to successfully monetize blawging.  I certainly haven’t.

I’ve made many friends over these years, and many enemies as well. My posts reflect a number of diverse themes, and I have tried to remain true to them.  It wasn’t always easy, as I subscribe to no particular ideology and try to see each day with a fresh view.  Some themes, that clients always come first, that integrity is the one attribute we cannot forsake if we are to both survive as a profession and deserve the trust placed in us, have been immutable. 

The people I’ve come to admire most in the blawgosphere are the ones who demonstrated two characteristics.  The desire to think, and the ability to be challenged without whining.  To all of our benefit, there are people like this in the blawgosphere, though not nearly enough. They weren’t of any particular political or ideological stripe, or one side of the courtroom, or one job.

Over the past five years, I’ve enjoyed writing whenever the mood struck.  The mood struck often. Managing a blawg wasn’t nearly as much fun, with burdens that readers never see.  Deleting thousands of spam comments every morning was not nearly as glamorous as some think.  Deciding whether to publish or toss comments was always a problem, reflecting my desire to let people speak their minds, but being disturbed by the prospect of people being confused, mislead, or made stupider for having read them.  On rare occasion, I’ve stuck my nose into other people’s blawgs for this purpose. Most of the time, it wasn’t appreciated.

I’ve tried to encourage and support new blawgers whose work contributed to the blawgosphere. This is not a test to see who captures the most eyeballs.  No one makes people read.  The blawgosphere is stronger and more influential as a whole than individually.  I have not been kind to the opportunists who try to use it for their personal advantage, or convince others to do so for either their finaicial gain or self-aggrandizement.  These things are destructive, both to blawgosphere in general, and thought and integrity in particular.

Recently, it’s struck me that some of the new blawgers have written posts that mirrored things I had written years earlier.  They wrote good posts, and they did so without any clue that anyone had discussed the same issues before them. It dawned on me that I’ve gone through another circle, as happens when we get older. Every year, maybe day, new people come into the blawgosphere and it’s a rebirth, where everything old is new again.  As this thought occurred to me, I realized that my work is now part of the old, forgotten blawgosphere.  This is probably how it should be.

Five years in real time is a blink of the eye.  In internet time, it’s an eternity.  Thanks for reading, and keeping me honest.  With that, I offer this concluding video.

74 comments on “5 Years

  1. Felix Labinjo

    Thank you Mr Greenfield and Happy Anniversary of blogging

    Lang may yer lum reek!

    May the best ye hae ivver seen be the warst ye’ll ivver see
    May the moose ne’er lea’ yer girnal wi a tear-drap in its ee
    May ye aye keep hail an hertie till ye’r auld eneuch tae dee
    May ye aye juist be sae happie as A wuss ye aye tae be.

    Long may your chimney smoke!

    May the best you have ever seen be the worst you will ever see
    May the mouse never leave your grain store with a tear drop in its eye
    May you always stay hale and hearty until you are old enough to die
    May you still be as happy as I always wish you to be.

    Keep on trucking!

  2. Eddie

    Am I missing something or are you saying Simple Justice is finished? Please say it ain’t so! This blog, along with Radley Balko’s, are tops on my list of daily reads. First the greatest ND football blog, The Blue Grey Sky, shuts down operations (admittedly a while back but painful nonetheless) and now this. A sad day indeed if this is the end of Simple Justice.

  3. John Burgess

    Scott, I can only thank you. Your posts have always been informative and often challenging. That’s what a good blog, on law or any other matter, should be.

    I’ll certainly miss Simply Justice. It has become a daily read, one that I looked forward to as it was sure to make me smarter.

  4. Ed

    Blawgs come and go. Not so Simple Justice; thanks to the Library of Congress. ;-)

    The friendships made through this blawg will endure. So glad you took the time to bring us together every morning. It’s been real.

  5. DHMCarver

    I only recently started following legal blogs — yours is one of the only ones that I make sure I read each day — and this morning’s Douglas Adams reference was an unexpected surprise — but unwelcome if this is the end.

    If you are going, do remember to bring your towel.

  6. Antonin I Pribetic

    Scott,

    I am speechless and saddened to hear you are shuttering SJ. Your blawg inspired me to keep on writing about our noble profession, even when the Slackoisie, Starbucks lawyers, Flawgers and keyboard warriors were busy pissing all over the corpse of the Blawgosphere.

    Lately, I have found it difficult to write about anything of import, north or south of the border. The so-called Canadian Blawgosphere died an ignominious death after slaw.ca shamelessly laid down in bed with Mark C. Robins and hoisted the lawyerlocate.ca banner on its site.

    I don’t see the point in blawging anymore. The strident voices of a few are drowned out by the sycophancy of the many; each desperately scrambling to tout the latest shiny toy or mewling about the Cloud as another marketing ploy, all to garner website traffic and followers.

    SJ will always be the platinum standard in blawging. Most of the blawgs today will degenerate and splinter into what the Four Horsemen of the Blawgocalypse warned against: A barren, dessicated wasteland, bereft of any critical and independent thinking.

    Fare Thee Well,

    Your friend and colleague,

    Nino

  7. Chuck Weisselberg

    I hope this doesn’t mean what it seems to mean–I really do hope that you continue to blog. Last year, a word slipped to the parole authorities kept you on for another year. Can we do the same again today?

    Whether you continue or not, I would like to say thanks. You have an uncanny ability to let us know what is happening on the ground, and you call it the way you see it, without fear or favor. That is, unfortunately, rare.

  8. Bob Ambrogi

    I hope you’re not saying this is the end. Every day, you challenge us to think about ourselves and our profession as few other bloggers do. You ask the questions and challenge the assumptions that no one else does. I don’t always agree with you, but I always value your perspective.

  9. AlliG

    Fake your own blog’s death? Best. Marketing Tactic. Ever.

    But seriously, my morning reads will suffer in your absence. And that’s a good reminder not to squander my own voice with caution, fear, or platitudes.

  10. Andrew

    Wherever your path takes you, thank you for writing. I’ve looked forward to reading your posts each day for some time now.

    As a non-lawyer, I know I was never your target audience, but I cannot overstate how much I have learned from you. It was your blog that led me to learn about the injustices against Joel happening in my own backyard. Then, you kept showing me more about what is right and wrong with law in general and the criminal justice arena in particular. It turns out that I have trouble conveying what I have learned to anyone else, but I am better for your work in teaching me, whether or not you meant to. Further, I have been impressed not only with how much you have written but with the quality of every post.

    If you suddenly decide to write more posts for the next five years, I’ll be reading. If I ever need a criminal defense lawyer in New York, I’ll certainly give you a call, but don’t hold your breath since I’ve never even been to New York. (See? Your blog *does* generate prospective new clients, just not so many real ones.)

    Anyway, thanks again. Thanks for indulging my occasional bull-in-the-china-shop non-lawyer comments, and thanks for giving all of us something that has made us smarter for having read it.

  11. Turk

    Scott enjoys writing too much. I’m guessing about 14 days until he can’t resist the urge to bang on the keyboard.

  12. Thomas R.Griffith

    Sir, in addition to the kind words (above & below) please allow me to include the following. You made it very clear that you intended for S.J. to be for Attorneys/Lawyers and hoped for no questions. Then, folks like myself came along with ‘other’ non-lawyers and you know the rest. Beleive it or not, some of us are better for it. I personally owe you for taking time to answer questions, for sharing valuable legal knowledge and allowing me the opportunity to confront the ‘worst’ HPD Detective turned Judge & ADA in Harris County, Texas’ history.

    We at PNG hope you are simply going to enjoy a mini vacation and at least return on a weekly basis. We still have work to do regarding the creation & inception of “Legal Practioners”, for which you laid the ground work right here at S.J.

    It’s been posed to numerous legal schools and ‘all’ of the presidential candidates Ds, Rs & Is alike, since they keep saying “jobs, jobs, jobs” with your name and email address as the contact. Please consider keeping the site paid up so people can still visit (no additional comments) and continue to invest in an education one would have to have paid for anywhere else. Who knows, President Obama could be reading right now & planning to discuss it (the Greenfield Project)over a beer or two? Thanks.

  13. Kathleen Casey

    That’s what I was thinking. Who are will you write to Scott? Clients? Judges? You’re doing that now. Maybe this is a feint. Is it? Maybe the Great Book in your head has percolated to fruition and that is next. Whatever is next the nature of life, and our hope, is phases. And it is our nature to get done with the old and push on to the new. God bless you Scott. I hope I helped. Never as much as you helped me.

  14. Jamison

    SHG is quiet so I’ll jump into the void with my take on this. You guys are all wrong. This was nothing more than an ANNIVERSARY entry. That’s why it was so reflective. But nothing I read it in suggests that SHG is ending the blog. The “concluding video” concludes the entry, not the blog. Do you really think he would end the blog after 5 years with a video of a dolphin?

  15. DHMCarver

    Given that SHG is not normally quiet — he responds to posts on his blog with alacrity — and given that the video was about dolphins leaving this terrestrial sphere, I think SHG has left the blawgosphere. (I hope to be proven mistaken by tomorrow morn.)

  16. Barbara Burke

    Now where will I go to read the truth? Tell me it isn’t so. But if it is, thank you, SHG (whomever you are)because you taught me more about legal ethics and professional responsibility then I ever learned in three years of law school.

  17. Rick Horowitz

    An excellent example of why, if the interpretation that he may no longer be planning to write, he should reconsider that decision.

    I think it’s unclear whether he intended “So long and thanks for all the fish” to be taken as just goodbye for today, for this one post, or generally. That’s why, above, I said, “If” and “I hope that’s not what it means.”

    I guess we’ll find out “soon.”

    At the very least, Scott, I hope you recognize how much you’re appreciated — and, based on what Barbara said, how much good you are doing by writing.

  18. Mike

    Five years…Wow. Where does the time go?

    Glad I got a chance to spent a few virtual years with you, even if those years are gone.

    Best wishes.

  19. Felicia Herman

    Scott,

    I cannot begin to thank you for all the posts here. Simple Justice has remained a must-read for me – you’ve shown me how a lawyer should think and behave.

    Congratulations on five years and make sure to let us know about projects that you take on in the future.

  20. Carolyn Elefant

    I know that you’re not done. Maybe you are moving on to a paying gig which would be deserved, or taking a break but I am sure that this is not your last post. So congrats on five years, and best wishes for many more!

  21. Anne Reed

    A kind word from you in 2007 was the only reason my blog ever had any readers at all. I’m very glad to be one of the friends you made. Thanks for everything.

  22. Charon QC

    Scott – a truly first class blog and an example to all bloggers.

    I agree with Dan… ‘writers have got to write’. Hopefully, you will return to the blog at some time …. or write in some other way?

    Whatever you decide – a pleasure to have met you through blogging – albeit over the telephone.

  23. Alex Russell

    I read it the same way. If he were hanging it up, he’d say so, clearly. He didn’t, so he ain’t. This was musing over the milestone, which is what he did actually type in.

  24. John Neff

    Scott is very perceptive and I think he will continue to make his views known but he will use some other venue.

    I have been reading law blogs for some time and many of them have withered or died. SJ will not wither and it has the well earned reputation of being a high quality blog that I will not forget.

  25. Jeff Gamso

    Say it ain’t so, Joe.

    I waited a day, hoping. But it’s almost 10 and zilch. You’ve been an inspiration and a model. And when you take up where you left off – or somewhere else – know that we’ll still be here.

    I do hope we can still hoist a glass now and again.

    Thanks.

  26. Barbara Burke

    This is as bad as when we lost Jimmy Breslin from Newsday. We could always depend on Jimmy to chase the story and tell us on page two what was really going on. Then one day – that’s it – he is gone . . . only to surface again years later with his stories now buried between ads of the Sunday rag that no one reads. Bet Jimmy regrets his decision.

  27. Jill McMahon

    Your blog is useful and interesting, Scott. I hope you’ll pop back in occasionally. I know that I’ll keep checking back.

  28. Steve Matthews

    I hope you’ll reconsider, Scott. There’s a reason so many of us have been reading SJ for the past five years. Even when the message wasn’t flattering, your posts always offered a healthy dose of reasoned critique. Whether I personally agreed or disagreed, it never mattered… your honest take on things was (mostly) valued & respected.

    You need to keep writing in some capacity.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  29. Mike Foley

    Scott, all I can do is echo many of the thoughts from all of the comments above. Losing your blog is like losing a very important part of myself. While I didn’t comment often, your insightful analysis often made me think harder, and many times differently, about the subjects you broached. I was often amazed in the quantity and the QUALITY of the pieces you wrote, wondering where did you find the time, not just to type the entries, but to research and analyze them before ever putting them out.

    You will be missed and the world is a poorer place for your decision. However, I look forward to your comments on the other blogs, and maybe a guest appearance on some of the other thoughtful minders of the blawgosphere.

    Good luck and the best to you and yours.

  30. Orin Kerr

    Scott,

    You’re a great blogger, and I hope you reconsider or come back. We need you out there. But if not, good luck with everything.

  31. Jackie Carpenter

    Scott,

    Your insights will be missed. Whether you knew it or not, you gave your time to educate less seasoned attorneys on how to have integrity while fighting zealously for the accused. You never minced words and reached out and challenged us in our thinking. I know it took a lot of time. Thank you. You will be missed.

  32. Alex Bunin

    At least guest-post on your friends’ blawgs. Newman needs 500 words about why he chooses not to support our elected district attorney. Bennett is looking for a critique of TSA. Burney wants someone to color in his graphic art. Appellate Squawk requests more Disney allusions. Spread the wealth.

  33. Nathans

    I was holding out to see if it was for real. My gut said it would be too hard for you to *not* write. I’ll be sad to see you go — SJ has been part of my morning routine for a few years now. But I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

  34. Mark

    Say it aint so!! C’mon Scott . . . fill us in. Are you shutting things down? I’ve never seen you so quiet in your comments, so you are either on a beach, crying in your beer or basking in the outpouring of love. Maybe all of the above. Scott – give it to us straight as you have always done!

    Mark
    CEO, Avvo
    http://www.avvo.com

    p.s. You must keep blogging. The Blawgosphere would never be the same without you.

  35. Kathleen Casey

    It didn’t hit me until this morning when I looked for SJ and then I remembered. And I grieved. But I am thankful for what was.

  36. Brian Inkster

    When I read this post I was doing so on a train via my Windows phone. The phone did not display the video so I was at a loss to see why the comments (at that time the first few) were saying Scott had called it a day blogging at Simple Justice.

    When I next saw the post via a PC I saw the video and realised this could indeed perhaps be a goodbye message.

    If it is a goodbye then Scott’s reason seems to be that some of the new blawgers have written posts that mirrored things Scott had written years earlier: “They wrote good posts, and they did so without any clue that anyone had discussed the same issues before them”. It dawned on Scott that he had gone through another circle, as happens when we get older. “Every year, maybe day, new people come into the blawgosphere and it’s a rebirth, where everything old is new again”. As this thought occurred to Scott, he realised that his work is now part of the old, forgotten blawgosphere. “This is probably how it should be”, blogged Scott.

    However, surely everyone’s old posts become part of that “old forgotten blawgosphere” but not, I would suggest, always forgotten. The posts remain there as a reference point for us new blawgers. Something for us to find when researching a topic and to point to. I recently did this very thing when writing a blog post on the Geeklawyer matter. I came across a post by Scott on Simple Justice from 18th March 2009, referenced and linked to it in my post. Thus old can still be relevant and brought to a new audience and thus not forgotten. That full circle needs bloggers like Scott to be part of it for it to work. But do we ever really complete the circle? There are always new ways to look at a topic and new developments in the law that keep it fresh. Scott, more so than any other blawger I can think of, kept it fresh with his countless posts (well not really countless as he counted them up for us at 4,744 in 5 years – thus an average of about 2.6 posts per day!).

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series does not end with “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”. Next comes “Mostly Harmless” and then “And Another Thing…” I am sure Scott will have another thing or two to tell us of the mostly harmless variety. I look forward to reading the next instalment of the Simple Justice’s Guide to the Blawgosphere.

    In any event, those dolphins created a new version of earth and transported everything to it as a way of saving humans. Perhaps Scott is creating a new version of his Blawg which we will be taken to shortly as a way of saving blawgers. I do hope so.

  37. Anna Durbin

    Just want to add my name to the list of addicts to your blawg clamoring for your return. May Mark Bennett be right again.

  38. Phill Gibson

    Scott, about once a week I would check into SJ and would always find something (if not everything) to inspire,re-energize, re-focus my sometimes flagging cdl spirit. SJ had a reach far beyond NY and the USA.
    Thank you. (notguilty1 from down under)

  39. Luke Gardner

    Scott:

    This is seriously depressing news for me (yes, sometimes I’m a selfish jerk) and obviously for all those who’ve commented above but who can fault you for wanting a life?

    It really has been a great pleasure for me to read your posts over the last couple of years since I found Simple Justice so I’ll miss ‘em, ALOT!

    Carpe Diem!

  40. Turk

    Oh great Greenfield, now look what you’ve done…unexplained, my ass….

    Unexplained dolphin strandings continue in Mass.

    WELLFLEET, Mass (AP) — There’s no good spot on Cape Cod for dolphins to continue this winter’s massive and unexplained beachings, but a group of 11 has chosen one of the worst.
    The remote inlet down Wellfleet’s Herring River is a place where the tides recede fast and far, and that’s left the animals mired in a grayish-brown mud one local calls “Wellfleet mayonnaise.”
    Walking is the only way to reach the animals, but it’s not easy. Rescuers crunch through cord grass and seashells before hitting a grabby muck that releases a footstep only after a sucking pop. One volunteer hits a thigh-deep “hole” and tumbles forward. The mud covers his face like messy war paint the rest of the morning.
    Rescuers make a quick assessment once they reach the animals.
    One dolphin is dead, but the other 10 appear healthy, and some bang their tails in the shallows, struggling to move. Rescuers decide the best course is to wait for the incoming tide to free the dolphins, then boats can try to herd them out of trouble. The only other alternative is hauling them to a waiting trailer, and open water. But the trailer is nearly a mile away.
    Waiting has risks. Dolphins can’t survive long on land and there’s no guarantee the boats can push the dolphins on to safety.
    “Now’s where we start crossing our fingers,” said Brian Sharpe of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, as he heads for a boat.
    A year ago, Tuesday’s 11 stranded dolphins would have seemed remarkable. Now, they just add to a growing tally.

  41. John Regan

    I got a lot out of this blog over the last couple of years, and I’m going to miss getting emails every day with interesting and topical commentary of a kind that has come in handy for me more than once.

    In fact I miss it already.

    Not to mention this is going to require a complete re-orientation of my comprehension of the blawgosphere. I had reserved the right to be mentally lazy in some aspect of my life – like a judge – but now Scott will not be doing any of my work for me at all.

    Parting is such sweet sorrow. Hail and farewell, Mr. Greenfield.

  42. Sgt. Schultz

    I don’t think it really hit me until today, when I turn on my RSS reader, that there is nothing there. I got used to opening it up and finding SJ everyday, and now there’s just a big hole and I don’t know what to do with myself. One day there was something, and now there’s nothing.

    This sucks.

  43. Thomas R. Griffith

    Sarge, yes sadly today you/we see ‘nuutheng’. But, as we all wait in the halls & stalls for the return of the master blogger from hell, may I suggest that you consider widening your field to include folks he considered worthy of entry into what we know as the ‘Blawgroll’ & ‘Criminal Defense Blawgs’ listings.

    Mr. B. of Bennett & Bennett aka: ‘Defending People’ was put in the #1 position for a darn good reason. The rest are excellent choices but you’ve got to start somewhere in order to heal. Hint, while awaiting his Postings, consider the Archives. Thanks.

  44. Luke Gardner

    Thomas: You’re comment suggests that we are mourning prematurely. Careful not to give false hope, blow-back can be a b*tch. ;-> I’m hoping he comes back, but thanks for the tip on Scott’s blawgroll.

  45. Don Thompson

    As Brian correctly noted, 4,744 blogs over 5 years is 2 1/2 blogs per day, 7 days a week (not counting the ones you didn’t publish). Face it man, you’re an addict. I know alcoholics that don’t drink that often. “No, really, just one more blog and I’ll stop – I can quit whenever I want to.” At least I hope that’s the case. We need more voices publicly calling bullshit, not fewer. I hope you at least consider the occasional guest blog. Really, it’s OK – just one hit, you won’t get hooked. In the meantime, I’ll miss your insightful commentary on this life we’ve chosen.

  46. Alex Russell

    I’ll be darned, I was wrong.

    I can say that I’ve recommended twenty or thirty posts to family and friends in the time that I’ve been reading. Good blog. I’ll check back periodically for a while.

  47. AH

    Scott is alive!
    He commented on the Brown and Little blog yesterday. And his comment was right on the money.

  48. dave hoffman

    Scott-
    Come back! You can get your moxie back by the simple expedient of ignoring most of what these new-fangled-kids have to say and just intervening when they talk about you!
    D.

  49. Shawn McManus

    Sorry for being late to the party here…

    Just wanted to say thanks for your writing. It was at times educational and often entertaining.

    The Best to You and Yours,
    Shawn

  50. Marty D.

    Way to go, Scotty G. Rush Limbag implode sand you hung up your keyboard.How about an encore. Best wishes in all you do.

  51. Martha Sperry

    Scott -

    While we certainly haven’t always agreed, I have always enjoyed reading your point of view, even when it may have conflicted with mine. You are a first class writer – hope you continue to make your voice heard. Best wishes on your next move.

  52. Moe

    It is too bad that all of these different lawyers that have blogs are taking your posts. I would be upset if they were doing that to me. I am not really big into blogging, but I actually have seen a few of your posts on other websites and blogs. I have no idea about what you could do about it except to ask them to take it down or prepared to me taken to court about it.

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