Curmudgeons Unite! Don’t Blog for Profit! (Update)

Memo to David Giacalone :  We have a potential new member of the Curmudgeons Club, though he has yet to pass the initiation.

Via Slater at the WSJ Law Blog


Mark Hermann — a Jones Day Partner, the author of “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” and the co-author of the Drug and Device Law blog — writes his version of “Why I Blog.” But rather than addressing the literary or journalistic merits of the form, Hermann homes in on a far more practical question (for lawyers at least): Can big-firm attorneys use blogs to bring in the bucks?

Referring to his blog, Hermann writes: “In our little niche, however, we’re pretty well known. To the extent that a blog of this type can generate business, we would have expected that to have happened during the two years we’ve been at this. . . It really has not.”

First, Hermann, I expect an explanation why you didn’t ask me to review your book.  Just what kind of a curmudgeon do you think you are when you try to pass off some book without peer review?  It’s not like you get to call yourself a curmudgeon for nothing.  I don’t expect to have this talk with you again. 

But Hermann is right, no matter what Kevin O’Keefe twits.  For every lawyer who claims that he started a blog two hours ago and already has 423 new clients, there’s a lawyer who is full of it.  No, seriously, for many, perhaps even most, purposes, do not expect to see any direct link between blawging and cash flow.  It’s a fool’s effort.


“What’s our advice?” he asks in conclusion. “Same as it’s always been: Blog for pleasure; blog to stay abreast of your field of law; blog to influence the public debate; blog to raise both your firm’s and your personal profile in a your legal niche. . . .But, if you’re a big-firm lawyer who typically handles large litigation or corporate matters, don’t blog for profit.

The same can be said for those criminal defense lawyers who do higher end work.  While it may prove helpful on some of the lower end work, such as DWI, so many of the newcomers to the blawgosphere truly believe that doing this is going to make you RICH, RICH, RICH!  You’re going to be very disappointed, and this is why so many new blogs fade into oblivion within the first year, as lawyers learn that the blawgosphere is not the promised land.

Have I gotten a ton of inquiries because of this blawg?  You betcha.  Have these inquiries turned into clients?  Nary a one.  I get disorderly conducts from Des Moines, whiners from Wisconsin and free-riders from Fredonia.  I can’t tell you how many people call to ask me to represent them for free because of this blawg.  Woo hoo!  You want a piece of that action?  Let me know and I’ll send them all over. 

And now back to our potential new club member, Mark Hermann.  If you think I’m going to buy your book to see whether you’ve earned the right to be a member of the Curmudgeons Club, forget it.  Curmudgeons don’t buy books.  We just complain about books that weren’t sent to us for free.  And your books sucks, even though I haven’t read it, because you didn’t send it to me.  Now that’s how you can tell that I’m a real curmudgeon.

Update:  Today, a copy of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Law mysteriously appeared in my office with a note by Mark Hermann requesting admission to the Curmudgeon’s Club.  Just as I was about to propose membership to Giacalone, a new post from Drug and Device Law appeared on my screen.  There was Hermann, sucking up to the marketing masses, admitting “intangible” benefits (though omitting how he’s become unbearably attractive to young blog groupie women) and inviting the silly comments by those who feed financially off the misbegotten blogger extolling the “hidden” virtues for profit. 

I immediatly stopped typing my missive to Giacalone and will now have to actually read the darn book before deciding on Hermann’s curmudgeonly worthiness.  My gut tells me he lacks the fortutide to be a true curmudgeon, but we shall see.

29 thoughts on “Curmudgeons Unite! Don’t Blog for Profit! (Update)

  1. SHG

    He sent you the book for free!  I thought you had to pay for it.  Oh man.  Now I’m really pissed.  Damn you, Hermann!

  2. CharonQC

    This is sterling work – standing up for principles beyond the call of duty.

    I plan to raise this with Her Majesty at the next available opportunity – quite possibly when I go horse racing. I am sure she will be interested to know that you are taking this stance.

    At this rate you will rack through most of the honours the British Honours system can offer and will look like an African Dictator on steroids with all the silverware and medals, sashes and ermine capes weighing you down.

    Bravo!

    Charon of Arabia

  3. SHG

    Holden, you would have a much easier time with Mistress Ruthie if you would just lose that Hull character.  She gave him a tumble and he came up, ahem, short, if you catch my drift.

  4. David Giacalone

    Besides, Turk, Mark also sent his Curmudgeon Lawyer book to Evan Schaeffer and Sue Liemer. AND, he also forgot to send me one, even though [until the publicity for his book] the first Google response to the search “curmudgeon lawyer” was an October 2003 post at f/k/a on “making the world safe for curmudgeons”.

    All is forgiven at my end, however, since Mark has taken up a cause that I started debating with Kevin O’K five years ago, but no longer have the energy to pursue.

  5. David Giacalone

    Naturally, I forgot what CRS meant and had to Google it before leaving my previous comment on forgetfulness.

    Why doesn’t Anne ever forget to be cute or entertaining to give the rest of us a break?

  6. Turk

    All this talk of crankiness reminds me that I haven’t written anything really cranky in awhile. I’m gonna have to get busy.

    Of course, I’ll never be in your leagues (Anne excluded, of course)

  7. Simple Justice

    Gaming the Name: What It Says About You

    Susan Cartier Leibel twitted a link to Grant Griffith’s Blog For Profit that disturbed me, both for the position taken and because it suggests a direction to be propounded to new blawgers that could lead them down

  8. Simple Justice

    Gaming the Name: What It Says About You

    Susan Cartier Leibel twitted a link to Grant Griffith’s Blog For Profit that disturbed me, both for the position taken and because it suggests a direction to be propounded to new blawgers that could lead them down

  9. Simple Justice

    Bodine to Twitter: You Ugly and You Dress Funny

    When it comes to marketing worthiness, I’m not exactly the first person people turn to for advice.

  10. Simple Justice

    Bodine to Twitter: You Ugly and You Dress Funny

    When it comes to marketing worthiness, I’m not exactly the first person people turn to for advice.

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