The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
The ABA Journal is currently seeking reader recommendations for its annual list of the 100 best legal blogs, and I’ve seen a few paralegal bloggers asking their readers to write in on their behalf.
But the only legal blogs eligible for consideration are those written by lawyers and law students – for lawyers and law students. So no legal support staffers or other kinds of legal professionals need apply.
I’m going to be honest about how I felt when I first read that: being excluded even from reader recommendations for terrific legal blogs felt a little like being slapped in the face. Maybe some people think “blawgs” in its most literal context means blogs written only by lawyers, but I believe this slang term in its broadest context means blogs that provide legal-oriented content. One definition says a blawg is “a blog written by a legal professional (hopefully) that focuses primarily on areas of the legal system.”
You might be thinking, “Why should you care, Ms. Senior Paralegal? The ABA Journal is only for lawyers.” I thought it was for all legal professionals. It’s an important national legal publication, I read it, and I work for lawyers. I consider myself to be a legal professional, and I think it’s important to keep up with legal news and technology. I am the one in the office that often orders ABA-published books and reads them. I also frequently refer to resources at the ABA’s website.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a legal blog. The ABA Journal includes Practical Paralegalism in its Blawg Directory, which also includes subcategories of blawgs written by a variety of legal consultants and law librarians.
The reality is that there are thousands of legal blogs written by lawyers, some of whom don’t even practice law anymore, and only tens of legal blogs written by working legal staffers. Maybe not being taken seriously by some lawyers and legal publications is one of the reasons there aren’t more blogs written by the other half of the legal team.
That’s a shame, because there is a huge body of knowledge out there, contained in the experiences and skills of those people that work directly with lawyers every day, but aren’t lawyers themselves. They are so key to the practice of law and the availability of affordable legal services that lawyers ought to be reading their blogs and encouraging their employees, from associate to receptionist, to read and write for them as well, not only for the invaluable insight and information shared – but to build on the idea that we are all part of the legal team and everyone brings special and essential skills to the table.
After reading the request for submissions again, I’m not even sure the ABA Journal wants legal professionals that read legal blogs but aren’t lawyers to fan up for their fave blawggers, so I won’t write in for my favorite blogs written by lawyers. But if paralegal blogs were eligible, here’s who I’d nominate this year:
A Paralegal’s Journey to Lawyerhood: This anonymous former paralegal may be eligible for consideration next year, because she’s now a first year law student, but her blog should be required reading for anyone thinking about law school. Her posts about why she wants to become a lawyer, her experiences working for lawyers, and her successful journey to law school on full scholarship make her blog a favorite in my RSS feed reader.
A Paralegal’s Life: Grumpy Humbug has to blog anonymously to share a paralegal’s no holds barred perspective on working in BigLaw, but hey, Above the Law gave him a shout-out this year, and the boy is funny, albeit cranky sometimes.Talented anonymous legal bloggers help all of us not take ourselves too seriously, and sometimes highlight personal and professional issues that any of us might admit leave room for improvement.
Mom-Alegal’s Blog: Another anonymous paralegal blogger, Momalegal doesn’t post every week, but when she does post, she shares the day-to-day experiences of a working mom and legal support staffer with honesty and humor. I think of her as someone I’d definitely want to go out to lunch with if I ever went out to lunch.
In its criteria for consideration in the Blawg 100 Amici, the ABA Journal writes:
… A blawg’s whole can be greater than the sum of its parts, and a blawg that never fails to post that daily update, has a beautiful design and an unwavering topical focus can very often have less of an impact than another blawg that is less consistent on all fronts.
Legal professionals that aren’t lawyers can and do write blawgs with frequent updates, excellent designs, and important topical focuses, as well as blawgs with wholes that are greater than the sum of their parts, and blawgs that do have impacts, from positive to thought-provoking.
And there is no doubt that they are legal blogs and blawgs for all-inclusive audiences ranging from legal staffers to lawyers, regardless of whether the ABA Journal considers them worthy for inclusion with the best of the best.
Readers, what say you? Good, bad – or indifferent? If you could recommend a blawg not written by a lawyer or a law student, which one(s) would you want to see up for consideration in the Blawg 100 Amici?