We Want Real Lawyers – NOT Ridiculous Rules

Meet Kevin O’Keefe, he’s a veteran trial lawyer and the founder of LexBlog. I actually found out about Kevin a few months ago when the idea first crossed my mind to begin publishing Real Lawyer News. While running a Google search for ‘Real Lawyers’ I was welcomed by an army of posts plastering Kevin’s name all over my screen.

If there is anyone that deserves the title ‘Real Lawyer’, Kevin is by far a nominee. He and LexBlog are an essential catalyst responsible for driving the American legal arena into the blawgosphere. LexBlog has developed a ton of weblogs for attorneys all over the country and every one of the LexBlog sites that I looked at are slick, clutter free and well executed.

The reason I decided to write about Kevin today (I’ve been meaning to write about him for a while) was due to an alarming bit of news that I found via his blog regarding the on going controversy of what constitutes ethical advertising for lawyers as defined by the New York’s Administrative Board of Courts

Kevin writes:

“Lawyers’ foolishness in clamping down on lawyer blogs has made its way to the tech community. Slashdot, a highly popular technology-related news website, shared the absurdity this evening.

An anonymous reader writes:

‘While you might not guess it from watching late night TV, advertisements by lawyers are regulated by a web of regulations intended to protect potential clients from deceptive claims in such ads. Generally, these rules require lawyers to submit their ads to a review board, often with a filing fee paid with each new advertisement. The New York bar has proposed new rules which woulddefine blogging as advertising. Should these rules be enacted, any New York lawyer who blogs on any legal topic in New York would be required to submit any new blog post to the New York Bar for review. For New York lawyers who write frequently updated blogs, this could force them to make multiple (and potentially expensive) reports to the New York Bar every single day.’

We’ve got to get with it guys. It’s okay to run garbage ads on late night TV, on the side of busses, and on the walls behind urinals (yes, ads for dui lawyers), while we’ll clamp down on lawyers providing helpful info via blogs. Defies common sense. But suppose that’s how we got the reputation we have.”

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My response is simple: I believe that there’s an abundance of real lawyers in New York that can prevent this rule from being passed into effect if they care enough to fight it. Secondly, how can this trash be legal? Lastly, a post found on The Greatest American Lawyer pretty much sums the future of lawyering up, here’s a quote:

“If you fall into this group of people who have a great excuse not to blog, you will soon be in the minority. It’s just a question of time. Look at the number of people using MySpace or Youtube Look at how many people are blogging, sharing their lives online. Remember that a blog started in many ways as an online journal. It was far more personal in nature. The concept of debating “blogging for business” has only come later in the game. There is a giant wave coming and building. The early adopters will be in a much better position to ride that wave.”

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Rich in content, rich in results, rich in rewards for everyone. This is web2.0 – Law2.0 – Life2.0. Thanks to leaders like Kevin O’Keefe and countless others who are blogging (or ‘blawging’ however you want to describe it) the web is becoming a much more reliable and useful place. I propose that having a ‘user certified’digital identity will soon be seen as a prerequisite for any lawyer truly seeking to maintain or establish credibility among their peers and countrymen and women.

Until next post may all your days be REAL and Meaningful!

Further Research:

  • To learn more about LexBlog and Kevin O’Keefe visit http://www.lexblog.com
  • New York lawyer Ray Beckerman’s blog about the proposed new rules
  • The Greatest American Lawyer Blog
  • The Proposed New York Rules encase you missed it above

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Oct 27, 2006 at 04:16 PM 

This Wave Is Yours

…but you gotta be willing to jump in and swim if you want to catch IT.

A few weeks ago I was linked in to an attorney blawger that I believe all solo practitioners and big firm lawyers should closely be paying attention to. His name is Charles “Chuck” Newton, he is a Texas lawyer, a father of four and husband to Jane who is also a lawyer.

Chuck does not maintain a traditional office that most consumers typically associate with law firms. He has no waiting rooms for clients to cool their heals, no reception area in which to be ignored, no meeting rooms for client visits, no file room in which to lose files, no law library, no messy private office for the firm’s attorneys to hide. There are no walls with licenses and diplomas hanging on them, no rec room to chat with staff over coffee and donuts, and his firm’s shingle hangs from no building. Go look in any phone book and you will not see acheesy ad for Chuck’s law firm. He answers his own phones, reads and responds to his own email, faxes and snail mail.

How does Chuck’s law firm accomplish such a thing? Well IMHO, it looks like hegets things done because he doesn’t need to rely heavily on anyone to do stuff for him, but instead utilizes the miracles of information technology:

  • email
  • Internet telephony
  • Internet faxing
  • electronic case filing
  • Internet research
  • blogging or blawging

There is virtually no person that cannot be reached, and no document that cannot be received or delivered, by phone, fax, email or snail mail. Chuck believes that staying connected allows him to tear down the barriers that keep him from his clients and their objectives.

Chuck is so on to IT that IT truly does radiate from his smile, just look at the picture of him below. This guy sees IT clear as day… He see’s the future – NOW. He knows that we are all in the middle of a paradigm shift and he sees the beautiful future that is presenting itself for those willing to see IT.

“Think about what technology is all about.  It is about effortless collaboration and effective communication with those around you without the need for filters.  The whole purpose of technology in aThird Wave society is to knock down thestructures that bind us, and to cut the levels of management and support help that hold us back.  In short, these technologies substantially improve what?  The productivity of all of those lawyers that become attuned to and use the new, cheap technologies.” -Chuck Newton

We are indeed heading toward David Brin’s transparent society of collaborative technologies. I’d like to believe that we are a culture of team work and a nation of unity, but lately there has been so much division. Who knows if it was policy or religion or just pure fear that caused us as a people to be broken asunder and segregated, but is it not apparent that we are all slowly but surely coming back together again? In a third wave world there are no walls and we are all the connector and the connection – Linking IN, teaching IT, and spreading IT all around the globe.

-Posted by Jamie Parks on Oct 25, 2006 at 01:07 PM