This is the last posting for my ethicalEsq web journal. So, I’m going to get sentimental and reflective.
[NOTE: we couldn't stay away from weblogging and returned on December 13, 2003; click on our About page to read more about our convoluted history -- which continued until March 1, 2009, when we stopped production and "archivized" f/k/a]
It’s hard to believe it was only 19 weeks ago, when I made my first news post, “P/I Lawyers v. Common Good” and went public with ethicalEsq. (I mean, Denise is still pregnant with the same Baby!) Nevertheless, it’s time to follow my own advice to other lawyers:
Don’t take on a client or a project if your services won’t be “diligent (attentive, prompt) and competent (thorough, knowledgeable, well-prepared).”
In the Ethics Nanny business, you know it’s time to stop tilting at windmills and hang up your lance, when you can’t find the energy to write with relish about this story (“State [Ethics] attorney fined for writing on job”). For the past two months, it’s been rather difficult to keep a sharp eye or brain focused on developments in the world of legal ethics. My body keeps wanting naps, and my brain-ego keeps wanting to chase down just one more source and link. It seems that the need to feel productive is a curse for Type A’s who happen to contract Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and finding the right pace can be nearly impossible — at least for me, since becoming addicted to editing my weblog.
Yes, Lauren Hillenbrand was able to write Seabiscuit, despite having CFS, and her personal story is inspiring, but:
[H]er success came at a price. “The day after I turned in my manuscript, my health collapsed,” says Hillenbrand. “You want so much to defy this illness and live on your own terms. I hoped I could get away with it, but I couldn’t.” Debilitating symptoms of chronic fatigue, and the devastating vertigo that accompanied them, had returned with a vengeance. (from “Betting on Seabisquit,” Smithsonian Magazine, by Larry Katzenstein, Dec. ’02)
Not to make excuses for myself, but writing a bestseller like Seabiscuit is just one discrete project (although a big one). On the other hand, riding ethical herd on the legal profession is an endless, thankless, almost infinite, and — let’s be honest — rather futile job. Don Corleone could certainly do the job a lot better than Don Quixote, but he’d need a very big gang of enforcers.
- A consigliere’s last bit of advice for the Godfather: Make sure the consumer of legal services gets lots more information, competition, and options. Then, maybe give the legal profession and its Watchdogs an offer or two they can’t refuse. (Unbundle This!)
- The need for a voice/conscience like ethicalEsq? within the legal profession obviously still exists. And this web log has demonstrated that there is an audience for its message. Where are the legal ethics professors, law students, bar counsel, or bar leaders who care deeply about client-oriented reforms? The web-log-osphere awaits them.
- Meanwhile, readers who want updated information about reforms in the provision of legal services, should check out the newly-revised homepage of HALT for its Breaking News and Press Releases. Like ethicalEsq?, HALT is “dedicated to helping all Americans handle their legal affairs simply, affordably and equitably.”
I know that some of the new friends I’ve made out there in Web Log Land are a little worried about me and my health, but they shouldn’t be. I’m not seeking sympathy by telling personal details in this public place. I’ve learned some very important lessons while dealing with a serious health condition over the past decade, and I’m glad to have learned them and lived them. Besides discovering my own inner strength, I found out that there are things far more valuable to me than the typical American symbols of “success” — power, influence, recognition, wealth. Being able to remove myself from ethicalEsq?‘s heady loop of positive feedback is a very good sign that I’m not forgetting those lessons.
Doing ethicalEsq has been a very rewarding experience, whether the correspondents agreed with me or not. Until I started a web journal, I thought the internet (mostly e-mail) could be used to sustain established friendships and relationships, but couldn’t possibly create new ones of any significant value. Well, I was wrong!
Comments and e-correspondence sparked by this website have put me in touch with some very good human beings (who can scarcely be blamed for being lawyers). Although they are a lot busier than I, I hope to continue to connect with them across cyberspace.
- At the end of this posting, I have listed (alphabetically) a number of the web-log related folks who have become more than just pixelated names to me, due to the quality and/or quantity of their communications, insights, inspiration, or assistance.
For now, ethicalEsq will be right here, with a rather large amount of content, and a pretty good set of links to other resources relating to legal ethics. This whole weblog experience-experiment has been far too positive for me to forsake web-journaling altogether.
Although I could never be as cultured as George’s Fool, nor as interesting as storyteller Sherry Fowler, I certainly have opinions and observations, and some day soon hope to start a personal web diary/scratch pad. It will deal with topics that require neither monitoring nor research. Until then, I’ll be dropping comments here and there, and making a general nuisance of myself. Do you think I can write an entire paragraph without a hyperlink?
Be well, do well (but have some fun).
Now that Mr. Editor has stopped posting, I’m unemployed and have time to leave Comments. So, you get my Two Cents for free, Ernie:
Don’t send e-flowers to honor ethicalEsq?, but actively work for the consumer of legal services both out in the real world, and through the power of weblogs:
(1) help make bar associations at the local and state level client-oriented, instead of guild-oriented (e.g., improving the Discipline System would be a great place to start);
(2) harness the power of the web to make the self-help-law revolution a reality, and
(3) with or without new laws or ethical rules, get more information to consumers about their rights and options — with enough information, consumers can create their own powerful competitive forces for innovation, improved services, lower prices.
For ideas, see the Editor’s article Counselors Oughtta Counsel (Not Conceal), and the ethicalEsq? resources on Informing Consumers, Access and Affordability , Discipline System , and — don’t forget — Fees.