One of my favorite things about blogging is sharing things I find interesting with others. That’s also why I like Twitter so much. So when my friend and fellow blogger Bill Ellis asked me to participate in a blog hop, I jumped at the chance.
Bill’s a branding expert and he writes a blog about what he calls fearless brands, such as Tiffany’s, the Naked Cowboy, the Beatles, and the St. Louis Cardinals. After a successful marketing career at a certain brewery that’s long been known in St. Louis at “the Brewery,” Bill put out his own shingle to help young businesses discover and articulate who they are as well as their key value to the market. Bill’s the first person I called when I decided to launch what has become Blue Maven Law. Here’s a link to Bill’s blog hop post. At the end of this post, I’ll introduce you to some bloggers I admire and whose blogs I read regularly.
The topic of this blog hop is “Why I write,” so here’s a bit about my favorite subject.
What am I working on?
Most of my blogging energy is spent these days on my Blue Maven Law Blog, which focuses on the legal aspects of small business mergers and acquisitions. I’m trying to build a resource of information for people involved in buying or selling small businesses, whether they’re business brokers or other professionals involved in the industry, people who are looking for professional resources, or DIYers who are trying to navigate the issues involved in buying or selling their businesses.
My goal is to put together the most-comprehensive, user-friendly collection of material available on the web. That’s a tall order, and I’ll be thrilled even if I come up quite short, but you have to have goals….
My true love when it comes to blogging, however, is the Contracts Guy. I have dozens and dozens of ideas, and wish I had more time to write. Some unfinished pieces that I hope to publish in the coming weeks are a primer on signing contracts electronically, a piece on indemnifying people for their own harmful actions, and a review of the second edition of Professor Stark’s book Drafting Contracts. I’d also like to write some more Reading List posts, like the ones I wrote about China Law Blog and IP Draughts. Plus, some battle of the forms exercises that apply specific fact situations to section 2-207 of the UCC. So much to do. So little time.
How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
I’ve experimented with a number of approaches over the years, but I’m currently trying to produce pieces that (1) contain practical information for people involved in writing and negotiating contracts, (2) are substantive, and (3) are readable. Also, I want people to feel like they’re hearing my voice as if we were chatting over a beer or cup of coffee instead of on the interwebs. I’m not there yet, but that’s what I’m shooting for.
There are a lot of approaches to writing about contracts. What I feel I bring to the table is the practical perspective of a practitioner who deals with corporate and small business clients, opposing counsel, and opposing parties.
Why do I write what I write?
Since my first year of practice as a lawyer, I’ve loved contracts. Not wading through the mind-numbing small print. But the business, the practical application of the law to the real world, the people.
As I wrote in my first blog post, working with contracts is the closest a business lawyer in private practice comes to the operational life of a company. Other areas of corporate practice expose lawyers to the business affairs of our clients, but helping business folks think through the details and implications of their business arrangements by applying legal analysis brings the transactional lawyer closer to “business” than anything else I’ve experienced. I often think of the issues that companies and their corporate attorneys deal with as being on a continuum, with legal issues on one end and business issues on the other. While helping a client with a contract, I am at the intersection of business and legal issues, dealing in legal concepts and advice, but informed by and immersed in business issues. I find that intellectually stimulating and satisfying.
I write this blog because I like to share that world with others who also find it interesting.
How does my process work?
I often write like I shop. I mull over potential topics over a period of time, thinking of an angle that seems interesting. But when it comes to actually putting pen to paper, I’m in and out in a flash. Except that I read and re-read the post while I’m drafting and afterward. I also listen to my inner voice while I’m writing, reading, and re-reading to make sure it sounds like a normal person and not a lawyer.
A number of posts require some research. Those are much more time-consuming, and sometimes I don’t finish them until months after I first start digging into the topic.
Please check out my blogging friends
Enough about me. Now I’ll introduce you to some blogging friends and encourage you to check them out. They all have readable blogs that make even complicated topics a pleasure to read. They’re also all great Twitter follow, so you should check out their Twitter feeds. I’ll keep their intros short and sweet.
Katie (@_katie_lane) writes a blog at Work Made for Hire. She used to work as in-house counsel for a company but is now a freelance attorney. She writes for an audience of freelancers and focuses on contracts and negotiation.
Jennifer (@JenniferMRomig) writes the Listen Like a Lawyer blog. She’s a legal writing consultant in Georgia. In her blog Jennifer explores the theory and practice of effective listening. She’s also a fan of checklists, as am I.
Howard (@HowardUllman) writes the My Distribution Law Blog. He’s in private practice in California at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He writes about distribution and antitrust law.
Adrian (@walters_adrian) writes The Walters Way blog. He’s a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago. His blog is a resource for law students and he tries to use it to connect students in a practical way to the law of contracts, bankruptcy, and business organizations.
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Thanks for jumping on to the blog hop – like you, the greatest thing I received from participating is a better understanding of myself and my own writing whys, hows and whats.
One thing I need to comment on is your statement that you want people to ‘hear your voice as if chatting over a beer or coffee’ then go on to say that you fall short. I disagree in my opinion, you’re accomplishing that goal. I find your writing to be quite authentic and natural – very Brian-esque and I enjoy reading your posts.
Thanks, Bill. As someone who’s both read my blog posts and chatted over coffee with me, I consider you an authority!