Sunday, January 21, 2007
Posted by Alan Childress
Here find MyShingle's Carolyn Elefant in pointed reply to my previous post on Brenda Bratton Blom's recent article on "cause lawyering" and the mobilization of solos and small firm lawyers. A taste of Elefant's reply:
I have to admit that when I read pieces like Blom's, it's clear why I have no future in academia: it's simply too divorced from reality. For example, where does Blom get the idea that solos are scraping by on the edge, living at the mercy of markets by selling our services?
We solos and small firms survive and thrive by focusing on what our clients want and educating them about other possibilities; not by subordinating their issues to the big picture or a matter that we personally find more compelling.
I am like the puppetmaster on this one: I sent the link to Carolyn Elefant with unstated hopes she would read it and reply in the very manner she did. I then emailed her a clarification ... I told her that if she formally entered academia and wrote [more] articles, her future would be fine: there is no formal requirement that they be divorced from reality. It's just that we get paid a hefty bonus whenever they are.
Because it appears that both Bratton and Elefant live in Maryland, there's real potential for a debate at Blom's University of Maryland or at the University of Baltimore on this and related issues. I call it "The Role of the Small Lawyer in the Big Picture." It could be moderated by Jonathan Stein, or he'd be a panelist too (he recently won blogging awards in 8 different categories [by naming himself]). I'd buy a ticket, though fortunately we don't ever have to buy such tickets in academia -- likely as part of the divorce settlement, after Reality left us for those floozies and gigolos in B-School. I'd even moderate it myself if I get to trade punches too; I certainly look the part of the small lawyer.
The debate could even be promoted like a WWF Smackdown, with nicknames like BBB or Triple-B and Elefant so readily available, and the word "brawl" so alliterative to Blom [in Baltimore, no less] and rhyming with "smallball." Long academic papers will be referred to only as "pieces." Seriously, thank you MyShingle, for reading the linked paper and for your considered analysis (I just excerpted the more flame-throwing parts).