The ABA Journal's editors picked "100 best web sites by lawyers for lawyers" today, and it's an honor to say that Deliberations is on the list. Now they're asking readers to vote for their favorites, by category. I'm in a "toolkit" category with all the big general-interest law practice blogs: Adam Smith, Esq., Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices, Bag and Baggage, Build a Solo Practice, and that's just the A's and B's. So I have no expectation of finishing anywhere near the top, but still it would be nice to get some votes, which you can cast (one per blog, as many blogs as you like) by clicking the link above.
"The height of folly"
I was in danger of getting really puffed up over this today until Kevin O'Keefe's post arrived with perfect timing:
Maybe it's lawyers' low self esteem that requires their egos to be stroked by being on someone's list of the 100 best this or that. Maybe lawyers are so bored that they love gimmicks. Maybe it's websites and organizations that are so starved for attention or relevance that they need to have contests to get their beauty pageant contestants to tell others of the website. I don't know.
But to get sucked into believing a contest like the ABA Journal's 100 best lawyer blogs means something is the height [of ] folly.
I've learned to trust most anything Kevin O'Keefe says about blogging, and I know he's right on this too. Anyone can see that Blawgletter, New York Personal Injury Law Blog, Defending People, Drug and Device Law, Corrections Sentencing, and Kevin's own blog Real Lawyers Have Blogs are just a few of many blogs that are better than mine and aren't on the list. More to Kevin's point, one of the strengths of the legal blogging world is that there's a different "best" blog out there for each reader. "What's best and what's good," he says, "is determined by the value the blog offers a niche audience." That message gave me hope and vision back when I was sure I'd never have more than seven readers, and it still shapes this blog today.
A map, at least
Kevin's real complaint is that the ABA Journal's recognition is "damaging to the growth of law blogs." He argues that a handpicked list like this distracts readers from the real value of the blogosphere, which is the opposite of handpicked. Your browser, he says, is a door to a democratic world where "a lawyer in a town with a water tower, an old grain elevator and 3 four way stops is on equal footing with a lawyer who clerked for a Supreme Court Judge."
It's self-serving to say it, but I do think I differ with him here. It's true that there are wonderful blogs that won't show up on any national "best" list, but at least in my own case, any map I could get was very helpful when I was first learning the territory. You find blogs you trust when they're cited in other blogs you trust, and you have to start somewhere. I've gotten a startling number of visitors today from the ABA Journal site, and I hope some of those visitors come to rely on other blogs they learn about here.
Bottom line . . .
So vote for Deliberations in the ABA Journal Blawg 100, if you're willing. I've got to keep up with my dad's blog, and heaven knows I won't be in the next contest Kevin envisions. "Why not have a contest as to which blogging lawyer looks best in a swim suit?" he asks. Yikes.