Unlike the Happysphere of the internet, where otherwise useless people congratulate each other on being at conferences and being passionate about shiny new toys, I'm not one to want to hear how much people like me and think I'm wonderful.
I'd rather know (shudder now) if someone doesn't like me. It makes things easier. I'd rather know because it helps me maintain my practice of not being phony and doing silly things like asking them to lunch or let's say in the case of lawyers... referring them cases or otherwise recommending them while they quietly and cowardly tell others they really don't like me.
Yesterday I tweeted “Do some of you lawyers wake up and say 'I'm going to write the stupidest thing that comes to mind today?'"
After writing that. I felt bad that I wasn’t specific as to what I was talking about.
I was talking about this post, by fellow Miami lawyer Jim Walker.
A brief history.
About a year ago I was invited to Kevin O’Keefe’s “Beer for Bloggers” Miami stop. I arrived at a local watering hole and found Kevin surrounded by his adoring fans (and paid blogging customers), as he loudly announced “oh, my biggest nemesis!”
I sat down, introduced myself to the table, several attendees keeping their heads down (later I would learn they were some of the hacks I write about on the internet) and by chance, (some of the minions were from out of town) I sat next to Miami lawyer Jim Walker.
Jim is a “cruise ship” lawyer, a niche practice of suing cruise lines for among other things, passenger injuries. It’s a great practice for a Miami lawyer, as Carnival and Royal Carribean and a couple other cruise lines are based here.
I never met Jim, nor ever heard of him (I thought), so I treated it as an opportunity to meet a Miami lawyer. You know, "hey, you know so and so, etc..."
Of course my first thought was to act like a normal human being and say hello and then move on to the typical small talk that reveals mutual friends and colleagues, similar interests, and the usual“maybe we can have lunch” conversation.
Instead, Jim began with:
“You’re Scott Greenfield’s friend.”
He didn’t say it like: “Hey! You’re Scott Greenfield’s friend!”
It was in the same tone as “you’re a piece of shit, aren’t you?”
So in a rare moment of willingness to admit I actually know Greenfield and yes, consider him a friend, Jim revealed his handle on twitter was @cruiselaw.
As I was vaguely remembering a back and forth with Greenfield and @cruiselaw, Jim told me the whole sordid story, as if he wanted me to take notes and analyze the situation.
I eventually deflected the conversation back to more irrelevant things like whether he liked the ice cream store down the street from his office that I use to go to as a kid.
It must have been difficult for Jim to think for a moment that I was a normal person, father, husband, involved in the Bar and the Miami community, and possibly a future referral source.
We parted with a handshake, traded cards, emailed a couple times, and I sent his name to a potential client who I assumed never called to retain him.
That’s my relationship with Jim.
So I thought.
Jim got mad the other day and penned this Howard Dean-type (see below) blog post railing against the ABA Journal Blawg 100.
Most of his facts were wrong, but I’ll correct a few.
I think the ABA Journal Blawg 100 contest is a joke. Except for the first year where I thought the winners were worthy, I always have. Since then, even some of the winners will tell you their victory is a joke. It is, no question, a popularity contest.
I was nominated once. By who, I don’t know. I was nominated in the same category as Professor Jonathan Turley, who, 5 minutes after the nominees were announced, was ahead of me by something like 45 million votes. I could never win, so I started making fun of the contest by saying it was “bad for the children” if Turley won, and other funny comments. It was nice to be nominated.
Jim’s rant included a (wrong) assessment what’s been going on recently on twitter.
But this is a fixed race. Its not a popularity contest. You can click on the Twitter account of @Molly_McDonough, the online editor at the ABA Journal, and see her chatting in the last few days, oh-so-cleverly, with her favorite Twitter friends: @mirriam71, ScottGreenfield, @thenambypamby, @btannebaum, and @taxgirl.
That's me - @btannebaum.
Jim doesn’t know that recently, the social media hacks on twitter have been begging for nominations. In response, people like me, and others, have joked with ABA Journal online editor Molly McDonough. We’ve made a big joke out of it.
A joke, Jim. A joke.
You see, the lawyers mentioned by Jim don't use blogging as a marketing tool. We blog to blog. Jim is big in online marketing. He writes about cruise line problems, tweets with hashtags to attract attention, wants you to like him on Facebook, and all that other crap I, and many other lawyers find pointless and silly.
But it’s fine, it's not uncommon that lawyers who buy blogging platforms buy in to the whole marketing aspect of social media and the internet. That I find it cheap and unworthy of a experienced, competent lawyer who claims to be "nationally recognized" is only my opinion.
Jim’s post is down now. I asked him why he took it down and he said:
@btannebaum put online at 3:30 AM to see how photos loaded then took it down, planned to post Setp. 13 when contest closed, cat's out of bag
I just have one question, if you intended to post this in about a month, and we all got the email last week, why would you begin the post with:
"This week I received an email from the ABA Journal reminding me that the "Blawg 100" contest was fast approaching"
The answer is, well, you know the answer.
Maybe he realized he was wrong, sounded a bit childish, or realized his colleague down the street was named on his hit list?
For many reasons, I normally don’t write about lawyers in my own backyard. For one, it’s not collegial. But I'll make an exception here because I do appreciate knowing what Jim thinks of me, and I do agree with another thing he said:
"I suppose I should not be so bitter"
Non-anonymous comments welcome. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.