The Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) striking off of legal blogging pioneer David Harris last week caused quite a stir.
Tributes flowed in for the ex-barrister whose witty and wild blog, GeekLawyer, won acclaim in the UK and internationally.
Assuming the Earl Spencer role in the affair was retired BPP Law School lecturer Mike Semple Piggot, who penned a moving eulogy to Harris’ career on his blog Charon QC. Piggot then released a memorabilia podcast of him and Harris chatting away in 2008.
Oh 2008! What an innocent year you were for British legal blogging! Back then, law bloggers existed in a loving, cosy community where you could get your back-slapped even if what you wrote was complete shite…
Then Twitter came tearing into this Garden of Eden, making stars of a select few such as David Allen Green (DAG), while consigning others to a lifetime of nostalgia for the good old days.
DAG may be great to read, with his clever turns of phrase and tales of fun spent among his celebrity friends, but many feel that he, and others like him, have lost touch with the common man and woman. Only a couple of weeks ago, Legal Cheek revealed that the man GQ magazine deigned the 64th most influential in Britain had called a trainee lawyer “a twat” on Twitter after the legal rookie had dared to poke fun at Green’s love of X-factor.
Can you blame them for behaving like Premiership footballers, though? Anyone would surely struggle to maintain a sense of reality with magazines like The Lawyer and Legal Week scrapping it out to host their work in newly-designed blogging sections.
A symptom of the incredible levels of stress these individuals are under was evidenced last month when three top legal bloggers, under pressure to deliver a January masterpiece for their fans, wrote similar articles on the same topic.
The original idea for a blog about snarky lawyers’ letters came from solicitor-advocate Kristin Heimark (@stokenewington) with this blog for Legal Week. Two weeks later in-house law blogger LegalBizzle produced a piece on the same topic for his personal blog. Sniffing a good angle, blogging king DAG weighed in with his own take on the subject eight days later for The Lawyer. Heinmark was unamused, writing on Twitter: “They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Or sommat.”
DAG and LegalBizzle were too busy glugging champagne in their respective Jacuzzis to respond.
Update: Legalbizzle says “I hadn’t read Kristin’s blog when I wrote mine – my piece is clear that DAG’s tweets were my inspiration. Also, I didn’t know that Kristin is @stokenewington, and I am not on a City salary – not even the city of Leeds.”