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This Isn't About the Law
When I started this blog I didn't really expect anyone other than my mom, and occasionally my husband, to read it. But I love this little community I've stumbled upon. I've developed real relationships with many of you - at least in my head - and at least one real live friend.

When I started this blog, it was also with the intent to remain anonymous aside from a few friends and family. That went by the wayside when a co-worker and friend blabbed about my blog to some other co-workers. (L - chill, you know I'm just poking at you.) Then, in a fit of insanity, I wrote a guest post for a rather popular blog on WashingtonPost.com under my real name, and they linked it to my blog.

Hell, many of you know my real name and where I work because I tend to reply to comments from my work email address. Actually, the only reason my real name does not appear on this blog is fear of The Google. I really don't want a prospective client to type my name into Google and have this be the first link. If someone is dedicated enough to find my blog with my real name and Google, it will take them a while to get there and they will be forced to slog through many of my professional publications to get there. If someone finds my blog after all that work, I'm perfectly OK with that.

But still, there is one line I will not cross. (Well, actually there are a few, but this is not a post about sex. Sorry to disappoint.)

I do not discuss the law.

It may come as a disappointment to people who click on a link to my blog expecting a "legal blog" but, despite my blog name, I will never focus on the law. Don't get me wrong, I would love to show off my legal brain here. The law is one thing I feel very confident discussing. But my little area of the law would either bore you to death or send you screaming from my URL, deleting your Favorites link on your way out the door. I've mentioned my area of expertise here before but, because of The Google, I'm not going to repeat it. Let's just say that it involves a lot of paper, some drawings, and people fighting over what those papers and drawings mean.

I've been tempted to offer my legal analysis of some important and very public cases lately. Particularly when the latest abortion case came down from the Supremes. I even wrote a rather lengthy post dissecting it and discussing past precedent.

It's still sitting in my post list in draft form.

Why the paranoia, you ask?

Well, first of all there are some pretty detailed ethical rules for lawyers regarding advertising and what constitutes an advertisement, and the rules vary in every state in the U.S. I'd rather just steer clear of that stuff entirely and not worry about it. But my primary reason for the legal ban is that I don't want to get into legal pissing matches on the Internet.

Seriously, that's it. I do that at work every single day. I don't want to do that here. And if I write about abortion, or civil rights, or even employment rights, someone is going to try to draw me into a pissing match. And I have a really hard time backing down from a fight.

I was reminded of why I don't write about the law here after my post about Altoids and pregnancy hormones. I just mentioned that I was going to be on Kristin's Blog Talk Radio show and someone started taking pot shots at me. Someone who knew nothing about me, my practice, or even my real name, and, I would hazard a guess, didn't listen to Kristin's show.

I wasn't quite sure why someone writing about me bothered me so much. It wasn't the disagreement with my opinion; I could give two shits about that. It wasn't even necessarily the questioning of my legal ethics, because, come. on. Ridiculous implications are still just ridiculous implications.

No, what bothered me was the reminder that there are so many strangers reading this blog.

Now, I know that everyone who comments here regularly was once a "stranger." I would never password protect my blog because I love finding new blogs. I've discovered so many wonderful insightful bloggers out there because someone happened to stop by my blog and leave a comment, or just appeared in my Blog Log over there in the side bar.

I also know that I have friends, co-workers and family stopping by and they don't usually comment. I have my fair share of people who arrive here through bizarre Google searches about spanking and Snow White. I'm also sure that there are people who read my blog and don't comment because they either don't have blogs, or they just don't comment anywhere. That doesn't bother me. No, what gives me pause is the idea that someone would come here, read my blog, not participate, and then go blog about me, and not necessarily in a "You go, girl" kind of way. Blogging negatively about another blogger? That would just never occur to me.

So maybe someone can tell me what motivates people to do that? Because it's really making me think twice about how I want to use this blog and what I want to say here.

I'm not going to stop blogging because of a troll or two. But I would hate to get to the point where I have to change my voice here to keep my sanity.

Of course, now that I have proclaimed my steadfast rule that Lawyer Mama Shall Never Blogeth About The Law, I will now briefly suspend that rule. Because I am the queen here and I can do what I want.

During the first 20 minutes or so of Kristin's show, there were some technical problems. Consequently, my brilliant (and I use the term brilliant loosely) legal analysis and some hilarious comments from the Queen of Shake Shake are missing from the podcast. So here's the 30 second run down of the good news and the bad news for those who may accidentally run afoul of the law in New Jersey:

1. The New Jersey shoplifting statute requires a person to act purposely, with intent to deprive a retailer of property.
2. However, being caught with said property by a law enforcement officer establishes intent.

So if a ducky accidentally falls into a stroller, there is no purposeful act and no intent and, therefore, no "shoplifting." But if someone pushing the stroller is tackled by a security officer, and a search of the stroller reveals said ducky, the person pushing the stroller is screwed. Unless there is a helpful surveillance camera film or something.

That's it. That's what all the fuss was about.

Now, I'm off to turn myself into my state bar for encouraging all of you to commit crimes.

And seriously, if you think I'm offering you legal advice or that this has established an attorney-client relationship, you're an idiot and you shouldn't be reading my blog. If so, slap yourself in the forehead. Right now! Oh, and I'd like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.

Cartoon courtesy of "Microdoc News" (out of business) by way of Google Blogoscoped.

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Blogger Queen Heather said...

I thought your legal analysis was brilliant!

And I hate that everyone missed the story on how I learned to spell Kaopectate.

As far as the crazy who had to go all legal anal-ysis in that blog, well if you aren't offended someone then you need to do something different! At least that's how I soothe my ethics and stuff.

Blogger Queen Heather said...

and while I may have learned to spell kaopectate, I obviously didn't learn the proper 'ed/'ing endings for words.

Blogger TastesLikeCrazy said...

That really sucks that someone has you this worked up.
I tend to agree with Queen Heather:
"As far as the crazy who had to go all legal anal-ysis in that blog, well if you aren't offended someone then you need to do something different!"


Blogger flutter said...

Trolls are wonderful, no? I always wonder when they have time to start shit when there are so many bridges to guard.

Do not feed the trolls. I had a crazy post blogher troll last year, but she gave me 14 hits and bought me a latte in the process. They can be good and bad for business.

And I can't imagine why anyone would want to read a blog filled with legal advice. I'd much rather see pics of your delicious kids :)

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Oh. Dude. You TEASE.

You wrote and *did not post* that post. Meanwhile, I am struggling for some semblance of coherence about the two most recent Supreme Court decisions and what I think about them, but my arguments thus far are not holding water according to my husband. (Then again, that man could argue the devil out of his pitchfork.)

As for the duck...if a security guard tackled somebody and filed charges over an unintentionally take under $7 duck I'd wonder about the real problem of shoplifting I keep hearing about.

Yes, ideally...you take it back and/or pay for it...with an apology.

But at the end of the day, it's a $6 duck from The Freaking Gap. Why is it representing the crumbling of Western civilization? I think there are much better examples.

Unless that Duck can Save Darfur...I don't give a duck's tail feather about the duck.

As for the Other Lawyer...

Wow, not only are you a very popular mommy blogger but you also talk on radio shows. Can we still hang out, seeing as how I am just a Schmo in need of some dough? ;)

More germanely, I can't imagine you would have (or did, actually) legally justify keeping the duck.

Is that how that button is intended?

Tell me...isn't it meant sort of, well, as a joke?

Would the bar association have a problem seriously truly honestly with that button?

Didn't you simply explain what the law is in this matter?

How is that anything that would at all trouble, well, any lawyer or law oversight group?

Seems not to me.

I don't know.

I know you from this blog and some messages and chatting, which although doesn't make me an expert or even an "expert" does make me confident that you're responsible and careful.

Bottom line, though (since I've rambled on and on, sorry) is that I understand it makes you feel a little threatened in a way. Sorry. Really. Hang in there.

I just think it's cool that you're a lawyer. But tell me this: was labor harder than the Bar exam? I've always wondered...

Blogger ewe are here said...

I completely understand your feelings on the no law thing... who needs pissing contests, especially with anonymous trolls... but kind of too bad when really fun or interesting questions just ripe for fun debate pop-up.

I don't post much about the law either, except maybe my feelings on it here and there, because I lack some confidence in the realm. Haven;t practiced law for a few years now...and may never do so again. But I do keep up on the big sc decisions... would have liked to read your abortion post to see your take on it.

Blogger Treadmillista said...

I have to say that I'm a little happy that my blog hasn't reached the next level of popularity because I don't know if my skin is thick enough to handle negative comments or trolls. I think you handled it well, but I understand how it could get to you. Heck I had a few "negative" replies to a post I had about the Backyardigans and I got all flustered...imagine if it had been something that really mattered to me.

So...wait....if I get arrested, I can't email you? Is that what you're saying? :)

PS: Don't you DARE quit! I DO have your work email...at least I DID before I deleted it...and I will be forced to find you and FORCE you to regail me with amusing incidents from your life! Just sayin'! (hee-hee)

Blogger PunditMom said...

Since I don't practice law anymore, I feel better about bitching about the Supreme Court over at my place (!), but I agree -- no ledal advice dispensing here. But I really appreciate the info on the duck in case I'm ever shopping in Jersey!

Blogger Brillig said...

I'm familiar with the duck story, only because all of bloglandia is discussing it, but I know no more than that. I feel like I've missed a great drama here, but even without being aware of the drama, your retort is excellent. You must be the funnest lawyer in the world!

Anonymous Emily said...

You need to have a space that is for you where your work is separate. It is a shame some negative fools end up here, but I think you are right to keep this space separate.

Hmmm... tell me when I'm no longer a stranger.

Blogger jen said...

i understand exactly what you are saying sister, and agree. and i do the same (not about the law)

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Heather & Taste - I'll have to keep that in mind. I know sometimes I'm happy to piss people off. I guess it just takes me by surprise when I do it unintentionally!

Flutter - Yes, exactly.

Kristin - I know, I know. I shouldn't feed the trolls. My kids are a lot more fun to blog about too!

Julie - Dude. If you were coming to BlogHer, I could totally prep you! And we should ask Kristin about the Duck and Darfur. Hmmmm.... And yep, you got it. The Keep the Duck thing is just a joke. For everyone. Now I understand why Her Bad Mother was annoyed at the people who took *her* duck post seriously! And of course I will still hang out with the little people despite my stardom. Heh heh.

Ewe - I know what you mean. Sometimes I think it's a shame but since this blog isn't anonymous I just shouldn't go there. We should discuss it sometime though. Don't suppose you're hopping across the pond for BlogHer with your new baby?

Treadmill - I must have missed that post. I heart the Backyardigans mostly b/c my kids LOVE them to death. What could be controversial? Now I'm intrigued.

PM - I know what you mean, if I ever retire I'm all over that shit.

Brillig - Thank you! I think I love you.

Emily - You weren't a stranger once I read a single post on your blog!

Jen - What? No dude? LOL! Thanks for understanding.

Blogger RB said...

Hey, I have some deep thoughts on this post... would you mind emailing me? rbelleATgmailDOTcom

(Here from http://www.bellechats.com)

Anonymous Nancy said...

Hey, I missed the WaPo thing -- how did that happen?

You've probably seen all the crap PunditMom's had to put up with for her post about the top 10 women who set other women back (where Linda Hirschman attacked her personally, using her real name.) I'm kind of a coward about controversy that might result in me getting attacked, so that's one reason you won't find me posting anything that's too much of a hot button issue. So I can completely understand why you don't post about the law, especially considering it could raise ethical considerations.

Blogger Amy W said...

There are days when I wish some people who read my blog don't as I tend to offend someone with each posting (I know! Crazy!).

Blogger Jen M. said...

I love your blog. And it's definitely official, if you have trolls you have "made it" as a blogger ;) Whoo!

I know a lot of moms struggle with the issue of privacy, and in a way I consider it a belssing that my own blog was down for a while. I have decided to omit my last name and while I don't use nicknames, I'm pretty sure it's hard to figure out where I live. I hope. It amazes me that Dooce, who is so wildly popular, publishes her full name and city. It makes me worry.

Trolls just mean you've arrived as a blogger, or so I'm told :)!

Sorry to have missed out on the radio show due to technical difficulties. I was looking forward to it!

Blogger PinkPowerSuit.com said...

Late coming into this. Toooo funny. Made me laugh out loud a few times.

Maybe it's just where my mind is at right now and when I'm on a tangent I tend to see evidence of my own views in what other people say, but I feel like this post touched on some issues of privacy and the reasons for or against. I just posted about that and I'm trying to figure out if there really is a right and a wrong about privacy, or I should say, a superiority in having a high degree of personal privacy.

You come from a conservative field, right? Just like my husband. Is that why he's so private?

I'd be interested in your take on my questions.

Enjoying your blog.

Blogger Sarcasta-Mom said...

I read your blog all the time, but don't often comment. With your following of wonderful bloggers, I often find I have nothing to add :)

Keep on keeping on, and to heck with the trolls!

Anonymous Rhea said...

I admire an ethical lawyer. And mom.

Blogger NotSoSage said...

What? You mean all the stuff I reveal in the comments is not protected under attorney-client privilege (or whatever the heck you legal types call it)? Damn. I'd better get me a(nother) lawyer.

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