He’s the most notorious law-related blogger in the blawgosphere: the Anonymous Lawyer, whose weblog I critiqued and “deconstructed” in a post of my own here. The post attracted a lot of attention, primarily because Anonymous Lawyer is a very popular weblog. Its popularity, in fact, inspired others to join in my critique: Dennis Kennedy and Rufus of Running With Lawyers, for example, did posts in a similar vein. Even Professor Bainbridge joined in.
I chose to write about Anonymous Lawyer because I think the weblog accomplishes, through humor and its author’s wry point of view, something that should be welcomed by all lawyers: a much-needed critique of the "quality of life" at the big law firms. As a veteran of big-firm life myself, I can attest that when Anonymous Lawyer tries to make a point about what’s wrong with that culture, it's dead on. (As an aside, when Dennis Kennedy suggested in a tongue-in-cheek way that I might be the author of Anonymous Lawyer, I was flattered. But I’m not, as I said here: it’s not my style to be anonymous, for one thing. And there’s no way I could ever bring myself to write without paragraph breaks--I’m way too much a card-carrying English major for that, though I don't object to the mannerism in others.)
So what’s the news about Anonymous Lawyer? A few weeks ago, I saw an unusual post that appeared there for only a few hours. It concerned the author’s desire to turn the weblog into a book, and it asked for help from any of his readers who had contacts in the publishing industry. Most people didn’t see the post: oddly, it was removed from the weblog almost immediately. But I saw it, and I liked the idea. I e-mailed the author of Anonymous Lawyer at the e-mail address provided on the weblog to find out what had happened to the post.
To my surprise, I received a frank response the next day: the author of Anonymous Lawyer said that in writing the post about the book idea, he’d “broken character.” It’s my term, not his--and though I'm using the pronoun “he,” for all I know, the author is female. Anyway, he thought he’d made a mistake speaking in the voice of the author directly, after spending almost a year speaking exclusively in the voice of the “Anonymous Lawyer.” In the comments, some of his regular readers seemed very disappointed about the post, so he decided to take it down.
It presented an interesting problem, but I had a solution: "Use my weblog," I said via e-mail. "Let me post about your desire to turn your weblog into a book, and perhaps the community of people who read my weblog (or weblogs once or twice removed) will respond by posting something on their own weblogs. If all the people who are supportive of the idea of Anonymous Lawyer--and I know there are many--post about the book idea on their own weblogs, we might be able to create enough buzz get a publisher interested in a book version of the weblog."
The author of Anonymous Lawyer agreed with my idea. The result is this post. While he said that he was also exploring more traditional routes to publication--a book proposal, letters to publishers, that sort of thing--he said he would be grateful for any help he could get from other webloggers.
So if you like Anonymous Lawyer and aren't the sort that gets jealous about another writer's success, here’s what you should do: simply post about the book idea on your own weblog. (This means you, you, and you; and you, you, and you. And you and you; plus you, you, and you.) Spread the word that the author of Anonymous Lawyer wants to put some variation of his weblog between covers, and that he’s trying to interest publishers in the idea. Meanwhile, anyone with ties to the publishing field or with feedback about the idea can contact him directly at email@example.com.
Neither of us is sure what’s going to happen after I post this post. Maybe nothing at all. But we both thought that it was worth a shot, and it should be interesting to see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: A reporter from the New York Times is mulling a story about Anonymous Lawyer. If you're a reader, she might want to talk to you. Details here.