Dear Colin McEnroe

by Ryan McKeen

This blog is nothing if it’s not a labor of love.

First, it’s going to be a slow week blogging. I’m writing this post while watching the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon. It may be the only post I write all week.

On Monday, my day is filled with client meetings. I’ve got documents to have executed, then a new client consultation, and finally prepare two clients for their depositions on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I’ll be in North Haven all day defending my clients’ depositions.

On Wednesday, I’ll be in court representing a client who is facing foreclosure.

On Thursday, I have a contested family court trial. My client has been waiting months for his day in court and when it comes, I better be prepared.

On Friday, it looks like a few client meetings, a will consult, and a real estate closing.

Oh and I’m at the peak of marathon training. Though fortunately this week is a step back week. I only have to run 34 miles. Last week was 36 miles. Next week is 40 miles. I often do this at night. I can often be seen running after dark with a headlamp on because that’s the only time I have to get my runs in.

Anyhow, those are the things I know about. Inevitably they’ll be a half dozen or so “emergency problems” that’ll pop up next week.

I say none of this to bore you because reading about a person’s schedule sure is boring.

But on your blog,  you wrote:

For instance, after posting eight times in the whole month, McKeen went dark from a Dec. 23 post congratulating his own blawg for staying upright for two years to a couple of short, interesting posts on Jan. 4 and 6. He squibbed out a Jan. 11 post that consisted of a five-word quote from Ben Franklin. Show me a blogger who can go 11 days without posting, and I’ll show you someone whose heart isn’t really in it.

You’ve probably been represented by a lawyer or two in your life. Imagine calling your lawyer and being told “Colin, I’m sorry, I haven’t had time to respond to your pressing problem because I’ve been busy recently.” That’s not something clients ever want to hear. Then imagine your lawyer had a blog. You checked the blog and found 11 posts in 11 days.

That’s my world. My obligations start and end with the people who have hired me to handle some of the most pressing issues in their lives.

If I’m too busy to blog, I don’t worry about it for one second because I know where my priorities lie. Sometimes I go days without checking this site and it’s not because I don’t have my heart in it.

But I digress….

I think it’s fair to say that she would not have hauled herself into court to try to resolve the question and that, really, there would be no question at all if the matter had not surfaced in a blog (or, to be taxonomically correct, a blawg) that 99.9 percent of the voters of Connecticut had never heard of. Bysiewicz’s problems started right here and went viral. Ryan McKeen wryly subtitles his site “Connecticut’s widely read obscure legal blog.”

The media’s reaction to my small role in the Bysiewicz thing has been amusing hence the subtitle on my blog. The day the story broke, veteran political reporter Mark Davis referred to my blog as “a widely read Connecticut legal blog”. The very next day, your colleague, Rick Green referred referred to this site as “an obscure legal blog”. The media giveth…the media taketh away.

Also the reason I didn’t blog between Christmas and New Years is that is the single deadest week in terms of internet traffic for the entire year. Evidently people have something better to do than read blogs that week. Actually they’re not at work. Virtually all of my traffic comes from people at work.

Then the first week of January happens. Economists use the term “pent up demand” and in the legal profession that’s the first week in January. Courts usually don’t hear cases between Christmas and New Years. Scheduling things like depositions is near impossible because  of the holidays.  But come the first work day of the year, the practice of law gets really busy. For example, more people file for divorce in January than any other month.

You’re a professional writer. You get paid to write your blog. On the other hand, I pay to write this blog. There was a startup cost and there are yearly server fees. Therein lies one of the differences between the ‘sphere and the fourth estate.

But let me tell you about why the Bysiewicz thing happened as fast as it did.

Occhiogrosso spied a new prize, gleaming in the rubble. The link. Readership in the blogosphere wasn’t particularly high, but Occhiogrosso gradually realized that didn’t matter. He just needed the link, which he then he would distribute his own way, to the people who, in his opinion, needed to see it.

I hesitated before I hit publish on the Bysiewicz post (a rarity in the blogosphere). As I looked at Ms. Bysiewicz’s bio that cold January night, I knew I was on to the most significant post that I’ve ever written and will likely ever write. I thought very highly of Ms. Bysiewicz. I would have voted for her for Governor.  But I had read the AG statute and read her biography and realized there was a serious question as to whether or not she was qualified. So I wrote the post and sat there thinking about whether or not I should hit publish. I thought and thought some more. Then I realized that I needed to ask the question.

After all, why have a law blog if you’re too scared to publish a post that may actually impact the lives of others?

I knew I had an important post but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what’s happened over the past 4 months. I thought that Ms. Bysiewicz didn’t list some “lesser” legal experience on her official biography.

The post could have languished on my obscure blog for all eternity but it didn’t and here’s why: I had one reader who in my opinion needed to see it.  Late on January 13th, I sent a link to my post to Christine Stuart at CT News Junkie. Christine read the post and sent me back a message letting me know that she posted the link in her “Extra! Extra!” column.

Christine’s willingness to post the link confirmed my suspicion that I had stumbled on to an important issue.

In a matter of hours it went from my obscure site to Christine’s excellent site to the Fourth Estate. It’s at least possible that if Christine decided not to link to my post that the past few months would have been a lot different for Susan Bysiewicz. Maybe no one would have picked up on this issue. In the very least, it wouldn’t have happened so fast and Susan would have had more time to formulate a response.

Once Christine had published the link, I knew it was going to be an interesting day. I just had no idea how interesting.

Before leaving for work, I called my Mom and told her what I posted. My Mom, ever the voice of reason and a lifelong democrat and a supporter of Susan’s, said something to the effect of “why did you did you write that about Susan? I like her.”

With that I went to work on Thursday morning. I spent a few hours at a bank that morning setting up some accounts. When I came back to my office before lunch my secretary said “what did you do?” I said why? She said reporters didn’t stop calling. With that I turned on the internet and there was Mark Davis talking about my blog on the news at noon.

There you have it Colin. A glimpse into the life of a person who has a blog and a day job that happened to stumble on to a hot button issue because his heart is into blogging about statutes that candidates for office and the reporters that cover them fail to read.

And from one blogger to another, take the week between Christmas and New Years off. No one reads anything that week.

Who knows maybe I’ll have time to call into your radio show when Tom Dudchik is on. I read his site more than I read my own. But if I don’t call in it doesn’t mean my heart’s not into this very interesting topic….it likely means I’m actively practicing law.

14 thoughts on “Dear Colin McEnroe

  1. Colin tries to think of something to say so he can blog. You blog when you have something to say. Some of us prefer quality over quantity.

    As far as his concern about losing readers — if the gods of technology meant us to manually check blogs for updates they wouldn’t have invented RSS.

  2. Once again, Christine Stuart demonstrates that she is one of the biggest assets of Connecticut’s Fourth Estate.

  3. This post is a little confusing… Are you mad at Colin? I agree with Doug. When I first read Colin’s post, I interpreted it as a positive take on your blog (see “Maybe somebody else would have come up with this line of inquiry about the candidate, but I somehow doubt it. It’s the kind of story we mainstreamers tend to miss. We see the trees — the details of the Byswiewicz run. McKeen was asking whether there should even be a forest in this particular space”). I believe that in discussing how little you post (is moderate a better word?) Colin was attempting to distinguish you, favorably, from the plethora of other bloggers who shout loudly and often yet are consistently lost in a cacophony of other voices doing the same.

  4. As a practicing lawyer with a very busy retail practice, as well as blogger in the field of Connecticut Workers Compensation law ( my hat goes off to you. You hit the nail on the head. I would love to blog more too. It is fun, using my English major talents, but my schedule is much like you describe above. We do what we can.

    As far as the Bysiewicz thing goes, I would never underestimate her. I think she comes out on top and is on the ticket as the Dems cadidate for A.G.. I also think she will win. Most of the folks who vote have paid absolutely zero attention to Elliot Gerstens machiations.

  5. I’m not mad at Colin at all. I totally get the point he was making. I didn’t mean to come across as so defensive. I was a little tired when I wrote the post. On Saturday, I ran 18 miles and then demoed a bathroom for 8 hours after that.

    I’m the Dustin Pedroia of the legal blogosphere. What I lack in terms of size, I make up with heart.

    I just wanted to explain to Colin that it’s unusual for lawyer/bloggers to produce multiple posts each week. Lots of lawyers start blogging and stop after about a dozen posts or so.

  6. Hey Ryan –

    Who cares what McEnroe and Green think about the frequency of your blogging. It is not your day job. Some us just blog for our own personal edification, and if anyone reads it, fine. If not, that’s fine too. Sometimes just the exercise of writing is worthwhile.

    It’s taken me awhile, but I am ever so slowly learning that I don’t always need to respond to anything and everything people might say about my work.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

  7. Ryan,

    well said. I wouldn’t pay McEnroe much attention, he’s struggling trying to piecemeal a career together. You were right to come out with the SB issue – and as it turns out she doesn’t meet the legal requirements of the job.

    Blog when you have time, and don’t worry about the guy behind the curtain.


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