February 16, 2014

Striking Out and Sallying Forth

Just what the world wasn't waiting for: a new blog. So why do it? After all, I was posting semi-regularly my firm's website (here, if you're interested), and my partner gave me pretty much free rein to write what I wanted. We linked the posts to our Facebook page and received a pretty favorable response. But the more I wrote, the clearer it became that there was a fundamental difference between writing about our firm, and events that directly related to our clients and our business, and talking generally about my opinions on the law, courts, politics, and society. It was perfectly reasonable to talk about the former on our site, but less so the latter. So we will continue to blog on our website about firm matters, and often link those posts to stuff I write here (and that my partner may choose to write about as well).  But my personal thoughts, ideas, etc., on more tangential, or completely irrelevant, issues will appear here. To allow room for responses and discussion, to spare my partner the embarrassment of seeing the posts under his name, and to give me a little more latitude. I hope some of you find it useful, interesting, or worth reading.

James Neville and I opened our firm, Lumer & Neville, on September 1, 2013. Jim is, by trade, a federal criminal defense attorney who is at his happiest trying civil and criminal cases. He is fluent in Spanish (and I mean actually fluent), cares deeply about his clients, and has been practicing law for nearly 30 years. I met Jim nearly 20 years ago and am glad to call him a friend.

As for me, my formal website bio is here.  But, in the interest of completeness, I should add a few things. First, I come from a family of proud left-wingers (and I don't mean liberals). And so, when I entered law school, I assumed that it would lead me to politically meaningful work. It didn't. But eventually, I found myself handling Section 1983 cases, civil rights cases primarily involving police misconduct, such as false arrests, malicious prosecutions, police brutality. The cases were challenging and fun, I enjoyed the clients, and it turned out that I was pretty good at it.

When we opened the firm, a good friend of mine (who wants no attribution, but I'm working on him), helped set up our website and told me that we had to blog if we wanted our site to show up on Google or Bing. Blogging, he told me, would help our SEO efforts. But what to blog about? A Findlaw representative happily promised that her company would write our blog posts for us, we wouldn't have to lift a finger. I have to admit here that I'm a bit of a snob, and was not about to hand over blogging responsibilities to a bunch of strangers, who were already writing the same posts for our competitors.  So I started looking at news stories, other blogs, etc., and wrote about events that I thought I could tie back to our firm or our areas of practice.  As my horizon expanded, the need for a separate blog site became more apparent.

The blog is named Fourth and Fourteenth after their corresponding constitutional amendments. I expect to write about civil rights issues and their intersection with criminal law. This will necessarily take us into discussions of race, politics, and the practice of law. I am looking forward to your feedback and contributions, particularly those of you that disagree with me.

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