Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blogging Lawyers Are Still Pretty Rare

Earlier this week, law marketing guru Larry Bodine pointed out that only about 10% of lawyers have blogs. Seeing that figure startled me. I read lots of legal blogs, so I had always been thinking a greater number of my colleagues had joined the blogosphere. Not so, says Larry.

He offers 7 compelling reasons to start a professional blog. I like his reasons and they offer me a reason to continue blogging. Additionally, knowing that, oh, about 90% of about 1 million lawyers in the USA do not currently blog, tells me that there is a large, and still untapped, market for consulting services to develop blawgs. As I said a couple of days ago, I love this Internet!

The Best Laid Plans O' Mice and Men

Hah! Foolish humans. They think they can plan stuff and actually make it happen. Don't they realize that various circumstances can quickly conspire to confound even their best efforts?

That's what happened to me on Thursday. I had planned--and hoped--to attend the free continuing legal education webinar, but a meeting I had ran longer than expected, so I missed the program.

Thanks to Peter Olson's blog, Solo in Chicago, I have found additional information about reasonably priced MCLE programs, such as MentorCLE. Obviously, cost is but one consideration in selecting CLE programs to attend, but since I am a solo lawyer, it's an important factor in my decision. I'd love to fly to New York or Los Angeles and spend two or three days soaking up all the latest developments in my areas of practice but that's not quite as feasible now as it was, say, in 2000. Nevertheless, I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate in the online programs because they really are convenient. On the other hand, the networking opportunities as great as the programs you attend live, but hey, these days we have blogs and MySpace and Facebook and LinkedIn for networking, right? Right?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Going to a CLE Program this Afternoon... the comfort and convenience of my own home. I love this Internet!

Thanks to colleague, fellow Chicagoan, and fellow home office lawyer, Peter Olson, who mentioned this Web-based CLE program recently on his excellent blog, Solo in Chicago.

This webinar looks to be a really good program. While I don't currently have a trial practice, or any significant litigation practice* for that matter, I find it useful to stay as up to date as I can on trial issues, evidence, and court rules for at least three reasons.

First, you never know when I might get back into it, either as a decision to restructure my practice a bit or to work on a particular case that's especially interesting or where I can put my skills or passion to good use.

Second, while I concentrate my practice and writing primarily on Internet and e-commerce law for small businesses, it is important to stay reasonably connected to the areas of law that may affect my clients. Among other things, I need to be able to anticipate how various information might be used as evidence and counsel clients appropriately.

Third, since this particular CLE course deals with matters of ethics and professionalism, and particularly the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, I believe that one can never study ethics and professional rules too much. The integrity of our profession, our service to our clients and to the public who has placed its trust in us, and our own ability to pursue happy and meaningful lives in the law depend on maintaining solid ethical foundations and buttressing them with continuing education.

I look forward to attending this program this afternoon. It's cold outside, but as I said, I needn't leave my comfortable home office to participate in it. Of course, just after the program ends, I'll need to attend a meeting at Northwestern University Hospital that is not available online, but I digress...

Thanks, Peter, for the heads-up about this!

* Several years ago, about 90% of my law practice was litigation. It was a blast, a rush, and I enjoy being in court and crafting, refining, and presenting legal argument on behalf of clients. However, I also went four years in a row with no vacation.

Freezing Out There

I did roadwork and shadowboxing the last two days and it has been really cold! Yikes. 30 minutes on Tuesday and 16 minutes yesterday. I've been doing it on the street because the pavement is free of ice. The sidewalks are mostly free of ice, but at the end of each block, there is always a patch of ice, often black ice, that threatens to have me looking at the [street] lights, so staying on the pavement is easier and safer.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Some Thoughts About "Charging"

Recently, I was talking with a friend about boxing styles and technique. He commented on the tendency of some shorter boxers to "charge in" on their taller opponents head first, without even bothering to use their jabs or other punches. Since I frequently have to move inside on a taller opponent, here are some of my thoughts about "charging."

I use my jab a lot, all the time. I need to get inside and punch--that is very often a key component of my offense--but I have found that using the jab is the best and safest way to do that. Jab low. Jab high. Fake low and then jab high (nice to add a quick left hook after that one, if possible). Or throw repeated jabs at him while I'm working to cut off the ring.

I know what my friend meant about the shorter guys who charge a taller boxer head first. Some guys can pull it off, but to me charging seems like a recipe for disaster. For one thing, if you just charge in, you give up an opportunity to score with the punches that help you get inside. In amateurs, especially, that can really put you at a disadvantage since those bouts rely so heavily on points scored, and don't give you any extra credit for a hard punch unless you knock the guy out or really clock him hard enough to get the referee to stop the match. For another thing, not using the jab throws away the "built in" defense (as well as distraction) that you have when throwing the jab. You're a much easier target to hit.

That second point can compound yet another problem that happens when you charge: getting off balance. I can't recall seeing any boxer looking well balanced when he was charging his opponent. I have seen lots of instances where the charging boxer ends up in the ropes as his opponent quickly (and rather easily) steps to the side, or where the charger finds himself in a very awkward position at an angle where he can't punch, but can probably be hit pretty well.

Finally, if the other problems aren't enough, the risks of getting clobbered while charging are just too great to make doing it worthwhile. I have spent quite a few rounds in the gym practicing for dealing with chargers when my coaches thought I would be facing one. Charging can definitely be very intimidating when you are first starting out, but if you practice drills against it, charging seems like one of the most beatable approaches out there.

The boxer who is charging is in full view of his opponent; the boxer being charged can see everything the charger is doing and he's probably in a great position to launch his own attack with both hands. Think about it. If you're the taller boxer/puncher and if I try to charge you, when I end up at the edge of your "blasting range" (my friend's term), are you going to just wait for me to finish the charge, in effect saying, "Hey, come on in; it's all yours!"? I don't think so!!!

I think I learned to box pretty much the same way my friend did--placing a lot of emphasis on developing a good jab--so the jab is an essential element of my strategy. In addition to lots of rounds of using the jab on the heavy bag, I can remember countless more rounds of jabbing while stepping forward, jabbing forward and then moving one step back, jabbing while moving laterally to left and right, jabbing while circling, and so on. Heck, I still do those kinds of drills fairly often. I've been blessed to have coaches over the years who always emphasized the importance of the basics. I figure you can never really practice them too much. The basic punches, moves, defenses, and counters are the foundation of the sport.

Even after working on some new, "fancier" technique, I might still have to resort to the basics like a good left jab and hard right cross if I can't pull off the fancy-schmancy stuff for whatever reason. I had one bout against a taller guy who was about my level of skill and a hard hitter. I was ready for him. Man, I had been practicing quick hooks to the ribs and head, uppercuts for being in close, and so on: all the textbook technique. During the first round, I was faking a hook to the head, going for a hook to the body, and so on. The problem was that it wasn't working. The guy had kind of an unusual stance, plus he moved at some strange angles that made him hard to hit. Even worse was the fact that he was hitting me, a lot.

I was really frustrated after the first round. Back in the corner, my coach gave me some of the very best between-rounds help I've ever gotten. He said, "Steve, forget about all that fancy stuff. If you couldn't do it with this guy in the first round, it's not going to happen. Use your double-jab and right hand to get inside and then pound the guy with everything you've got."

I followed his suggestion and it worked great. The irony is that it was the basics, the Boxing 101 stuff, that let me get inside and start working the speedier combinations I had been practicing. The other boxer was a very tough opponent and brought out the best in me. It just so happens that the best was the elementary boxing skills. I love this game! Smile

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday Roadwork and Shadowboxing

1 hour today. It's like a swamp out there as the rain falls and the snow melts.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Thursday's Training

It warmed up a bit and I was able to break free from work. I managed to get in 43 minutes of roadwork and shadowboxing. Still, I need the sport-specific training. To the gym, I must go!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Staying Positive in the Winter

Training has been sporadic for the last week or so. A combination of snow, work, and a lot of sinus congestion and sinus headache has slowed things down a bit. Nevertheless, I am remaining optimistic. I'm doing some mental training (affirmations and visualization) and working to maintain an optimistic attitude. Very soon, I'll be back to training at full speed. I hope you're all doing well!