Ten Years A Scribbler

I just spent a long weekend out of town and away from a keyboard. One of my tasks was to look through the 500 or so columns I have written for the Connecticut Law Tribune in the past decade with an eye toward selecting 100 or so to propose to a publisher a volume of collected essays. The experience was so unnerving, it made me reluctant to resume blogging.

In August 2000, I got a call from an editor of the Connecticut Law Tribune. Did I want to write a column on the law for the paper? It sounded fun, so I called the publisher, Vince Valvo. The deal was struck, and I became a weekly columnist. I've missed hardly a week, save for a period of several months in the summer of 2008, when I thought I'd throw in the towel.

The column has won me friends and made fresh enemies for me. On the enemies side, for a time, the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut. That august body cancelled its subscription to the paper early in my career in response to columns written by another columnist, and, I hope, me. Subscriptions have since resumed, and I count a number of judges as regular readers: I know this because when I quit writing I had several calls and private notes from judges urging me to resume writing. If folks were really reading, I decided to keep writing.

Among the friends: Mike Cernovich, over at Crime and Federalism. He's the fellow that got me into blogging, an enterprise about which I am still ambivalent, even after five years of intermittent scribble.

Perhaps the most damning sort of flattery to come my way as a result of the column was a muswical piece written by Dan Klau, a lawyer and musician. Sung to the tune of the old television show "Green Acres," his song celebrates the fact that I live to speak my mind. My columns, he noted, are rarely kind, and I know no shame. I once attended an awards dinner where the song was sung. It was odd, to say the least. The song actually appears on a CD that is for sale, somewhere.

But looking back on the columns made me cringe. It is so much easier to be a critic than a builder of something of enduring value. In the course of ten years, I cast enough stones to fill a coliseum. Rarely did I give thanks or express gratitude. Reviewing the decade was not, I repeat, a source of contentment. It made me realize that the note of discord is sometimes too shrill. My ears were ringing after the review.

I draw no larger lesson from this. I simply report it and recognize the need for new notes. And I wonder whether I am capable of learning to sing in a different key.
Comments (1)
Posted on April 8, 2010 at 5:00 am by Max Kennerly
In science, there are no facts, only theories that...
In science, there are no facts, only theories that have withstood all attempts at falsification.

In justice, a trial without an adversary is by definition unfair.

Why adopt special pleading for public affairs?
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

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