Why do we blog? What is it that makes us spend so much time informing an innocent unsuspecting public of our views on a myriad of random issues?
Initially I was drawn to blogging for the same reasons that Jim Faulconer and Wilfried Decco were drawn to blogging: Paparazzi. It was the lure of fame, easy money, and a chance to live it up in the fast lane that brought me into cyberspace. If only we could figure out a way of driving more traffic to Times & Seasons, I knew â€“ just knew â€“ that power, wealth, the adulation of millions would be mine for the taking.
I have to admit, however, what keeps me blogging is document review. For those uninitiated in the ways of modern litigation, document review is the legal equivalent of pulling weeds or scrubbing the gym floor with a tooth brush or grading freshman English papers. You get the picture. Imagine a conference room with nice chairs, a big table, and perhaps a tasteful credenza. Now imagine that the table, chairs, credenza, and floor are stacked with endless boxes filled with documents: hundreds of thousands of pages of other peopleâ€™s email, millions of pages of draft contracts, billions and billions and billions of pages of PowerPoint presentations. (Carl Sagan actually worked as a paralegal before making hokey educational shows for PBS.) Your job as a junior attorney is to â€œreviewâ€? these documents.
It is important to understand, however, that â€œreviewing documentsâ€? is not actually as glamorous as I have made it sound. For example, imagine that you are doing a privilege review. What this means is that your client, in response to a request by the opposing party, has just copied every scrap of paper that it produced between 1995 and 2000. This has been hauled in by the truck load into the offices of your firm. Before these documents are given to the other side, however, you have to make sure that none of them are covered by the attorney-client privilege. This is important. If you inadvertently give opposing counsel a bunch of privileged documents not only will they know your clientâ€™s darkest secrets â€“ like, for example, the fact that the in-house lawyers told the outside lawyers that they too thought that the judge was a fathead â€“ but you will have been deemed to waived the privilege and opposing party will get to read all of the memos in which your clientâ€™s lawyers told it that the law did in fact allow it to squish ACME Corp. like the puss-filled zit that it is.
So you have to make sure that you donâ€™t give out any privileged documents. This means that every single document must be examined by a highly trained lawyer. This attorney will then be called upon to make a subtle judgement call about whether or not the email in question really is privileged. The answer to this question will depend on a deep understanding of the law and a careful and painstaking analysis of all of the facts bearing on this judgement. Generally speaking this analysis will consist of determining whether one of the names in the â€œTo:â€? line of the email belongs to a lawyer. In other words, it is the kind of work that trained monkeys or exceptionally gifted tree squirrels could perform quite nicely. For this you wade through three years of intensive education in the intricacies constitutional law and jurisprudential theorizing while mortgaging your childrenâ€™s childrenâ€™s future to the student loan gods.
And this is where blogging comes in. It provides a little window of hope and solace as you wade through yet another draft SEC filing that is not privileged because while it is addressed to outside counsel, your client also cc-ed it to their investment bankers, who are not, alas for them, lawyers. You put the document down, and think, now I get a little reward. I can check Times & Seasons and see if Adam and Kristine have gotten into another spitting match.
All I can say at this point is, â€œThanks guys.â€? It has been one of those days.