Monday, June 27, 2011
With the Scam Blogging movement, a small set of underemployed or unemployed attorneys—not the type of lawyers who would normally be listened to with respect to ideas for reforming an aspect of the profession—harness the power of the Internet to argue for changes in the way that law schools market themselves. As the legal community has seen, the Scam Blogger movement has unleashed several Internet cultural phenomena into the legal profession: viral Internet memes, emergent communities, and the use of shaming and griping techniques, sometimes vulgar and insulting, as a norm enforcement mechanism. However, the legal profession should not dismiss alternative lawyer voices coming out of the blogosphere because, despite a subversive approach to rhetoric and argument, these lawyers are contributing valuable ideas about specific problems facing the profession. Moreover, there is an important community function at work: providing some attorneys, operating at the margins of the profession, a community space for fellowship and exchange. In the interest of enriching attorneys’ professional identity, the legal profession should embrace the participatory culture of the Internet and the emergence of new legal communities and the alternative viewpoints they bring.