Let’s Play Ball with Toronto Blawgers

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa once told the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis,

I really feel my training came from going to law school.

I’m not sure how that fits in with his DUI right before the World Series last year, but the law does touch every aspect of life, including sports.

We previously talked about how specific hockey cases have influenced the law, but baseball also has its landmarks as well.

First-year property law students inevitably hear about Popov v. Hiyashi, which has evolved into a movie on the case, “Up for Grabs,”

The documentary deeply delves into the legal battle that ensued over [Barry] Bonds’ now world-famous baseball and the two central characters, Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi. Popov claimed to have caught the ball but Hayashi was the fan that ended up with it in the frenzy. The event marked a historic achievement for Bonds, as his home run shattered the previous single-season record set by Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998.

Roger Abrams outlines in his book, Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law, other major incidents in baseball of legal interest:

  • nap lajoieThe origins of baseball – formation of the National League, the development of rules and processes
  • Contracts between players, owners, stadiums, etc., most notably the Lajoie litigation, which established the league’s control over players
  • Exemptions to anti-trust legislation established since 1922, and the Curt Flood suit in 1970 and unsuccessfully opposed his trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Collective bargaining and the emergence of the Major League Players Association, from which players and owners benefited
  • The private legal processes that control the business of baseball, including its governance system, the process of desegregation, and powers of the Commissioner
  • The end of the reserve system, and the 1975 Messersmith Arbitration case that challenged it
  • Class-action cases filled by players like Carlton Fisk, claiming owners had violated collective bargaining agreements through collusion
  • Criminal allegations against Pete Rose that he was betting on games
  • The labour wars of the 90’s

And there are many other subjects related to baseball in the law.

But none of this was the subject of discussion at the Blue Jays game last night in Toronto.

I met with Connie Crosby and Simon Chester of Slaw, as well as the editor of the Blawg Review, who is traveling the world and meeting with blawgers of interest.

Box Score: It was a helluva game, as Jays blanked Yankees 5-0.

Canadian fans taunted A-Rod, as law bloggers watched helplessly. “We should have invited a family law specialist,” noted Ed.

We had a great time, but more importantly had a wonderful conversation about various topics related to legal blogging (or blawging, the controversy rages on).

Students are often apprehensive about going online with their thoughts and doing legal blogging. But the Blawg Editor said,

It makes no sense to try to be the best at the same thing as everyone else. Find something you like that’s different and be the best at that.

Law firms are also slowly accepting the role of blogs, though it’s often limited to partners that operate unofficial sites as a communication tool with potential clients. But search engine optimization is becoming the golden grail even for law firms.

There are some interesting projects around, including some firms that are having their articling students run a blawg. And Davis LLP made a permanent impression on the blawgosphere when they opened a law office in second life.

The best part about social media is the opportunity for law students to interact and exchange with experienced practitioners in the field. And one of the major topics for the evening was how they could better assist interested students.

How do firms deal with a blogroll – do they link to their competitors’ sites and blawgs as well? Of course, because the new age of legal practice is not as much about intense and aggressive competition as it is about building and developing relationships.

We might be able to go back to meaning it when we refer to opposing counsel as, “my friend.”

The teamwork mentality that these lawyers bring to the Internet makes it that much easier for those of us starting out in the game. And when you do throw the ball my way, I’ll be sure not to drop it.

Thanks for the invite.

7 Comments on "Let’s Play Ball with Toronto Blawgers"

  1. It was great having a chance to see you again, Omar, and to talk blog shop. Great write-up of our evening!


  2. Leagal Beagal | July 13, 2008 at 3:42 am |

    Where can I get information on this “new age of legal practice?”

  3. That’s a great question.

    See Jordan Furlong’s posts on 6 new skills now required of lawyers:

    1. Collaboration skills.
    2. Emotional intelligence.
    3. Financial literacy.
    4. Project management.
    5. Technological affinity.
    6. Time management.

    In relation to 1) Jordan says,

    Lawyers who collaborate well possess the ability to identify and bring out the best others have to offer, to submerge their own positions and egos where necessary, in order to reach the optimal client outcome. Collaborative lawyers trust the wisdom of the group; lone wolves and isolationists don’t do any good anymore.

    This is a skill few new lawyers I have observed have, often due to limited work experience outside of the law. The climate in many law schools seems to foster extreme competitiveness, and reward isolationism, selfishness, and individualism. Those that do break out of this vicious cycle are sure to get ahead in the long-term.

  4. I heard Warren Kinsella on the radio last night, talking about the Garth Turner blogging scandal.

    He said something to the effect that despite the potential liability of blogs, every politician these days knows that they have to have one.

    I would say the same thing holds true for lawyers.

    If you don’t blog you don’t exist to many clients. Blogs are a great way for potential clients to get to know you before hiring your services, and a way to gain their confidence.

    Sure, there’s lots of controversy online. But who wouldn’t want a controversial lawyer? In my 22 years of experience, the best lawyers are always controversial. Those that always play a safe game tend to get shoved to the margins, or the research dungeon.

  5. ZZ:

    That’s a good point!

  6. Great point, ZZ!

    I like your sentiments on collaboration, Omar. Any use of wikis in law school?


  7. Connie,

    Costa Ragas has a law school wiki at Twist Law.

    It’s actually pretty decent, you should check it out. The focus there is on case summaries.


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