Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Welcome to the Valley of the Real...

Had lunch with Joy and Chris yesterday, both employed at “BigLaw”. What a pleasure. We had lunch water-side in Battery Park, with a view towards the Statue of Liberty. Aside from the atrocious service (is this a Bloomberg plan to incent bad service?), it was an outstanding lunch.

We all remarked at how strange it is to meet someone whom you’ve “met” online. I’d done this before – when in college, I struck up a friendship with a retired professor at Penn State, Jerry Phillips (we met by e-mail on a political discussion list). When driving from my parents’ house in Minnesota to law school in Richmond, I stopped in Happy Valley, PA and had dinner with Jerry and his wife – less than a year before he died. Without the net, I never would have met Jerry. And though we only knew each other a couple of years, he remains someone with a profound influence on my life.

Fast forward to yesterday. Thanks to our blogs, a number of us have created a community of individuals with common interests. At a high level, we’re all interested in how law firms are evolving and using technology to remain competitive. Chris, the director of KM systems for “BigLaw”, comes at the issues from a strong technology background. Joy, a lawyer with a background in legal publishing, comes at it from another angle entirely – and “BigLaw” is terribly fortunate to have them on board. Few firms today have such strong people on both sides of the equation – and even fewer have people as articulate and committed as Joy and Chris. In the midst of an exhaustive press tour, it was thoroughly refreshing to spend an hour and change swapping stories with them.

As for our “real” identities matching our online personas, it was interesting to put faces (and voices) to words. But we weren’t “meeting” for the first time, though – in real ways, we’ve known each other for months. And that’s cool.

What the blog has done for me is to help me find others who are asking similar questions. Blogs help the answers find us. And at the end of the day, that’s got to be a win-win.

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