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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
PowerBlog Review: George's Employment Blog

Editor's note: Welcome to the fifty-eighth in our weekly PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs.

George's Employment Blog covers employment law and human resources. The blog is written by George Lenard, an attorney from St. Louis, Missouri, and Michael Harris, a Human Resources professor and consultant, also from St. Louis.

Michael has written an account of how the two met over coffee, got to know one another and then started to blog together. It's also a good article about the benefits of blogging.

This blog manages to stay focused on a niche, yet covers a wide range of employment-related issues that appeal to both lawyers and non-lawyers alike. George is experienced in writing for non-lawyers, as he also writes a column for the Hiring Center on Monster.com.

I love the way this blog lets the personalities of the writers shine through. The tone is conversational. It often has humor interspersed.

The blog is not above the occasional civilized rant, either, as in this post where George takes on a very legal institution -- class action lawsuits -- and undresses them down to their skivvies:

"OK, this blawg is my place to speak my piece (and Michael his), so once in a while I can rant a bit about things I hate.

I'm not opposed to the very idea of class actions, and will even concede they theoretically can serve a socially useful function.

But how they work in practice stinks for a number of reasons. One of which we'll cover today." (You'll need to read the blog to understand what George hates about class action lawsuits.)
George says that he uses blogs for professional networking, for marketing, and for personal satisfaction. You get the sense that this blog is very much a creative outlet. Attorneys frequently are described as not being creative. I'm always puzzled when I hear that because some of the most creative people I know are attorneys.

Not only that, but I believe that the law blogs or "blawgs" are some of the most interesting blogs out there. They tend to be stimulating, broad-ranging and entertaining. So I asked George to explain this great mystery of life: why do so many lawyers blog, as compared with, say, accountants or doctors? Here is what George had to say:
"Come on Anita, isn't it obvious? We are just so much smarter and more interesting. Seriously, many of us like to write and enjoy the freedom of writing whatever we want instead of what has to be written for our clients. Also, I wonder if many of us aren't more concerned with the need to develop independent professional identities. I suspect most of the blogging lawyers do not work for large firms, but are in situations where they are very conscious of the need to market themselves."
In this comment George points out a nugget that I believe to be true: the biggest benefit from publishing a blog comes to small businesses and firms. Smaller firms have the most to gain from the marketing boost that blogs can bring. And they are usually unencumbered by bureaucracy and restrictions. They are freer to pursue their vision of what the blog can become.

When he is not blogging from his office, George blogs from a laptop on his kitchen table or a wireless-enabled coffeeshop.

The Power: The Power of George's Employment Blog is its superb treatment of a niche subject -- employment law and HR -- and its creativity.
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