Monday, August 13, 2012
Why a Blog on Law for Writers?
The simple answer is, "I want to." But perhaps a slightly expanded answer is in order - if not for prospective readers, then for myself.
At writing conferences I've noticed three things:
1. Hostility toward lawyers as a useful profession (nothing new there).
2. Writers and prospective writers who have both legal-related questions and misconceptions about the law.
3. Agents (and others) trying to play lawyer who offer legal advice and answers to legal questions, many of which are wrong.
This led me to believe there is a need for a blog dealing with Law for Writers.
This, and the inspiration drawn from presentations by Jane Friedman, a frequent writers conference speaker & now editor of a literary magazine at the University of Virginia, gave rise to my idea to write this blog.
Speaking of me -- which I hope not to do very often -- here is just a little bit about me.
I am a lawyer for more than 30 years and a writer in one form or another since grade school. Visions of John Grisham and Scott Turow dance in my head.
As to my practice, I have seen almost every side of the legal profession. I spent 13 years in a 200+ law firm where I was a litigation partner. I spent another 13 years at a 7-person firm. Now I have my own solo practice - Terrell Law Office in Indianapolis.
I have extensive experience in civil litigation -- jury trials, federal litigation, appeals in state and federal court. I have handled numerous types of matters that impact writers, including first amendment dispute, pre-publication review, intellectual property cases, invasion of privacy matters, civil rights litigation, and access to public records. I also have extensive experience in drafting and reviewing contracts of all types.
I've represented media clients, authors, individuals and small businesses in everything from contracts, to real estate, to estate planning.
I started my career as a journalist. Over the years, most of my writing has been for professional journals and papers for seminars and legal conferences on a wide range of law-related topics. The article which received the most response was a followup to an article about depression and lawyers. It focused on one of my best friends who on a cold Montana night committed suicide.
But I also write just because, well, because I write.
My first novel, Stars Fall, a self-published legal thriller, is getting a great response on Amazon (and elsewhere). My short story "Visiting Hours" won the 2011 Manny Award for best short fiction at the 2011 Midwest Writers Workshop. I was selected as a 2011 Fellow for the Midwest Writers Workshop Retreat.
So, as I start along this blog adventure, I hope to provide useful information that will help writers of all types. I also hope to improve your image of lawyers as a useful profession. And finally, just help with my writing Jones.
We'll see how it works out.