Well it finally happened. An enterprising (and persistent) law student bagged an interview with yours truly. It occurred through some chat-app, and the downloading and instillation of the contraption took longer than the interview. The interview is edited by Rumpole, for brevity and clarity. The student approved the final version.
Q: How did this all begin?
A: When I started there were several stories about legal blogs. I recall a scandal about a blog called "beneath their robes" and I read the story. And Markus had his blog up and running, so I thought "why not"? About a month later I was at a holiday party populated by judges and lawyers, and it was the number one topic of conversation. It was only then I realized I was on to something.
Q: And the Ayn Rand connection?
A: Like many Objectivists, I was exposed to her as a teenager with The Fountainhead. And then Atlas Shrugged. It went on from there.
Q: Did you meet her?
Q: Were you part of the collective?
A: Next question. (Rumpole's note- "the collective" was a close knit group of fans that Ms. Rand met with for hours at a time. They adopted the name "the collective" as an ironic nomenclature that obviously clashed with Ms. Rand's anti-collective philosophy.)
Q: Describe her-
A: Brilliant. Deeply flawed. Profoundly unhappy at times. Like many geniuses probably bi-polar.
Q: Are all of your accounts of your exploits true?
A: Mostly, but I take some literary license. I do try a lot of cases and I am proud of that. It's becoming a lost art and I am proud of the Miami defense bar. We are one of the most active trial bars in the country. I do volunteer work for various legal organizations and at times I have to disguise the results because they are often reported in the media and I cannot associate myself with those successes.
Q: Republican or Democrat?
A: You're an aspiring lawyer of few words. I like that. It will change once you start billing by the hour. (Rumpole notes- I otherwise did not answer this question).
Q: Do you really dislike judges?
A: As a whole, no. But some are as bad as I portray, some worse, many better. In the last decade I see a lot of judges taking the bench with a true desire to work hard and do justice. When I first started, that was the exception instead of the rule. Back then it was a bunch of lazy, old white men. Of course there were exceptions. Judge Cowart in Miami state court leads that pack. He was brilliant. And Tom Scott was one of the hardest working judges on the bench. Janet Reno once said he tried more cases in a year than any other judge she had seen.
Q: Deepest regret as a blogger:
A: Some unwarranted personal attacks, or ridicule is a better word, that I engaged in. I have gone back and for the most part erased those posts. What I did not realize was that the popularity of the blog would make the mention of any name jump to the top of any google search. I began to realize I could affect the reputation of someone and that made blogging a hundred times harder. People send in comments all the time- "Mr/Ms/Judge X is having an affair with Y." Or "Lawyer Z stole my money and did a horrible job in a case". And many times it is true. But I cannot post that. To what end? It would destroy those people's lives and I cannot let this endeavor turn into a weapon of destruction.
And reporting the untimely death of a judge and friend, who had suddenly taken ill, before he passed away. I reported he died, and a family member immediately emailed me he was still alive. I nearly quit blogging that day. It was lesson I will never forget.
Q: Biggest surprise?
A: Two. First, that the blog became popular. It has been cited in trial court and appellate court opinions. And of course the Herald, which we love to scoop, from time to time will acknowledge our existence. Second- that it became a meeting place of the Miami Legal community to mourn the passing of one of our own. We have received many heartfelt emails from the family members of people we have memorialized. That is very satisfying.
Q: How long can you go on?
A: I do not know. I'm closer to the end of my legal career than the beginning. I've turned down opportunities that would have taken me elsewhere and prevented me from blogging. The closest I came was a opportunity that would have involved work out of state and out of the US. But at some point it's going to happen. And I have no plans for how to proceed. There are literally thousands of pages of work I have created. I am very proud and protective of it.
Q: And the last question...WHO ARE YOU?
A: I believe the correct terminology is "LOL"?
Q: OK, one follow up. Will you ever reveal your identity?
A: Like the endgame, I have not really considered it. But I admit from time to time I do think about the last post, and probably signing my real name at the bottom of it. But don't hold your breath.
Edited by Rumpole for brevity and clarity. Approved by the interlocutor.
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