“Beginnings are always messy.” John Galsworthy, The Eldest Son.
That’s how you’re supposed to start these things, right? But this one’s a bit of a puzzle, because while this blog is new, the hashtag that spawned it—is that even a thing? Can hashtags generate blogs?—is not.
The #PracticeTuesday hashtag was born in November 2016. Before that, Sean and I—who, as of this blog’s launch date have yet to meet in person—were both active participants in one of the nerdiest corners of the internet: #AppellateTwitter. Like a handful of other frequent fliers in that community, we had each been posting occasional tweetstorms on topics relating to the practice of law, primarily framed as advice to young lawyers. For example, Sean posted this thread about getting oral argument opportunities as a junior associate and I wrote this one on saying no as a young attorney.
Not only were these threads generally well received, but more importantly, they prompted excellent, substantive conversations. Those conversations were especially rich in light of the broad range of practice experience within the #AppellateTwitter community, participants’ generosity in sharing their knowledge, and everyone’s eagerness to learn from each other. And then, because we’re lawyers and we like certainty, Sean and I thought: what if we could both (1) ensure that these conversations became a regular occurrence, and (2) capture their valuable content in a way that made it accessible to an even broader audience?
And so the Twitter #PracticeTuesday hashtag was born (you can read another account of its origin story here). The concept was simple: every week, one of us would post a topic related to legal writing or law practice (How do you give edits on briefs? What’s a piece of conventional wisdom about legal education or law practice that’s actually a myth?). Then, the floor was open for discussion: anyone was welcome to respond with questions, tips, best practices, war stories—anything, really. We asked only that participants in the conversation used the hashtag (#PracticeTuesday) both in order to preserve the advice in a somewhat searchable format, and also so that anyone could track the conversation, regardless of who they followed on Twitter.
And with that simple model—question, discussion, hashtag—we were off to the races. Now, you may be wondering: why Tuesday? What is the significance of that day of the week, which has now been baked into the hashtag (and by extension, this blog) for all eternity?
Okay, let me just get this off my chest now: there is no good reason. As I was reminded upon re-reading the inaugural #PracticeTuesday thread, we chose Tuesdays simply because I’m a sucker for alliteration and thought that “Twitter Tuesday”—a name which we literally have never used again—sounded fun. As the kids say, life comes at you fast.
Happily, the hashtag has been more successful than my corny attempt at a catchy name (you can read an early write-up about the #PracticeTuesday phenomenon here), and these days we have dozens of attorneys, professors, law students, and even judges regularly joining in the conversation. We’re proud to have been an important part of #AppellateTwitter in its first year, and the conversation continues every Tuesday on the Twitter machine.
And yet, as the blog’s tagline says, sometimes 140 characters—or even a dozen tweets of 140 characters each—just aren’t enough. After all, many of the #AppellateTwitter regulars are used to communicating in 13,000-word chunks. So here we are, excited about translating the #PracticeTuesday mission into a different format with a bit more breathing room.
Our plan is to use this space as an extension of #PracticeTuesday. At least once a week, we’ll post longer pieces of advice and musings on legal practice and the profession. Sometimes, it will be a longer take on the week’s Twitter #PracticeTuesday discussion. Sometimes, it will be something else entirely. And sometimes, we’ll ask friends and guests to join us and share their views. So please follow both the original hashtag on Twitter and this blog for the best of both worlds. (And while you’re at it, follow this blog’s new Twitter handle, @PracticeTuesday.)