A wee request

By skepticlawyer

In the last six months or so, we’ve received a number of requests to publish guest posts on this blog from people who are strangers to us. At first, I assumed the messages were spam, and just ignored them. However, over the last couple of months the volume has increased considerably and it’s become clear to me that people are looking to blogs (including this one) in order to get a start on a freelance writing career. I should add that the requests have always been courteous and, of late, completely unspammy. A couple of the ideas have even looked interesting.

Which means that we have now put a submissions policy in place. Here goes:

1. The best evidence we have of your writing ability is your writing. The people who write guest posts for us now started as commenters, showing that they had the ability to write well in the comments. If you wish to write a piece for this blog, please turn up in the discussion threads before you submit anything so that we can get an idea of whether you can write or not.

2. Be aware that we don’t (as a general rule) pay our guest posters. We will pay for pieces that we commission, but that is a very rare occurrence. We also tend to commission pieces from our commenters, too – so see (1) above.

3. This is primarily a legal blog. Both of the main writers are lawyers and one is widely published (including a forthcoming law textbook) on various legal topics. The other lawyer also writes fiction and has published widely in that field, but posts very little of her fiction on the blog. If you participate in the comments and then produce well-written legal commentary, we are likely to pay closer attention to your work.

4. This doesn’t mean that we won’t look at other material. One of the reasons we run this blog the way we do is so that we can write on pretty much anything that takes our fancy. If you explore the categories on the sidebar, you’ll see what I mean.

5. This blog doesn’t have an earth-shatteringly large audience — it averages between 5,000 and 10,000 unique visitors a week. We have had the experience — when one or the other of us addressed a controversial topic, and/or appeared on television at the same time as publishing a post — of the number of unique viewers shooting up over 40,000. This was very unpleasant for us, taking up a great deal of our time (three of us have full-time jobs, one of us is disabled). It made us all swear on a stack of Bibles that we would never court controversy for its own sake. While we take pride in the quality of the writing on this blog, those who want to write guest posts for us need to be aware that we are the bloggy equivalent of a ‘little magazine‘.

6. We run this blog as a hobby that occasionally realises some income. We enjoy writing here (and would stop instantly if we didn’t enjoy writing here), but it is very much a non-commercial enterprise. This means that other things may take priority over reading your submission. Please bear with us; we are not being rude.

Your writing suggestions are, of course, welcome in the comments to this post. Indeed, this post would be a good place for you to delurk.


  1. Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    It is, of course, a massive and well-deserved compliment 🙂

  2. Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    LE you often say that you find Tony Abbot distateful. I have never understood why. Could you write a post sometime that explains some of the reasons for this?

  3. Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I’d really like to get peer review from actual lawyers about the concept of “legal sex”.

    For example, the Trump organisation have said

    “The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant after all, provided that she meet the legal requirements for being a woman in Canada.”

    Actually it’s more difficult than that:

    Transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova, who was kicked out of the Miss Universe Canada competition last month, will be allowed to compete after all, the organization announced Monday — if she can prove she meets Canadian “legal gender recognition requirements” and the standards of other international competitions.

    Rules for the Miss U.S. International competition, for example, state an entrant must be a “naturally born genetic female.”

    The brief statement issued by the Miss Universe organization did not elaborate on what the requirements entail.


    You see, there’s cases like this one:

    A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

    — J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9

    These make the concept of “genetic male” problematic, to say the least.

    This has distinct legal implications, as do other cases where laws haven’t caught up with science.

  4. Posted April 4, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Yours is a blog I often read but rarely comment on, which is unusual for me. Mostly I’m silent here because I do not feel equipped to offer a worthwhile comment on so many of your wonderful posts. Nor am I legally inclined. However, I thought to comment here now because of your ‘wee request’ and the thought that bloggers ought to leave their calling card when they visit if they can and I do not like the idea of being a lurker. Thanks for your wonderful work.

  5. Posted April 4, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Thanks Elisabeth — and you’re very welcome 🙂

  6. kvd
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Regarding Mr Abbott, I think it will be interesting to watch the new Queensland conservative Premier over the next little while, as maybe some sort of guide to how Mr Abbott may initially perform. I am not saying the two men are similar other than in their basic politics, and the potential to lead governments of largely uncontested power.

    There seems to me more similarity (stylewise) between those two as opposed to, say, comparing Unsworth in NSW and Mr Abbott nationally.

    All that aside, he (Abbott) doesn’t ring any bells for me either.

  7. kvd
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Good God, I wrote Unsworth instead of O’Farrell. Now there’s a telling mental glitch. Anyway, this gives me the chance to add that O’F seems more in the mold of PM Howard.

  8. Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Here’s one for lawyers to sink their teeth into:

  9. Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Newman always struck me as more committed to smaller, less interventionist government. A good half of his party, however, is not so committed, being big government conservatives of the most unrepentant sort.

    There is a real danger that the LNP ‘blend’ could turn out not to be a racing part-thoroughbred but a camel, which would be rather awkward. Bloody uncomfortable ride, for a start.

  10. Patrick
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Dunno, camels might not be such a bad model for government. At least they bloody work!

  11. Posted April 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Camels also bite, go the distance and don’t care what others think of them.

  12. kvd
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    At least they bloody work!

    Thereby elevating political marriages to the level of clothes pegs, composting toilets, and reconditioned 1964 Mitsubishi Colts.

    But I do understand they are good at surviving, no matter what is thrown at them – so perhaps you’re right.

  13. Posted April 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Gee golly gosh! We’d all love to write a guest post. But about what?
    My knowledge of legal matters boils down to a stern belief that 50% of lawyers should be killed off (the best part being that it really wouldn’t matter which half went for the high jump).
    My experience with the law is nothing more than as a client of law firms. Which has taught me that there is:
    (a) plenty of ego in the industry,
    (b) a undeserved high opinion of their own mental prowess in matters non-legal
    (c) limited to no sense of economics – a consequence of somebody else always footing the bill for everything
    (d) ethics are something observed more in the breach than in fact
    (e) self-respect (from a job well done) is a somewhat alien concept
    (f) the more they advise you that “this is a cerebral legal matter, don’t take it personally”, the more personal they take it when it is they involved in a dispute or litigation (heh, heh, heh – hypocrites)
    (g) truth, honesty & decency are considered signs of weakness

    Hmm, upon reflection perhaps the cull should be raised to 75%

  14. kvd
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Steve, your points:

    a) yes – but you find that distinctive?
    b) agree – they can’t quickly estimate how much to water the beer for sh*t
    c) you’re dealing with employed lawyers? Speak with a partner in the firm. And guard your wallet.
    d) bullsh*t
    e) wtf
    f) any lawyer worth their fee should proceed on the basis that the law is impersonal. You want unqualified admiration, buy a mirror. You want a fighter, hope they take it personally.
    g) by who?

  15. Posted April 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Steve, I was thinking of asking you for a guest post on all matters accordion-ish, but never mind…

  16. Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    KVD, my opinions are carefully considered. There is a reason 35th law firms are called “sharks”.
    I’d be surprised if anybody commenting here has more experience as a client of large partnerships than do I. Very surprised.

    Skepti, my knowledge of accordions barely extends to spelling the word. I’d be the world’s worst for that……

  17. Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking of your contributions on this thread:


    Which impressed me 🙂

  18. Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I knew to what you were referring. I was trying in advance to wriggle out of any obligation you may lump onto me, hehe.

    I did write, elsewhere on the net, more than 100 chapters on the evils of large law firms. In it I did my best to issue all partners with (well deserved) pitchforks & horns, etc. It was all brought on by me nearly flattening the managing partner of a Brisbane CBD firm. I got talked out of it, and as an outlet started writing about what a low-down mongrel he was, as was the firm in general. Actually I picked on plenty of the partners.

    Some of the juniors in the firm were rather impressed at the accuracy with which I (a former client & very much outsider) managed to portray the dynamics of the firm and the aptness of the code names I gave to each of the actors. I must have written in a manner that appealed to someone, as there have been a lot of readers. A lot. Especially from the USA.

    But it more deals with incompetence, unprofessionalism, cowardice, and unethical conduct, rather than addresses any matters actually, you know, legal.

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