Dan Hull and Brian Tannebaum have already paid personal and professional tribute to Scott Greenfield: the man, the lawyer, the curmudgeon, the husband, the father, the friend. Many on Twitter have expressed their 140-character long wishes and condolences.
I have never met Scott, as the interwebz hipsters say, “IRL”. Yet, I have had the distinct privilege of getting to know him as a lawyer and as a blawger in the past few years. We have talked over the phone and exchanged emails regularly. I have often burdened Scott with practice-related questions. Not once has Scott given me short shrift. Even as I approach 20 years of legal practice, he remains one of my very few trusted mentors.
Scott and I acquainted on Twitter, of all places, back in 2009. For his own inscrutable reasons, Scott chose to add me as one of his “friends”. This means nothing to many who only see Twitter as a means to an end.
Over time, we have shared some jokes and ideas, but mostly I gained from Scott a deeper and more abiding respect for the nobility of the legal profession. Candidly, if I had met Scott as a new lawyer, I would have chosen to become a criminal defence lawyer instead. The depth and breadth of his passion (used in the traditional, not social media, sense) and respect for the Rule of Law, even when the legal profession and the judiciary lose sight of the meaning of “Simple Justice”, resonated with me on a fundamentally personal level.
As I recently said on the Twitter: “I lament @ScottGreenfield’s decision to shutter Simple Justice. I do not need to know his reason for his doing so.”
I previously paid tribute to Scott in a post, which is reproduced below:
A Tribute to one of the Four Horsemen: Scott Greenfield and His Simple Justice Blawg
The White Horse
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the seven living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on Conquest.” —Revelation 6:1-2
This is a short tribute to Scott Greenfield, the author of the widely acclaimed Simple Justice blawg and one of the Four Horsemen of the Blawgosphere.
I began blawging last August and first became “virtually” acquainted with Scott Greenfield, along with Mark W. Bennett (Defending Peopleand Social Media Tyro), Brian Tannebaum (Criminal Defense Blog andMy Law License) and Brian Cuban (The Cuban Revolution) by following each of them on Twitter and their blawgs. I take credit in dubbing them “The Four Horsemen”: they are the harbingers of the decline of the legal profession in the wake of the social media hyperbole that permeates the internet with an odoriferous ,sickly-sweet smell of brimstone and treacle.
While each is fiercely individualistic, they all share a common trait: a fierce dedication to exposing hypocrisy, injustice and tyranny—whether it is committed by the government, the legal profession or individual lawyers or what I call “fauxyers” (those who are suspended, disbarred, unemployed or non-practising). While our perspectives, practices and philosophies differ, we shared an antipathy towards self-anointed legal ethicists, cyberpaths and social media svengalis; none of whom deserve mention, even in passing.
This post is a modest expression of collegiality in response to Scott’s recent post entitled: Simple Justice: Simple Justice: Through The Eyes of Scott Greenfield.
Like many others (most recently Eric Turkewitz over at New York Personal Injury Law Blog), I admire Scott’s unique ability to write cogently and succinctly about a wide range of legal and societal issues. How Scott is able to sustain the prodigious output of quality legal analysis remains a mystery; but self-discipline is not preternatural, it is a skill that is learned, yet cannot be taught.
Just as the White Horse represents righteousness, so does Scott’s Simple Justice blawg. Scott, as he notes, writes for himself. We are the beneficiaries of his selfishness. Most of Scott’s posts are devoted to timely, incisive analysis on substantive criminal law issues, much like the Law & Order slogan of “stories ripped from the headlines”. Yet, Scott does not fictionalize, sanitize or trivialize. His Simple Justice blawg is the embodiment of a Manichean conflict of the good versus the mediocre; a pitched battle against spammers, trolls, social media gurus, and the Slackoisie—all of whom share a common pathology: a narcissistic sense of self-entitlement. Well enough that the White Horse also signifies pestilence or plague, and it is Scott whose infectious writing is a panacea to all the phony baloney wanna-be unemployed legal marketing experts.
Keep fighting the good fight, Scott. I continue to try to scale the vertiginous heights with the hope that someday I will stand aloft on the shoulders of a blawging giant.
Wherever and whenever you end up writing again, Scott, I will be among the first to read and benefit from your insights. While this may be the end of Simple Justice, it is a surely the beginning of even greater things.
And now…a musical interlude as the curtain closes….