Online Outlet-- Lawyer may not be a diva, but she is a legal blogger

By Mike Scott

Legal News

Andrea Moody likes to talk about her role as a diva - at least online.

Moody, a partner in the Detroit office of Bowman and Brooke, is one of the contributors of "The Legal Divas Blog," run by Moody and three of her fellow partners. Moody, the only diva blogger located in Detroit, is joined by her partners, Sandra Giannone Ezell, managing partner of the firm's Richmond, Va. office, Alana Bassin in Minneapolis, and Jill Jacobson in Richmond.

In reality, Moody is not a diva. The blog uses the catchy name as a way to draw in readers. The blog gives each of the attorneys an opportunity to write about their experiences as female lawyers, and the challenges with balancing work, family, and play. It serves as a "go-to source" for developments in gender diversity law and practice management issues for women professionals, but is not specifically about legal matters.

On the blog's Twitter description, the lawyers write that they, "blog with humor, irony and seriousness about being the second gender in the legal profession."

The content has been well received, according to Moody, not just in the legal community, but also with other female professionals. Within just two months, it had gained more than a 1,000 followers on Twitter. Now in its sixth month, the blog created by the four Bowman and Brooke lawyers appears to be gaining significant online traction.

"We view it as a way to develop a network for professional women and address the issues that would be of interest to us," said Moody, a Detroit resident who works out of the firm's Troy office, the only Bowman and Brooke office in Michigan. "All (of the blog contributors) are working moms and we're all litigators. So that presents some unique challenges in our individual quests to achieve work-life balance."

The idea of developing the blog was the brainchild of Moody's partner and fellow diva blogger, Sandra Gianonne Ezell, who envisioned the blog as a comfortable atmosphere to discuss pertinent issues. They encourage feedback from readers. And the topics go beyond being moms, litigators, and females. The bloggers can share ideas about family vacation ideas, weekend home projects, and hobbies of interest.

"It's like a discussion board and we want to include topics that we can discuss with other lawyers and professionals around the country," Moody said. "We weren't sure what to expect when we first started it, but to be honest I have been pleasantly surprised by the outreach and support from readers."

One thing Moody is not surprised about is the support she and her partners have received from Bowman and Brooke, not just in relation to the blog, but also to help all its employees achieve more balance between their work lives and family lives. It is not unusual for even her male colleagues to send her notes about topics they think may be relevant to the blog.

The blog helps Bowman and Brooke, a national litigation firm and pioneer in law firm diversity initiatives, to brand itself to a national audience with an emphasis on creating dialogue around women and the law. The writers choose dedicated to reinvigorating traditional approaches to diversity initiatives and inclusion throughout the legal community.

Although clients have responded favorably to the blog, providing positive comments about the blog's content and encouragement to continue with the posts, Moody notes that the blog is not a business development tool. Instead, she describes the blog as "a forum to discuss real issues affecting working women." Moody is hopeful that the content of the blog will serve as a resource for younger professionals.

"Ideally, we would like some (younger) female professionals to get some benefit from the blog as well because they will be faced with some of the challenges that we are discussing in building their careers while building a family."

Moody refers to the posts as a "pragmatic" approach to communicating about workplace issues." She explains that "as bloggers, my partners and I are interested in addressing and solving issues rather than complaining about challenges." She further notes that "the focus is on the positive and how to improve and simplify the life of a professional. It is not and never will be a tool to promote negativity or divisiveness."

And just as important, it is fun for Moody. In fact, she laments that she wishes she had more time to contribute to the blog.

''The Legal Divas Blog is thrilled to see that our audience is responding in such a positive and supportive way,'' said Giannone Ezell, ''Reaching 1,000 followers on Twitter, a media platform that is so widely used and respected, only emphasizes the need for a fresh and modern approach to making diversity a part of every professional office environment.

"We do hope to provide female attorneys and executives with the knowledge needed to have an impact on diversity initiatives at their firms, corporations, and with their boards," Giannone Ezell added.

Follow the Legal Divas Blog on Twitter at @TheLegalDivas - http://twitter.com/TheLegalDivas.

Published: Mon, Sep 27, 2010

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