A love letter to Google. A warning on the danger posed by a cartoon mascot called “Seemore the Safety Crab.” A tongue-in-cheek tutorial on estate planning.
If these were in Carnac the Magnificent’s envelope, he would probably not come up with the answer “topics of discussion on Ernie the Attorney’s blog.”
But whatever answer Carnac came up with, Ernie “the Attorney” Svenson would laugh, because as far as he is concerned, the law could stand to take itself a little less seriously.
“People get so caught up in the majesty of the court, they say ‘look at the tall pillars,’” says the former Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan litigator, who is now in solo practice. “People accept [laws] because they are surrounded with all these pronouncements, but eventually people will figure it out, and they won’t follow laws that don’t make sense.”
So on ernietheattorney.net, Svenson attempts to simplify the mystifying world of law for those who did not spend three long years in the law library.
“People were clamoring for a lawyer to say something about certain subjects,” Svenson says of the blog he started in 2002 after a friend introduced him to the new high-tech hobby. “I started to really get a reaction from people who had questions about the law.”
But the blog isn’t just about the law—according to its tagline, the philosophy major and Loyola Law School grad is “searching for truth and justice [in an unjust world].” Readers will find legal posts nestled between a comment about the growing ease drug companies feel when discussing their products’ side effects and a link to a Katrina-themed YouTube ditty where Svenson strums on his guitar and proclaims, “There’s no other place I’d rather be/if God’s gonna judge my company/Why leave now?/I like insanity.”
“It is such a dynamic process. You have a conversation and then form a thought,” Svenson says of his posts and interactions with readers. “It acts as an outlet.”
For his blog to work, Svenson says he can’t take it, or himself, too seriously. He enjoys the fact that he is free to post his thoughts, feelings and opinions, and that as many as 300 people care enough to read them. He likes that he makes the occasional connection with a lawyer or judge from elsewhere in the country. But he says that while people are free to post questions and comments and create discussion through the blog, he does not let others influence his content. Svenson isn’t fazed by hecklers and isn’t worried about losing potential clients. And he doesn’t feel the need to post everyday, which allows him to take a free day here or there when he is feeling uninspired or needs to temporarily relocate to Houston in the wake of a catastrophic storm. He feels his readers “figure I have been doing it so long, I will show up [eventually, even] if I don’t post for a couple of days.”
And Svenson plans to continue showing up, not just to answer the burning legal questions of his readers, but for his own indulgence.
“Blogging allows me to get my ideas out there,” Svenson says. “For certain kinds of observations there just isn’t another place.”