I’ve enjoyed recent law school grad Jeremy Blachman’s ride as the Anonymous Lawyer. He’s been able to leverage an entertaining anonymous lawyer blog about life in a big New York law firm into broad news coverage and publication of a good book. But Jeremy, don’t talk about those things you know little or nothing about.

An interview by Internet Law & Strategy showcased the Anonymous lawyer’s ignorance on the marketing power of blogs. When asked “Will law firms and lawyers eventually embrace the blog as a form of advertising or a demonstration of proficiency in certain fields?”

I feel like most of the people reading legal blogs are probably other lawyers, not necessarily potential clients. I’m not sure that if I were choosing a law firm, I’d be reading blogs to figure out legal competency, as opposed to checking with past clients, or however else people choose their lawyers. I guess for really technical specialties, I can see where demonstrated understanding of the area, as expressed in a blog, could be helpful. For firms looking to recruit law students, I suppose I could imagine a blog having some value in helping a firm try and stand out from the pack, but broader than that, I’d probably need to be convinced that there’s great value in blogging.

Let’s see what the Anonymous lawyer knows about the marketing power of blogs:

  • He’s never practiced law a day in his life
  • He’s never had to market himself as a lawyer
  • He’s never had to get paying clients to meet the monthly overhead while having enough left over to pay the mortgage and feed the family
  • He’s never worked in a law firm other than as a clerk in a New York law firm
  • He has no marketing training that I know of

What does the anonymous lawyer not know about the marketing potential of blogs?

  • That a significant number of large firms in the country are experiencing marketing success from blogs. – Preston Gates, Sheppard Mullin, Davis Wright Tremaine, McGlinchey Stafford
  • That some smaller firms rely entirely on blogs and the word of mouth generated thereby to generate work. – Grant Griffiths, Phil Mann
  • That a well thought out focused blog may be the most cost effective marketing tool at a law firm’s disposal.
  • That syndicating content via RSS, done automatically by blogs, will soon be the industry standard for law firm’s distributing legal content now distributed by email and hard copy.

I practiced law for 17 years through 1999. In 1996 when I started my own firm in rural Wisconsin, I discovered the marketing potential of the Internet by necessity. I borrowed almost $400,000 to buy my files from my previous firm (associate time plus expenses). I had no money for marketing.

But I found if I published practical legal information on the Internet I got clients. Three reasons. One, people are drawn to lawyers’ on the net who publish practical legal information. That goes for consumers or business exec’s. Two, people could see that I knew something about the area of law in which they needed help. Three, as the content was written by me (indexed questions and answers), people got to know me as a person.

Blogs do all three. For that reason the correct answer to Internet Law & Strategy’s question is “Yes, law firms and lawyers will definitely embrace the blog as a form of advertising and demonstrating proficiency. In fact, they already are.”

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