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Branding of large law firm blogs : Law firm vs. individual lawyer

The branding of large law firm blogs can go in various directions depending on the goals of the party – law firm or lawyer(s) – publishing the blog. Although there are gray areas, here is a way to divide the scenarios.

Clear law firm brand

  • The title of blog will be a niche area of the law and possibly locale.
  • Clearly branded with the law firm’s logo with a strong published by ‘name of firm’ look.
  • May say it’s published by a practice area or practice group if enhancing the reputation of a practice group is the goal.
  • The design will complement, not necessarily match, the firms other collateral, with colors, feel et al.
  • Copyrighted in firm’s name.
  • The individual lawyers posting content will have their name displayed (with a link to the lawyer bio on the firm website) where individual blog posts say “posted by…”
  • The law firm, practice area, or lawyer author(s) will be detailed in the ‘about’ section of the blog .
  • Contact section of blog will provide contact info for the law firm or designated lawyers of the firm.

Such a blog is generally spearheaded by the law firm’s marketing department or a lawyer with the assistance of the marketing department.

Lawyer leveraging association with law firm

Some lawyers will want to do their own blog. Generally it’s for a couple reasons. One, to develop a portable book of business so the lawyer is protected if the lawyer leaves the firm, by their choice or otherwise. Two, some lawyers are pioneering blogs in their firm. Rather than waiting for the firm to develop their blog marketing program, the lawyer just gets the blessing of the firm. It’s not unusual for the lawyer to pay for such a blog on their own.

  • The title of blog will be a niche area of the law and possibly locale.
  • The blog will say it is published by the lawyer of ‘…… law firm.’ This gets the lawyer beyond the ‘practicing out the basement’ feel. The fact they’re part large law firm should be leveraged.
  • The logo of the firm may or may not be included – same with the firm’s colors and branding.
  • The logo and firm’s branding, if used, will be given less emphasis than in first scenario.
  • The copyright will usually be in the lawyer’s name.

Lawyer clearly doing on their own

  • Lawyer starts a blog on their own. Some with the law firms blessing, some without it.
  • Generally such blogs include no law firm branding.
  • May or may not say where the publishing lawyer is employed.
  • Often include a disclaimer that anything said is said on their own and is not on behalf of the firm – a stretch when a lawyer is employed by a law firm and blogging about the law.
  • Often published on free or low cost blog platforms such as TypePad or Blogger. Such platforms may be one reason the firm does not want their branding to be used in any way – they’re not professional enough for the law firm.
  • The title of blog will be a niche area of the law and possibly locale.
  • If there is an ‘about’ section, the lawyer will be listed as the author.
  • The copyright, if it is displayed, will be in the lawyers name.

This last scenario is pretty scary for large law firms – especially for legal marketing professionals charged with protecting the firm’s brand and image.

If the law firm does not yet have blog marketing program and a lawyer wants to blog, work to get something close to the second alternative. There are pluses for the lawyer and the law firm in doing so.

  • http://impact.freethcartwright.com Andrew Mills

    I think this assessment is broadly right. In our case, though, my team are the techie drivers and (not knocking my marketing colleagues) have much more knowledge about the implementation. We decided that we wanted very much a “firm” blog but with its own unique identity to reflect our team. Hence it doesn’t have the firm’s logo, colours etc but is clearly from the firm. This gives me and my team a bit more flexibity in how we produce it and what we say. I also like to think that we’re showing the rest of the firm the way forward in terms of blogging.

  • http://www.delawarelitigation.com Francis Pileggi

    Good summary of the issues.