Leaving the comfort and safety of a career with established law firms, Florida appellate attorney Dan Bushell recently started his own practice, and his blog, Florida Appellate Review, has been a brilliant tool for networking and client development.

"I wanted to focus more exclusively on appellate work and I wanted to be my own boss and start my own thing rather than be a cog in a larger organization," Bushell said.

After spending more than eight years litigating multi-million dollar cases under the clemencies of sizable firms, Bushell went solo in March and his coinciding blog, which launched April, has been a major focal point for building a rapport with locals. 

"I (am) good at what I do but I wasn’t so well known in local communities because I had been litigating cases around the country," Bushell said. "Getting my work out on the Internet for people to see would help to grow my reputation locally."

Though Bushell is new to blogging, his blog-savvy wife and reading the blogs of other lawyers have taught him the importance of utilizing the medium for business development.

"I’m familiar with the concept of the blog network and how (it) can be a very important marketing tool," Bushell said. "I had followed blogs for a while and seen how they had helped certain practitioners really grow their practice." 

As the sole attorney of his firm, Bushell has to be twice as creative when it comes to marketing, and his ability to connect with fellow bloggers and lawyers has added clout to networking in his target communities.

"Whenever I’m reaching out to someone on the person-to-person level, I refer them back to my blog so they can see who I am and what I know and what I can do," said Bushell, "so the two really go hand-in-hand for me."

Florida Appellate Review features Bushell’s fresh analysis on issues of interest that arise from various Florida courtroom cases. The blog is the "heart" of Bushell’s web presence–and his presence has been felt throughout the legal blogging community–as his unique writing style has garnered attention from online publications that include Overlawyered and the Daily Business Review; which has created client meetings and lawyer referrals.

"I’ve used (blogging) as a social networking tool to try to directly engage other people who are active on the Internet to start developing relationships," Bushell said. "(The) relationships (have) resulted in business for me."

Maintaining a professional blog can be a full-time job in itself. When added to the pressures of running a start-up firm, work quality can become jeopardized, but adherence to a schedule keeps Bushell on top of his game. He devotes the work week to cases and client development and prepares for the upcoming week with Sunday blog posts.

Bushell’s regimen may intimidate some, but the same drive and focus that goes into his entrepreneurial legal pursuits are what allow him to give serious time and consideration to blogging.

"You have to put in the time that you need to put together a blog post that you can can be proud of," said Bushell, "(it) goes a long way."

In the short time he has been blogging, Bushell has certainly produced a body of work he can be proud of. He advises fellow bloggers to have intent and passion to keep blog posts interesting and engaging to readers.

"Everything I’ve written about is something I could get passionate (about) and really dig into," said Bushell, "and I think that’s where the blog can really add something to the knowledge of what’s out there–when you’re able to invest yourself in what you’re writing as opposed to just reciting facts."