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LexisNexis’ Frank Strong (@Frank_Strong), reporting from last week’s ABA TechShow shares that per an ABA Technology Survey, 10% of lawyers have blogs.

The survey goes further in finding that 27% of law firms have legal blogs.

On first glance I liked those numbers. That would be a heck of a lot of lawyers providing insight and commentary on the law.

But you need to take a step back and take a critical look.

  • If I buy a website as a lawyer and get a free blog thrown in as a page in the website, is that blogging?
  • If I buy a blog that comes with regular prepackaged posts by the seller, is that blogging?
  • If I hire a person to write in my name on a blog, is that blogging?
  • If I scrape accident reports and turn them into posts to game Google, is that blogging?
  • If I cut and paste “legal newsletter and alert like” content into a blog, is that blogging?

Blogging is real and authentic engagement.

Bloggers listen to the online conversation among their target audience. Bloggers engage in that conversation by referencing what is being said and offering their take, their insight, and their commentary.

Blogging is not everyone talking at once while listening to no one. That can be article writing (not blogging), at best, and noise, at worst.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if 10% of American lawyers were blogging. One, because of the positive contributions we’d be making to people – and the law. And two, because LexBlog may be bigger.

My gut tells me two or three percent of lawyers are blogging, and that’s probably a stretch. For law firms, five or ten percent, maximum.

I’ve always accepted that the rate of growth in legal blogging cannot be accelerated. Growth will come in time.

  • As more lawyers come to understand what blogging is and how rewarding (professional and business development-wise) it can be to chase your passion in the law through blogging, blogging will grow.
  • As law blogs begin replacing law journals, law reviews, and commentary from traditional publishers we’ll see good growth.
  • As law blogs become routinely accepted as the reliable and authoritative commentary on niche areas on the law and industry that they are, we’ll see more lawyers blogging.
  • As law blogs are treated as secondary law annotating statutory, regulatory, and case law, we’ll law students, law professors, and practicing lawyers jump into blogging in large numbers.

I’m not seeing 100,000 lawyers and almost thirty percent of law firms blogging, today. Especially when the same survey finds 81% of lawyers using social media, but not professionally.

Do you see 10% of lawyers blogging?

Hat tip @buzzmodo