Lawyer blogging ABA Report

Legal tech columnist, Bob Ambrogi, blogged this week that per an ABA Legal Technology Survey Report lawyer blogging appears to have plateaued.

The number of law firms with blogs has plateaued, neither growing nor dropping for four years straight, according to the 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report recently published by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

The survey found that 26 percent of firms have blogs. That number has remained effectively unchanged for 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

The larger the firm, the more likely it is to have a blog. Among firms of 500 or more attorneys, 60 percent have blogs, and at firms of 100-499 attorneys, 52 percent have blogs. In contrast, just 12 percent of solos have blogs and 20 percent of firms of 2-9 attorneys have blogs.

By practice area, personal injury lawyers are most likely to have blogs, followed by lawyers who concentrate in litigation and then labor and employment law.

I received an email Thursday evening from law practice management consultant at Edge International and blogger, Gerry Riskin, asking if I had any thoughts regarding the ABA survey’s findings on blogging.  I thought I’d share here what I shared with Gerry.

  • LexBlog is seeing significant growth in lawyers blogging. We’re up to over 15,000 bloggers from about 8,000 three or four years ago.
  • While the ABA Tech Survey reports that 50 to 60 percent of law firms with a 100 or more lawyers have blogs, the ABA Journal itself reported over a year ago that per LexBlog’s report on large law firm blogging that “82 percent of firms in the top 200 are blogging.” The top 200 firms would be those firms with about 175 lawyers or more. I expect the number of them blogging has jumped to about 90 percent by now, a figure far greater than reported in the ABA survey.
  • Don’t worry about the term “blog.” Lawyers are publishing way way more without going through intermediaries such as journals, magazines, newspapers or law reviews. They’re doing so on websites, mini-sites and digital publications not all called blogs. Bottom line is that lawyers are publishing to make a name for themselves and they are doing it on blog software – mostly WordPress based. 10 years ago we may have classified all that publishing as blogging as that’s all there was other than publishing through traditional publications. No more.
  • The ABA Survey reports personal injury lawyers are most likely to have blogs. With all due respect to personal injury lawyers (I was a plaintiff’s trial lawyer for 17 years), I fear that most plaintiff’s lawyers who think they have a blog have never blogged. Most buy blogs as SEO magnets from companies who will supply the blogs with content, whether ethical or not, whether offering anything of value of not. I question a survey on all fronts that includes as a blog a website with a purchased set of words.
  • Who is the survey reaching? Over 8% of the firms in 2015 and over 5% of the firms in 2016 didn’t even know whether they had a blog.

Reports of blogging leveling off or even of blogging’s demise are nothing new. Many people and organizations have reported this over the last five or six years. Often those most threatened by bloggers – traditional publishers, marketing companies and public relations agencies.

Surveys and polling are not an exact science, even those done by major news organizations. We witnessed this in this years elections.

Legal blogging isn’t dying off or even plateauing. Blogging continues to grow as lawyers realize the power of blogging in building a name for themselves — and building a book of business faster than any other form of business development.