It’s not a matter of whether law firms will need to market their knowledge and use of AI (artificial intelligence), it’s a matter of when. The smart law firms are going to start now.

I walked out of last week’s Legal Marketing Association Annual Meeting (LMA) seeing the single biggest marketing opportunity for law firms as demonstrating a keen knowledge of AI and how AI is going to change the delivery of legal services.

I’ve been to LMA meetings for almost twenty years and have never even heard AI mentioned. AI and machine learning may have been discussed in relation to e-discovery, but this year there were multiple sessions with legal technology and software executives and entrepreneurs presenting on AI and its implications for law firms.

Why now? Because the tools that consumers of legal services expect law firms to use will bring fundamental change to the traditional business model of law firms, that being to charge solely by the hour.

Businesses and consumers are not going to tolerate law firms charging for hours spent on tasks and projects which can be automated by software and AI.

The age of AI may not fully be upon law firms, but the consensus at LMA was pretty close to what Richard Susskind, author, speaker and advisor on the future of legal services, had to say at this year’s British Legal Technology Forum:

People are probably over-estimating what AI can do in the near term, but unfortunately [they] are underestimating what its impact is going to be long term in the industry.

AI is close enough along, that speaking at LMA, Mark Greene, a 30 year veteran in the development and deployment of business and marketing strategies, warned new associates that they should become knowledgeable on new tools and AI so as to remain valuable to a their law firm. Going the traditional partner track is going to be much riskier, per Greene.

Former big law attorney, now Professor of law and Director of LegalRND at Michigan State University, Daniel Linna commented for this post on Facebook about the growing efficiencies that software and tools are already bringing to the law, saying it’s a mistake to ignore expert systems (or some might call them bots–think Turbo Tax for law).

The legal industry across the board could significantly increase productivity (double?) and also quality with better knowledge management and expert systems. Look at what Illinois Legal Aid Online and Michigan Help Online can do with expert systems and document automation.

Many law firms are building expert systems, like Foley FCPA, Akerman data breach navigator, Denton’s for European financial regulations, NetApp & ThinkSmart NDA automation. Lots of low hanging fruit.

AI folks say lots in legal cannot be automated because legal work is unstructured. Well, let’s start structuring it. We need more best practices and standards. Why do lawyers, even in the same firm, do the same task 10 different ways?

One way for law firms to market their knowledge of AI is to use AI — or at least tools and software appproaching AI.

In addition to the firms mentioned by Linna, Seyfarth Shaw, in connection with its subsidiary SeyfarthLean Consulting, announced in February an agreement with Blue Prism to deploy robotic process automation (RPA) software to the firm, marking the first adoption of Blue Prism’s technology for the legal industry.

Blue Prism’s software robots are implemented as digital labor to eliminate low-return, high-risk, administrative and processing work to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness while reducing operating costs.

Seyfarth’s chair emeritus Stephen Poor sends a message we’re going to hear the likes of more frequently.

We’re excited about the opportunity this creates to free our lawyers from some of the more mundane legal tasks so they can focus on helping our clients solve their most complex business issues. In testing various use cases, we’ve already seen how Blue Prism’s RPA software can help us create exponential gains in productivity, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of possibilities.

CARA, an automated research assistant from Casetext, uses AI and natural-language technologies to automate legal research tasks, allowing firms to spend time on higher-value, billable work—and not miss key precedents or decisions.

Quinn Emanuel quickly got the word out, as part of Casetext’s recent funding announcement, that they’re on board with Cara. From partner, David Eiseman:

CARA is an invaluable, innovative research tool. We can upload a brief and within seconds receive additional case law suggestions and relevant information on how cases have been used in the past, all in a user-friendly interface. This feature is unique to CARA, and a major step forward in how legal research is done.

“Important for law firms to understand,” per Greene “is that they’ll not be driving this change in legal services and business models with regard to AI, their clients will. The best thing firms can do is to be informed.”

Being informed alone won’t be enough. Lawyers and law firms will need to demonstrate that they are informed and have a working knowledge of AI.

Sure, writing and speaking about AI in the traditional fashion, is a start. But networking through the Internet via blogging and social media offers lawyers so much more – the ability to become a leader in the area — quickly.

Listen to the influential sources and key subjects (including terms, companies and products) on AI via Feedly. Share what you’re reading about AI via Twitter, engage the sources and what they’re saying in your blog.

Doing so will get you cited by the influencers, demonstrate you’re keeping abreast of developments in AI and build an enviable network of those in the know on AI.

Doing a quick look around, I did not see lawyers out blogging on AI in a way that sperates them from the pack. The opportunity is still there.

AI may even be the perfect place for law students and associates to start doing some online networking and blogging. Look at what Greene had to say about demonstrating your value — knowledge of AI.

Hey, I am am far from an expert when it comes to AI. But I do see a big marketing opportunity here for law firms. Firms are probably even acting at their peril in not marketing their knowledge and use of AI – large corporate consumers of legal services will be watching.

If law firms have jumped on cannabis, privacy, food safety, and consumer finance regulations to make a name for themselves, firms can do it with AI — via the use of AI, or at least demonstrating a working knowledge of AI.

With all the marketing discussion about content, content marketing, getting people to see your content and measuring the ROI on your content, you’d think legal marketing on the Internet revolved around content.

It doesn’t. The Internet and developing business via the Internet for lawyers, at least when used most effectively, is about communication and networking.

The Internet was conceived in the 1960s to enable multiple computers (people) to communicate on a single network.

The Internet came of age for Americans in the 1990s with bulletin boards, Usenet groups, listservs and American Online, with its message boards.

Popular sites on the early Internet included the likes of the Motley Fool (investor’s community) and iVillage (women’s community).

AOL and its founder, Steve Case, were spearheading the Greenhouse project where entrepreneurs would be given $300,000 to launch communities similar to David and Tom Gardner’s Motley Fool. John Hagel’s book, “Net Gain: Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities,” was the model for such marketing by networking through the Internet.

Legal came of age online during this time in the same fashion. Thousands and thousands of people were asking and answering questions on six sets of multiple message boards on AOL. Only a few of us, as lawyers, participated. The lawyers who did built a name and relationships — and as a reult grew their book of business.

The public and lawyers were also widely participating on Usenet groups, especially on subjects such as immigration.

What did all of this have in common? Communication.

Content, in the form of an article, was an afterthought on AOL. There were folders where people could upload pieces. I remember finding a piece from a doctor on the residual impact of a temporomandibular joint injury. It was fantastic. But I found the article as a result of exchanges on a message board.

Business development for good lawyers begins and ends with building a name and building relations. It’s done via communicating and networking.

Strange thing that the Internet was conceived for communicating and networking.

So use it. Content, sure. But realize content is just a vehicle to enable communicating and networking, not the end goal.

Michigan State University College of Law is hosting their second annual Social Media Bootcamp this Saturday (Feb 4). I couldn’t be more honored to be leading the workshop. We had a great time last year.

The workshop is open to law students, lawyers, academics, judges, court staff and all other legal service delivery professionals.

The interactive workshop is designed to help law students, lawyers and legal services providers improve their professional use of blogging and other social media, whether you are beginner or a pro.

You’ll learn how to effectively utilize social media to build a personal brand, establish expertise, and build an online community. You’ll also learn how social media can be used for learning, advancing the law, and networking as a law student, lawyer, law professor or other legal professional.

If you’re a practicing lawyer, you’ll leave knowing how to really use the Internet to get the type of work you want from the type of clients you want to represent.

We’ll cover, among other things:

  • Use of a news aggregator (Feedly) for listening to the influencers and identifying items to share
  • Blogging on a niche to build your name, a network and advance the law
  • Twitter for listening, establishing yourself as an intelligent agent, building social media equity, and building relationships
  • Facebook for building solid professional relationships and sharing personal and professional information and insight
  • LinkedIn for more than just a profile, but to engage, to build a name – and in the case of lawyers how to get work

Law student, professor or law school administrator and looking to blog, ask me about the LexBlog sponsored Law School Blog Network. You’re entitled to a blog on our comprehensive blog publishing software and related services – for free.

Complete details:

  • Date: Saturday, February 4, 2016
  • Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Event Address: 648 N. Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Room: Castle Boardroom (3rd Floor)
  • Parking: Free on weekends in the parking ramp next to MSU Law
  • RSVP

Questions? Contact Amy Krieg, Assistant Director for Career Development, or (517) 432-6830.

Big thanks for Michigan State Law for having me back again. This may be the third or fourth time in the last couple years. You’ve opened my eyes to the passion of law students looking to do great things – often, for other people.

Hope to see how this year’s social media contest is going too. past participants have ended up at with positions at Honigman in Detroit, General Motors, London law firms (internships) and West Coast companies in the agriculture/food business.

Legal tech companies are heading en masse to New York City next week for ALM’s Legaltech Show – now billed as LegalWeek.

Billed as the largest and most important legal technology event of the year, over 10,000 people, including decision makers from large and small law firms, will attend educational sessions and walk the exhibit halls filled with hundreds of legal tech company booths.

Tens of thousands of dollars will be spent by companies in product announcements, booths, alcohol and what not to enhance their brands and sell wares.

The wild thing is that the founders and executives of these tech companies don’t have a clue when it comes to using technology and the Internet to market and sell.

Rather than take responsibility for learning how to use the Internet for relationship building, marketing and selling, the executives hire public relations and marketing professionals to do the job for their company. Crazier yet is that those they hire usually don’t know what they are doing either.

A couple weeks ago, lawyer and legal tech entrepreneur, Zach Abramowitz @ZachAbramowitz, penned a piece in Above The Law about the challenges legal tech companies face in selling to law firms.

I meet a lot of legal tech companies, and I cannot tell you how many great products I’ve seen way which I later discover have zero meaningful traction. I’m not the only one.

Abramowitz went on to reference an interview with Mark Harris, CEO & founder of Axiom, who said:

Selling tech-only solutions into the legal industry today would be like selling a conveyer belt to a blacksmith in the late 1800s. You cannot sell the instruments of industrialization to artisans! They aren’t ready for them and have no idea what to do with them!

So, before legaltech can have its analogous fintech moment, the legal industry needs to make headway on a services-led, but tech-enabled approach to industrialization. We have to build the factories before we can embrace the tools that make the factory better!

The problem with guys like Harris (and maybe you) dissing law firms and their use of technology is that maybe you’ve done nothing to engage law firms, earn their trust and educate them. At least not in an effective fashion.

Legal tech companies coming to Legaltech sell the same way companies sold 100 years ago – through traditional marketing, advertising and sales. Virtually none of them leverage the Internet in a way that engages influencers, customers and prospective customers.

Hundreds of companies have booths at Legaltech. They are relying on websites, emails and cheesy social media to try to grab people’s attention to come to their booth.

I am getting three or four emails a day asking if I want to come by a company’s booth to meet the company’s CEO or founder. Understand that I am the CEO of my own legal tech company who just happens to blog and have some aptitude using social media.

I don’t know the company emailing me. I don’t know the CEO. In most cases, neither I nor my social media/blog followers have any interest in the company’s product.

The person sending the email doesn’t even know who I am, they are firing off random emails to a list of recipients. In the PR or marketing person’s mind I am a channel to get the company’s message out because I blog and use social media.

Though they may be selling something great, I have no reason to trust them.

One can only assume these companies are sending the same message out to lots of bloggers, reporters and influencers, all of whom know how to use the Internet to engage and build relationships. It’s almost like saying, “Yeh, I sell a tech product, but I am a total noob when it comes to using the Internet, how bad did I embarrass myself?”

So not only do the companies have to keep selling in an expensive and tiresome way, but they leave the people they ought to be connecting with wondering how innovative and tech savvy the companies really are when they don’t even know how to use the net when it comes to sales, marketing and business development.

How many of the companies have CEO’s and founders strategically and effectively blogging to build a name, develop relationships and grow business? How many of those companies will have their audience seeking them out based on the name they have built and relationships they nurtured online? Probably none.

Sales, marketing and business development is best done, or at least started, online today. Not with websites and email campaigns but through mediums being used by your customers, prospective customers and their influencers. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be used by company leaders as individuals, not by the company.

People learn about products, services and company leaders socially. They learn to trust a company, it’s leaders and their counsel through online engagement – think blogging and social networks.

Don’t get me wrong. Face to face discussion is critical to sales. But accelerating relationships and your reputation makes selling much easier.

It’s never been easier to market and sell than today. But you don’t do it the old fashioned way, or else you’ll embarrass yourself.

If you’ve read this far and you’re a legal tech exec attending LegalTech wanting to know how to leverage the Internet for marketing and social selling, drop me a note. Lunch or a drink is on me and I won’t be selling you anything.

I am heading back from a day and evening with the students, faculty and administration at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

So many people to thank for such an enjoyable and rewarding time. Dean Jay Mootz is leading a heck of a team. I am learning a lot from him as to how a law school works and how to work with law schools.

I am also becoming a little more relaxed talking with law school deans. Being a kid from a small town and a very average student, I hadn’t hung out much with deans and wondered if I could keep up with them on the knowledge front.

Thanks to Mindy Danovaro who introduced me to Jay, kicking off what we hope will be a relationship that can benefit McGeorge students, professors, snd its grads.

And a big thanks to Professor Dorothy Landsberg, who after practicing law for twenty years returned to become a driving force at McGeorge in too many areas to count. Her questions, counsel and enthusiasm left me awfully inspired.

As a lawyer, if you ever get the chance to teach or work with a law school and its students, especially your law school (mine is McGeorge), jump at the opportunity. You’ll find in the decades since you graduated that you have accumulated wisdom and practical know how that the students with drive will be enthusiastic to absorb.

If you can help the school on something unique that showcases the law school, so much the better. Law schools are having a bit of a tough time and find themselves in a highly competitive environment. An edge helps.

In my case it’s helping students, professors and administrators understand how they can leverage the power of the Internet through blogging and social media — for learning, networking, advancing legal scholarship and building a name.

The opportunities that await law grads have never been greater than today — so long as they know to use the net to realize their aspirations.

Fortunate for McGeorge students, the school is going to give them the opportunity to learn how to use the net. Based on discussions yesterday, the school is going to be part of the Law School Blog Network offering students and professors LexBlog’s comprehensive platform and services for free.

We’re also going to work on ways to teach campus representatives the ins and outs of using blogging and social media strategically. They’ll in turn be able to pass on their knowledge to students and professors.

McGeorge, part of the University of Pacific, is an incredible school with a smart, dedicated and caring faculty and administration.

And as far as the law school itself? 13 acres of classrooms, apartments, a fitness center with pool, clinics, learning centers, and a courtroom, all surrounded by lawns with palm and eucalyptus trees in sunny California is tough to beat. And you can get a California license to boot.

Thanks McGeorge. It’s off to Fordam and Michigan State law schools in the coming weeks. What an honor.

Reading  “WTF is AALS,” in an Above The Law post by the Anonymous Law Professor last Tuesday was enough to catch my attention.

Turns out AALS is the American Association of Law Schools, an organization I hadn’t heard of before. They were having their annual meeting last week in San Francisco, including a Thursday morning session on how law professors were blogging for professional development.

Short notice, but LexBlog’s starting the Law School Blog Network was enough to get me to jump a flight down the next day.

The session on blogging, which took type form of three discussion groups of about fifteen was excellent.

My findings on law school blogging from the session (excuse the length – my notes for working with law schools):

  • Each of the law professors who were blogging felt they were making a strong name for themselves from blogging.
  • At least one law professor would not have gotten her job as a professor without blogging. She was practicing law, had not attended a tier 1 school, but whose goal in life was to be a law porofessor – her blog got her in.
  • Their networks were growing among influenential legal and business professionals worldwide.
  • Blogging professors were getting invited to speak at events worldwide.
  • Law professors view favorably the free and open legal publishing that blogs bring.
  • Concern was expressed about LexisNexis’ acquisition of SSRN, an historically open body of scholarly publications, because LexisNexis is now limiting some open access. Blogging provides an alternative.
  • Media loves law professors blogging as evidenced by blogging professors regularly finding themselves being contacted and quoted by reporters.
  • Law schools look favorably on blogging professors. Deans and administrators like the media coverage, court citations, advancement of legal scholorship and readers, including judges and alumni.
  • Law professor blog posts, like law reviews, get cited by the courts.
  • Judges read law professor blogs as a form of legal scholorship and dialogue on the law.
  • Law professor blogs influence the ABA’s committees, rulings and policy making.
  • Conensus of professors in the session was that 10% of the professors at their law schools were blogging,
  • Law school deans like their law professors blogging because of the notoriety it brings the professors and the schools.
  • Blog posts need not be a thousand words or more. Though some posts may be longer in nature, 400 hundred to 600 words is fine.
  • Law professors, like practicing lawyers who blog, like to follow stats and traffic. Who’s reading, how many are reading and where readers are located.
  • Law professors were in 100% agreement that blogs belong separate and apart from a law school website – a blog is an independent publication and a law professor needs to maintain ownership of their blog.
  • Being recognized as a top 100 legal blog in the annual Blawg 100 by the ABA Journal is valued by law professors.
  • The blog publishing platform, TypePad, not used by many professionals, was used by some of the professors, by virtue of Professor Paul Caron’s Law Professor Blog Network using Typepad.
  • Law professors use other social media as an adjunct to their blogging, just like practicing lawyers who blog – Twitter and LinkedIn, more than Facebook.
  • Law professors who do not blog and use social, but whom show an interest, are as lost as to what it’s all about as practicing law students.

I enjoyed attending, met a professor or two who is interested in blogging with LexBlog’s Law School Blog Network and will make it a point to attend AALS in the future.

Through efficiency brought by technology and a law school’s commitment to introduce its students to more effective business models and technology to improve legal services, LexBlog is moving forward with a Law School Blog Network offering law students, professors and administrators its blogging platform and services at no cost.

A year ago I was talking with Michigan State University Law Professor, and then Assistant Dean for Career Development, Daniel Linna, about the possibility of some day having free blogs for law students. What seemed like a pipe dream to me then is now a reality — and then some.

I was back in East Lansing teaching at a social media bootcamp for students, professors and administrators. At that time, Linna was launching The Center for Legal Services Innovation, LegalRnD for short, to study and introduce students to technology and innovation to make legal services more available to moderate income Americans and less expensive to businesses.

Part of the discussion concerned the power of blogging for learning, for building a name for yourself, building a network and making legal services more available through young lawyers with niche expertise. Let alone the contribution to advancing the law via open publishing.

In only the way Linna can put the subtle pressure on you, he says, “Gee, that would be pretty cool if you could make blog software and services free to law schools.” He had me.

One problem. A year ago, a project (blog site) at LexBlog took fifty hours of time – intake, design, development, quality assurance, content about the publisher etc. Free is pretty expensive at that rate.

Fast forward to today and LexBlog has become fifty times more efficient. What used to take 50 hours takes an hour. My tech team, led by our CTO, Joshua Lynch, is looking to push it further – maybe get it to 15 minutes in some situations.

This efficiency was brought about by moving the company from an agency to a software company.

Rather than design in Photoshop (.psd’s), developing sites and making modifications to sites separately as website developers and marketing agencies do, LexBlog has developed its own publishing software on WordPress core.

Think of software as a service such as Salesforce or Clio, except with a custom front interface. Bottom line we’re disruptive to the industry and able to do more for people.

With this increased efficiency we realized we could build a “Law School Blog Network.” LexBlog would offer the most comprehensive blog publishing software in the industry as a service to law students, law professors and law school administrators. All for free – blog publishing software, mobile design, hosting, SEO, marketing, free ongoing support and syndication across the LexBlog Network, including a forthcoming Law School Blog Network.

Blog software is free – in theory. But it’s not tailored for the law, folks don’t know where to start, their blog cannot be found, they don’t know how to maintain it and don’t know good blogging from bad. If you’re putting in the time, we want you to build a name for yourself in an area that you love.

To see an example of a blog on the Law School Blog Network blog, check out Dan Linna’s LegalTech Lever. Michigan State Colors and logo – everything Sparty (school mascot), the law school and the alumni could love.

Linna owns the content, title and domain name. He is free to move the content to any other branded site, whether part of the Law School Blog Network, or not, at any time he chooses. No strings attached.

For an example of a law student’s blog, see Miguel Willis’ Innovative Law Student. Seattle University Law School colors and logo.

Law student? Law professor? Law school administrator? Want to start blogging or are already blogging on a less than professional software without accompanying support, let us know. It will be our honor to help.

You can use the contact form on this blog or on LexBlog, and we’ll get back to you. You can also reach me via social media or email.

Well the Holidays are over and unfortunately so is the NFL regular season. Which means we are back into the grind of the new year, and as we welcome in 2017 at LexBlog, we are also welcoming a few new blogs to the network:

  • Jerry Moberg & Associates has launched the Trial Attorneys blog. Jerry is a self described “country lawyer” as you can see in his opening post, and currently represents a number of municipalities, including school districts, cities and towns, counties, and special services districts.
  • LexBlog is happy to have launched a 17th blog with Mintz Levin, this one being on alternative dispute resolution. The blog ADR: Advice From the Trenches will “provide updates, analyses, and advice regarding the law and practice of international and domestic arbitration, mediation, and more esoteric forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.”
  • The Minnesota firm Larkin Hoffman has launched their first blog, titled “Franchisor Attorneys.” We are very excited to have them on the network as Larkin Hoffman had already published more than a hundred articles and columns on franchise law and industry issues.

A business development professional from a mid-size West Coast law firm emailed me with with a question about ghost blogging.

Ghost law blogging, if you’ve not heard of it, is practice where some lawyers and law firms hire people to write blog posts for lawyers and hold the posts out as being written by the lawyer.

The business development professional acknowledged that ghost blogging is legally unethical, but wondered if there may be some middle ground between ghost blogging and the attorneys publishing their own blog content. Perhaps having him write the post or just holding out the post as written by the firm. He was concerned about lawyers maintaining the blog.

My answer got into the brass tacks of what makes for law blogging success so I thought I’d share it with you.

I first explained that I believe I saw FindLaw selling ghost blog posts to lawyers at one time, but rather than represent that the post was written by the lawyer (in the byline author field of the post), the byline read that the post was on “behalf of the lawyer.” A cheesy solution, but different than other firms which unethically misrepresented that the lawyer wrote the post when they did not.

The real key to the dilemma though is to make blogging a fun and rewarding experience for the lawyers who are going to blog. Blogging will not feel like a chore and getting posts up will not be a challenge.

How so? Begin with the lawyers understanding what blogging is and what the goal is. The goal is not necessarily to bring traffic to the website. The goal is building word of mouth and relationships, the same things that built his firm. The Internet has not changed this.

Keep clear that we’ll measure success by an increase in revenue. Establish a goal and then measure how much has revenue jumped for the lawyers/area involved? It can be very significant.

Knowing that, identify the areas the firm is looking to grow or sees an opportunity. Do you have a lawyer or lawyers who want to build a name in the area and want learn to use the Internet to do so?

Who wants to become a star – to do the type of work they’d love to do, for the type of clients they want to do that work for and not worry about where business is coming from. Why not? Many, many other lawyers have done so through blogging.

Know that not every lawyer wants to blog. Ask who is excited to blog. Do not end up with an editorial calendar where it’s a chore for the lawyers and the person chasing them down. If lawyers say they are not excited, that’s okay.

The blog will be on one niche area the firm excels in or is looking to grow. Could be tighter than a practice area such as estate planning, i.e., a type of trust in estate planning. The blog will become a must read by a niche audience, the lawyers will know it and they’ll see “why blog.”

Niches are critical. Niches do not limit work, they expand the work coming through trust and name recognition.

Educate the blogging lawyers that we are not talking articles. We are talking blogging. Depending on the niche, you may reference and share news and developments, heavily using block quotes, and offer your take/why you shared it.

The lawyers will be referencing other bloggers (law and industry), reporters and association news – you’ll make a list of about 20 influencers that fall in this group that they’ll be following in a news aggregator (Feedly). It’s like pressing the flesh. You get known and your blog posts get cited and shared by others. Posts may be as brief 250 to 500 words. Think about the emails between lawyers in the firm and to clients that already do this. It’s not much different.

You can expand, once the blog gets known, to having guest posts of people with whom you want to build relationships and to four question email interviews of referral sources, business associates and the like.

Any help the blogging lawyers may need, and most do not, is in proof reading, titling a post and putting in a picture.

Begin with the premise that we’ve always networked to build a name and relationships, now we’re going to learn how to use the Internet to do so. We’ll get a lawyer or two started who can become blog/social media champions and be a viral positive from whom other interested lawyers in the firm can learn.

The blog will be the first social media used by the blogging lawyers, maybe 2 to 4 posts a month, and then the lawyers can learn how to use other social media personally – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, with the understanding that the blog content is currency for relationships there.

You know my take on ghost posts. Don’t go down that road. If you’re a real lawyer or real law firm, you’re better than that.

Guy Alvarez of Good2bSocial, a leading digital marketing agency for law firms, has a nice piece on the analytics used to measure web marketing.

One statement by Guy sticks in my craw though, that being “…the main goal of online marketing is to get people back to your law firm’s web site.”

The obvious goal is revenue, and I’m sure Guy agrees with this.

If the law firm puts money into online marketing, how much will it increase revenue. Anything spent should be measured the same way the law firm’s accountant or CFO measures success. An increase in revenue for the firm, a practice group or an individual lawyer.

The path to increased revenues for many lawyers and firms is not through an increase in traffic to their websites though.

The vast majority of lawyers I talk with get their work through relationships and a strong word of mouth reputation. A website, for them, is a nice way for people who found them otherwise to look at their background and that of their firm, but traffic to the website is not a revenue generator for them.

In the case of larger law firms, it’s probably seven or eight percent of the firm’s lawyers originating the vast magority of the firm’s revenue. Again for them, the website is important, but it’s not how they maintain and grow revenue. It’s relationships and word of mouth reputations.

Law firms should not change things up when it comes to online marketing. Word of mouth reputation and relationships remain the key.

So when doing online marketing, the goal should be building, nurturing and accelerating relationships and reputations. Assuming you’ve been successful in doing so, then look to increased revenues as the measure of success.