Talk about shooting yourself in the foot when your legal publishing company is already struggling in the eyes of a lot of folks.

ALM is attempting to stop a couple young legal tech entrepreneurs, one a lawyer and one a technologist, in Sheffield, England from using the term or phrase “LegalTech” in the title of their small legal tech conference, LegalTech Conference North, which was held for the first time last month. 

As reported by Dan Bindman of Legal Futures, conference coordinators, Matthew Pennington and Harvey Harding received a “cease and desist” letter from ALM telling them that their use of “LegalTech” in their conference name was in violation of ALM’s trademark. 

From Bindman:

According to the Intellectual Property Office, the UK trade mark covers: “Conducting and organizing exhibitions, trade shows, conferences and workshops for public and private organizations, companies, lawyers and law firms for the purpose of exhibiting technical products and services directed to the legal profession, namely, computer hardware and software.”

The US trade mark also covers “newsletters issued periodically, directed to technical products and services for the legal profession”.

An ALM spokeswoman said it does not try to prevent ‘fair uses’ of the term outside of these areas.

It’s hard to think of what other areas could be relevant. ALM is looking to clamp down on any type of program or publication which uses the term “legal tech” or legaltech.”

Heck, there was a CLE program put on by few entrepreneurial Seattle lawyers up at Seattle University Law School this week. “Seattle Legal Tech – 3rd Annual 21st Century Lawyer CLE.”  (emphasis added)

What should they have called it? Seattle Application of Scientific Knowledge for Practical Purposes in Legal? 

I get that ALM has a publication called Legaltech News and holds a conference and show called Legaltech, rebranded as LegalWeek over the last couple years.

But really, throwing your weight around when it comes to a small conference put on by two young entrepreneurs in Northern England.  

From an ALM spokesperson:

ALM does not seek to prevent ‘fair uses’ of the legal tech term. However, as a trade mark owner, ALM’s goals are to both protect its longstanding rights and to try and prevent consumers from being confused into believing that another ‘legal tech branded show is affiliated with ALM’s long-standing event.

And if that’s not enough.

ALM and its predecessors have used the trademark ‘legal tech’ for over 30 years in connection with a leading trade show for the legal industry.

While the term legal technology, or ‘legal tech’ for short, has a descriptive meaning, by virtue of ALM’s long and successful use, the term has come to identify ALM’s leading conference and has become a trademark.

Indeed, the US and European trade mark offices recognised these rights when it permitted ALM’s registration of the marks many years ago.

I wonder if the ALM spokesperson has ventured outside, or onto the Internet for that matter, over the last decade or two. There is no way the phrase, “legal tech” has become synonymous with ALM’s conference. Even ALM, knowing their Legaltech show is struggling, changed the conferences name from “Legaltech Show.”

Ciaran Dearden, of the national law firm, Freeths, who is representing Pennington and Harding, has a different take than ALM, one founded in reality, common sense and the law.

The existence of this trade mark is really restrictive for a booming legal technology sector.

“When ‘fintech’ is in the dictionary, but ‘legal tech’ is a registered trademark, there is clearly a problem.

In our view, ‘legal tech’ should be a term open to all to use to describe what is a transformative movement in the legal sector.

The proprietor of a trade mark has to be proactive in protecting its intellectual property, and that simply hasn’t happened here.

In this instance, the proprietor has allowed ‘legal tech’ to become a generic term for the use of technology in the legal sector and, in doing so, has undermined the basis for the mark’s protection in relation to the proprietor’s services such that the trade mark should be cancelled.

Pennington told Bindman that ALM’s position is ridiculous and that he’s 99% sure the mark will be cancelled.

You look at the number of companies at Companies House that have got the words ‘legal tech’, let alone the number of conferences… There is no way [ALM have] control over it.

Now everyone is using the term, you can’t then turn round and say you’ve got to stop using it.

“’Legal tech’ should be free to use to describe any product that works in the legal sector like ‘fintech’ describes any that works in the financial services sector.”

Sadly, to be safe from ALM suing them, Pennington and Harding rebranded their legal tech conference as Legal Technology North, temporarily, knowing that they’d be challenging the trademark.

In an effort to get the word out on the conference and to give kudos to Pennington and Harding for having the gumption and desire to help lawyers and the people they serve, via tech and innovation, I’ve been tweeting word of the conference and the coverage the conference received in the Sheffield business community and beyond.

Local media in Northern UK took pride of the fact that local entrepreneurs were looking to grow the tech community in the area, something that London is better known for. 

It’s a shame when ALM, which bills itself as covering breaking news and trends in legal and bringing the leaders in the industry together, doesn’t cover or support legal technology and innovation efforts like this one. Let alone, try to impede them. 

Money doesn’t grow on trees for these two Sheffield legal entrepreneurs. In an effort to raise £5,000 for their defense of ALM’s trademark claim, they’ve launched a Gofundme campaign to raise money.

Over twenty years ago I read of the power of virtual communities in Net Gain, Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities by John Hagel and Arthur Armstrong (now executive director of Debevoise &Plimpton).

I read Net Gain then while creating, a virtual law community of lawyers and lay people alike, later sold to LexisNexis. I am reading Net Gain again as LexBlog’s worldwide legal blogging network begins to pick up steam.

This legal blogging network is every bit a virtual community of:

  • Blogging legal professionals
  • Those supporting these legal bloggers – LexBlog and its partners
  • Those whom benefit from the legal information and commentary of legal bloggers, including legal professionals, consumers of legal services empowered by legal blogs to select a lawyer in a more informed fashion, and other publishers who receive blog commentary by syndication.

No question there is a business model in organizing a legal blogging community, so long as the focus remains on helping the members – the bloggers and the beneficiaries of legal blogs.

From Hagel and Armstrong:

Virtual communities will increasingly be organized as commercial enterprises, with the objective with the objective of earning an attractive financial return by providing members with valuable resources and environments through which to enhance their own power. It is porecisely the profit incentive that will shape the evolution of virtual communities as vehicles to augment the power of their members. Members will value this power and richly reward the community organizers that deliver it to them most effectively, and abandon those which compromise on this value proposition. It is in giving a net gain in value to their members that community organizers will realize a substantial net gain of their own.

As a virtual community organizer, LexBlog must focus on two business imperatives to deliver this value proposition, per Hagel and Armstrong. Aggregating members and aggregating resources relevant to members. 

I’d add a third imperative, aggregating the publishing of legal bloggers. 

Resources relevant to members include, and could include:

  • Profiles of bloggers, blogs, and organizations whose members blog
  • Curated news and commentary from legal blogs delivered in relevant methods 
  • Cost effective professional blog publishing platforms (presently being used by 18,000 legal professionals, worldwide)
  • Education on effective blogging and publishing, including the personal use of social media for engagement and syndication 
  • Syndication partners whether they be legal organizations (law firms, law schools , bar associations etc), publishers or legal research companies.  

Virtual communities have unquestionably shown their value to organizers and members over the last twenty years. Social networks are everywhere. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit and more. 

The business model of some of these community organizers being to market the demographics of users while other organizers charge for service offerings. But in all cases of a successful virtual community, a net gain for members and organizers.

Stay tuned as to how LexBlog will deliver a net gain to all in this virtual legal blogging community – with the focus throughout being value to members. 

Watching WordPress cofounder, Matt Mullenweg deliver his annual State of the Word at WordCamp US on Saturday afternoon from Nashville there was little question that Gutenberg is the future of legal publishing.

Beginning with the WordPress text editor (unchanged for a decade till now) released this week with WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg will ultimately impact the entire publishing experience, including customization of our publications. 

Gutenberg will empower lawyers, law firms, law students, law professors, and organizations throughout our legal profession to do everything, and more, that traditional publishers have done.

A law firm, law school or court could take control of their own publishing on WordPress based platforms and out perform the likes of Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and Bloomberg.

Gutenberg delivers a “block” publishing experiencing that enables users you to create as rich a post layout as one can can imagine and even build their own themes. WordPress developers expect to transform WordPress into something users love, as opposed to something they use because everyone else does.

Gutenberg will get us to look at the editor as more than a content field. We’ll look at the editing field as place for design, font treatment, art, photography, layout and inclusions from video, and audio to other technology.

Lest one think that’s just for websites, digital publishers ranging from The New Yorker to The Athletic blend design, layout and fonts to make for a more attractive reading experience.

WordPress is approaching near ubiquitous status in publishing with 70% of sites with a content management system (CMS) using WordPress. Gutenberg is only going to further fuel WordPress open source developers around the world that much more.

Proprietary software providers, no matter how large or well funded, are no match for WordPress development today. They’ll lag even further behind WordPress with the advent of Gutenberg. 

Sure, WordPress is not perfect. No advanced legal tech solution is. But the use, momentum, development community and passion within the WordPress community is going to bring us all the future of legal publishing. 

A campaign got underway today to grow LexBlog’s worldwide legal blogging network.

This morning, two members of LexBlog’s publishing team began reaching out to legal bloggers in the United States whose blogs are not already in LexBlog’s legal news and commentary network. 

LexBlog announced a few months ago the launch of a first of its kind legal news and commentary network delivering timely and targeted articles from legal bloggers, worldwide. At no cost, legal bloggers could have their blog posts included in legal news reporting and syndication as well as have a personal profile with archives of their blog posts on LexBlog.

The organic growth of new bloggers who joined without prompting or invitation has been impressive with the network growing from 17,000 bloggers who were already publishing on LexBlog’s publishing software solution to close to 19,000 bloggers. 

The task of reaching out to bloggers is not a simple one. Over the last month, our team reviewed over 4,000 legal blogs, mostly from smaller and medium sized law firms, and arrived at a list of about 2,100 credible blogs.

To no one’s surprise, blogs with one post reading “hello world,” blogs offering little real information and blogs no longer being updated were no longer included. Things can be subjective, but we did our best.

LexBlog values relationships. No mass email campaigns here. My team members are sending personal emails.

Emails referencing what they like about the blog. Perhaps what they learned from reading posts or complementing the blogger for the niche covered or the professional way the blog is presented. 

Emails that I hope will develop a trust in LexBlog, especially by legal professionals unfamiliar with LexBlog, our history and our mission to take legal blogging to another level.

We hope to be through this portion of our campaign by about year’s end. We’ll then continue work to recruit blogs from larger law firms, then onto international law blogs, including Canada, which I heard over the weekend has 500 pretty good law blogs.

Legal blogger and want to join?  It’s easy. Just go to LexBlog’s Membership Page.

As part of its annual recognition of legal blogs, the ABA Journal recognized what we in the legal blogging community have known for years.

This being that legal bloggers can cover niches in the law better than traditional legal reporters and publishers. 

From Sarah Mui, Copy Editor and seventeen year veteran of the Journal:

Great legal blogs go deeper into practice niches than the mainstream legal press and share well-written personal insights. 

It’s true. How can a reporter, journalist or writer match a practicing lawyer who is staying abreast of developments in their area of law, whether on a state or national basis?

There are far too many niches. And too much expertise, too much passion and too much desire to breakout as a leader in their field in lawyers from coast to coast.

Practicing lawyers familiar with talking with the press know the frustration of one line being pulled from a lengthy conversation when the reporter is also talking with a lawyer taking the opposite side.

It’s not the reporter’s fault, they need to report, have limited bandwidth and simply don’t have the expertise a practicing lawyer has.

Getting published in legal journals, law reviews and legal magazines, bar association related or otherwise was a pipe dream for the vast majority of lawyers.

With the advent of blogs, lawyers were handed a printing press to report as well as offer insight and commentary without going through gatekeepers. 

Thousands of lawyers jumped at the opportunity. Employment law for respective states, international service of process law, condo law for a major metro, state workers comp law, equine law, 9/11 recovery workers remedies, food safety law, probate litigation for respective states and what have you. 

Kudos to the ABA Journal, a century old legal publisher and the flagship magazine for the American Bar Association, for recognizing the contributions of today’s fellow legal reporters. 

And big thanks to the ABA Journal for being a long time friend of the legal blogging community.

The Journal has recognized the best in legal blogs for more than a decade. This year they’re recognizing thirty blogs and five more joining the Journal’s Blawg 100 Hall of Fame.

Law firms, law schools, public relations firms and even the courts use third party publishing platforms — and, by doing so, most hand over control of their content to third party publishers. 

Most of the publishing platforms the creators of the content pay for while some creators give their content to a third party publisher in exchange for distribution and notoriety.

Examples include:

  • Legal scholarship published on third party solutions with many of those third party publishers then selling access  to such content by subscription.
  • Articles and blog posts that creators pay to have distributed by distribution services, some of which index the content in the distributor’s names, versus the creator’s name.
  • Articles written for third-party publishers and news sites in exchange for the publicity and notoriety.
  • Courts enabling large legal publishers to publish the court’s case law which third party publishers then sell effective access of such law back to people. 

This made sense before digital publishing. How else could one get an article published and distributed without a third party publisher? How else could courts get the law published?

Digital publishing puts a printing press and distribution systems in the hands of any publisher in the law (not third party publishers). At some cost of course. But not at the cost of losing ownership or control of their works.

Techdirt’s Karl Bode writes today that ESPN has lost $14 million due to cord cutting in sports media licensing and distribution because of the market’s change to digital.

The penalty for ESPN’s failure to adapt has been severe. Disney’s recent earnings revealed that ESPN lost another 2 million regular viewers this year. And while ESPN still has 86 million regular viewers, that’s a 14 million regular viewer dip from the 100 million regular viewers it enjoyed in 2011. Those 14 million lost users generated around $1.44 billion per year for the “worldwide leader in sports,” which is still saddled with the severe costs of set redesigns and sports licensing contracts the company struck while it was busy not seeing the massive locomotive of market change bearing down upon it.

Market shifting caused some of the problem, but ESPN management’s refusal to listen was the real problem.

ESPN execs often tried to shoot the messengers instead of listening to the message. And once the damage was done, ESPN decided to fire hundreds of longstanding sports journalists and support personnel…

Common sense dictates that sooner or later, legal content creators (the true publishers) are going to take control of their digital publishing. They are going to cut the cord. 

Sure, content distributors, third-party publishers and news sites will make use of the content, by license (could be perpetual and, in some cases, be paid for) but the content will be published first on a domain and on a system the creator controls.

It’s a losing proposition for today’s large legal publishers to ignore change and count on the law being slow to change and people and organizations being afraid to challenge them.

Again, many cable and broadcast industry executives are under the mistaken impression they get to choose when to adapt to the markets shifting around them. In reality they only have two choices. One, get out ahead of the shift toward streaming video by giving consumers what they actually want, even if that means losing some money in the short term. Or, refuse to adapt, double down on the belief that traditional cable TV is a cash cow that will never die, and watch as smaller, more flexible outfits continue to steal your massive subscriber base out from beneath your feet.

Lest legal publishers think the cord can’t be cut in legal, look at just one legal publication, LexisNexis’ Martindale-Hubbell. A cash cow that relied on law firms paying them into the hundreds of thousands dollars, each, per year, to have their content published and distributed. 

From Martindalle’s peak to being sold off for near nothing with everyone losing their jobs took only five years.

When will legal publishing see its cord cutting – en masse? 

I blogged last week that Bloomberg Law may be playing fast and loose with lawyers’ contributions to Bloomberg. 

I didn’t share the post on LinkedIn and Facebook as I usually do because it was Thanksgiving Eve. I didn’t want to be perceived as being critical of someone over the holiday.

And realistically, everyone had “gone home” for Thanksgiving. Not many business colleagues were going on LinkedIn or Facebook engaging on industry related matters over the holiday weekend.

Today, I realized I hadn’t shared my post so I did so on both of the social networks. Not for reach or traffic, per se, but for relationships — and learning.

I am not a big one to look at web stats and analytics on blog posts. Truth be told, I don’t know where to access my stats.

What I do like is the engagement with people that ensues from blogging. Especially with people I know, people I respect, people I learn from and maybe even people LexBlog has the nor to do business with.

Engaging people means going out where they are – on social networks. Social networks that have powerful algorithms. Surfacing things I am saying – my blog posts – with people whom may have an interest in the subject. 

Immediately after sharing my post at Facebook this afternoon, I engaged a leading public relations and communications professionals via a few comments back and forth. I learned a couple things, including how I might want to frame the ongoing discussion.

Our exchange also strengthened my business relationship with her. It’s not often we get to talk – maybe a conference or two a year. An exchange on social media means a lot.

Over on LinkedIn, I received a note from the head of a major player in legal. She wanted to learn more on the subject. We saw each other for the first time in a long time this fall and this exchange is going to lead to talking again.

If someone asked me what my stats and traffic were on this post, I’d respond, “Why would I care?”

Relationships and hanging with smart people are what I’m after. Engaging two folks (for now, as likely to increase) I  have a lot of respect for is worth all the traffic in the world. 

Understand you need to take your content out to places where people gather and you need to be using those places, regularly, for engagement to ensue. Here, the social networks, LinkedIn and Facebook. 

Fifteen years ago today, I published my first post on this blog, ‘Real Lawyers Have Blogs’ which I call ‘Real Lawyers,’ for short these days.

I had no idea what a blog was. I was interested in finding out what a web based service named TypePad was all about — something I came to understand later to be a web-based blog platform. I had read they expected to have 10,000 paying users within 90 days of their launch – those were AOL numbers in my mind. 

I swiped my credit card for $4.95 a month and I penned my first post and published it – only after reviewing it for a day or two – and I was on my way for the journey of a lifetime.

On Thankgsgiving Day, it’s only apropos that I share what this blog, I and LexBlog are thankful for, as I result of ‘Real Lawyers.’

LexBlog is not a company that decided to have a blog. LexBlog was born from this blog. So bear with me as to who is thanking who.

  1. For all of you readers. Who’d have know that just penning a blog about stuff I thought important and doing nothing to market or promote ‘Real Lawyers’ would atract so many loyal readers. Readers who would come up to me at events telling me how something I penned years before had helped them. There is nothing better than knowing you helped someone. 
  2. For all that we’ve learned from this blog. LexBlog and I have been challenged, given feedback and taught any number of things in response to posts and comments here. And today, on social media discussion about blog posts here. Thanks for caring. 
  3. For the wonderful people I have met. The legal profession includes some of the finest and most decent people in the world. Many who care deeply about changing the world and helping people – even if one client at a time. 
  4. For the places this blog and I have gone. But for ‘Real Lawyers’ I would never have been sitting in the offices of the Law Society in London last month letting them know LexBlog was going to begin doing business in the UK. That’s crazy for a snot nosed kid from a small town. ‘Real Lawyers’ took us to law schools across the States, to Europe, to Bar Assciations, to small firms, to leading legal companies and to the largest law firms in the world. 
  5. For a seat at the table in online and face to face discussions on increasing access to legal services and access to justice.
  6. For the opportunity to help so many lawyers, law firms and law students. Your trust in this blog, LexBlog and I is humbling.
  7. For the company, LexBlog, that ‘Real Lawyers’ gave us, a company that enabled the blog to continue and a company that now employs a lot of people and supports a lot of families, 
  8. For Soby Mathew and Tim Stanley. Without their help, ‘Real Lawyers” and LexBlog would never have happened. I have no idea what I’d be doing today but for the two of them. Tim got me a speaking engagement about blogs for lawyers, something I knew darn little about, in front of an audience that shockingly wanted me to help them with blogs. Soby’s design and development work gave rise to this blog’s first real design and what could only be called first of their kind blog designs for law firms. Without Tim’s support and care, Soby would not have been able to help with this blog and LexBlog. 
  9. For this blog’s and Lexblog’s team, they are one in the same. Fine, decent, caring and talented professionals serving others and growing at the same time. Without this team, this blog, LexBlog and I would be nothing.
  10. For the support of my family. Starting something from scratch that never existing before and offering a product that had not existed before is not for faint of heart. This blog and I thank Mrs. Real Lawyers for putting up with me and LexBlog. In return, in ts fifteen years, this blog has given my family much, including a home filled with family on Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and your family from ‘Real Lawyers’ and I. To another fifteen years.

I received an email from PLI this week letting me know that the url to a piece I cited for a book being published by PLI and authored by the former CMO of a major law firm no longer exists. 

We are checking the proof for…… book, and when I attempted to verify the url for the…… article you cited……, the page no longer exists on (Bloomberg Law). And now looking at the sentence attached to the footnote, I realized this might be a direct quote from……, is that correct? (Currently, it is not in quotes.). Please let me know how you want us to proceed. We cannot include the broken link, but can keep the reference if you can provide another url, or perhaps if you can verify that it does exist on Bloomberg Law (might it only be available to subscribers?), maybe we can provide a general link to Otherwise, can we delete this text regarding……, as we can’t have a quote without a source?

The piece I cited was an article written by the Assistant General Counsel for a $100 Billion multinational corporation who is widely respected in the legal community for his work, writings and speaking.

The article was “precedent” for a point I was making and the source was the only one I was aware of.

I searched Bloomberg Law and could find no reference to the article. I searched the author’s name on Bloomberg Law. expecting to find a page listing all of their articles as I had in the past,  I found two of their articles. The rest were gone.

Turns out the author of this piece and other pieces for Bloomberg had recently contacted Bloomberg and was told, as I recall, that they didn’t have an answer and were working with a new publishing system.

I personally contacted Bloomberg by email earlier this week and received no response. I used Twitter to contact Bloomberg looking for some sort of explanation for my broken link for the PLI article, I received no response. The chat on the site was not active.

Feels like Bloomberg, and in particular Bloomberg Law, is playing fast and loose with leading lawyers who are giving of their time to publish for Bloomberg. If articles are missing and links broken in this case, it must be the case for other lawyers’ articles.

If Bloomberg is asking lawyers to publish for them years on end, admittedly a good way for a lawyer to raise their profile, doesn’t Bloomberg owe the lawyers an explanation in advance that their articles may not be displayed or reachable on search — even if only temporarily?

If the articles will be “moved” to a new location on the Bloomberg site, doesn’t Bloomberg owe it the lawyers to make sure the URL’s for the pieces are rewritten or remapped so that citations of the pieces will not be broken?

Doesn’t Bloomberg owe it to these lawyers not to remove the articles or change the linking structure in a way that displays broken links in that a lawyer’s influence is measured objectively today by search and social algorithms looking at citations to a person’s works? Take way those articles and links and you reduce the influence of the lawyer and their other writings.

Remember that links to those pieces are included in emails, articles, blog posts, seminar presentations — not only from or by the author but by other legal professionals who are practicing and in academia. My guess is that citations to some of the “Bloomberg articles” made it to briefs and, possibly judicial decisions.

Use my example with PLI to understand the context of deleting lawyers’ articles. 

Founded in 1933, PLI, or the Practicing Learning Institute, is one of the leading learning organizations dedicated to keeping attorneys and other professionals at the forefront of knowledge and expertise. 

PLI provides programs delivered by more than 4,000 volunteer faculty including prominent lawyers, judges, investment bankers, accountants, corporate counsel, and U.S. and international government regulators. They publish a comprehensive library of Treatises, Course Handbooks, Answer Books and Journals. 

As with other legal publishers. PLI facilitates the ongoing dialogue and advancement of the law, a profession where precedent founded on citations plays a critical role.

When a legal publisher, as significant as Bloomberg wants to be, says you can’t cite to our works anymore and we won’t provide access any longer to any publications of ours that you may have previously cited, it cuts off dialogue and advancement of the law across the industry, including via leading  publishers and educators such as PLI.

I hope we’ll find in the coming weeks that Bloomberg is taking its role in legal publishing more seriously than it appears from this case – that all of the articles written by lawyers remain and that the url structure will result in no broken links.

Doing some research yesterday afternoon I pulled up a blog post of mine from a few years ago. As is often the case, the post cited a third-party resource and contained the appropriate link to the resource.

The resource I was looking for was a survey conducted by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.

Click on the word “survey” and you’ll see the link is dead. The ABA has taken the survey down or, more likely, redesigned their website without keeping the site architecture intact so as to retain the existing url structure and the validity of incoming links.

I shared on Twitter:

To which Dennis Garcia, Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft, responded:

Garcia, an established leader in technology and innovation in the legal industry, regularly writes for widely read third-party publications.

In addition to legal professionals citing his writings in their blogs, articles and on social media, Garcia is building a personal and professional legacy in his writings. His influence is growing.

Our Twitter discussion continued with my comment.

Feeling insecure that no will otherwise see their content, lawyers and law firms are apt to have their content published on third-party sites – both news sites and content distribution platforms.

The problem comes with the long term visibility and url structure of the content.

Business models of publishers change. Medium has gone through about three and is still not clear on their long term business model.

Companies get acquired with the aquirer changing things up or eliminating most of the product acquired altogether.

More than one current legal blogger has complained that their contributions to ALM, owner of, originally free and open on the web, have now been placed behind a paywall pursuant to a business deal between ALM and LexisNexis.

Two problems there. One, people cannot find this content any longer (was only written for ALM, not the lawyer’s blog) and all of the links citing their commentary are now dead.

Two, links from blogs, articles and social media are important, they are an objective measure of a lawyer’s influence in their field. Take those links away and you take away their influence.

Seems the long term answer is to publish on a platform that you can control. One where you own the domain, the content and the domain mapping for the content should you ever want to migrate the content. 

Getting your content back, alone, without the original url structure, as would be the case with making the third-party poublisher the host of your content, will not cut it. All of the incoming links are dead and you’re starting over from scratch.

Sure, syndicate the content to other places to increase visibility and delivery to a focused audience, just like you syndicate your content through social media, but make your place – your blog or site – the primary site.

When syndicating to third party sites, ask that that your content reference that the piece was originally published on your site or blog. That’ll signal your blog or website as the primary site.

Digital publishing, especially by individuals, is new, this learning process for each of us as to what’s important is only natural.