Just write, says marketing guru, author and speaker, Seth Godin.

Godin is spot on when it comes to lawyers – and law firms.

People with writer’s block don’t have a problem typing. They have a problem living with bad writing, imperfect writing, writing that might expose something that they fear.

And how do you overcome this fear?

The best way to address this isn’t to wait to be perfect. Because if you wait, you’ll never get there.

The best way to deal with it is to write, and to realize that your bad writing isn’t fatal.

Perfection is the enemy of innovation and business development. Just ask any legal tech entrepreneur or successful CEO.

You need to move now and be ready to iterate based on what you learn.

I pen blog posts and go back and look at them more closely after I share the posts on social media and see that people are reading them. I occasionally get feedback on grammar and spelling via email and social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I proof my copy before I hit the publish button, but I’m not freaked out about reaching perfection.

Blogging is business development – networking through the Internet.

If you were networking offline – talking to people at a conference or a social event – you’d be professional, but fear about the words and sentences you used would not stop you from talking.

Your blog will never have lower readership than the day you start. If you’re worried about how you “sound,” take solace in the fact that not that many people are reading.

Like any activity or sport, you’re not going to be great when you start. Let alone great, you’re not even going to feel satisfied with how you’re doing in the beginning.

It takes time to develop your own style of blogging, your own voice. If it takes a year or more, that’s fine. You’re out engaging people and building a name – something ninety-nine percent of your peers are not doing.

I’ll never forget Rebecca Blood writing in The Weblog Handbook, almost twenty years ago, that “You can blog bad, but for only so long.”

Her point being that your blogging improves by just blogging.

It was sixteen years ago, following my introduction to the Legal Marketing Association in San Francisco as the “national leader on blogs for lawyers,” that I realized there could be an opportunity to start a “law blog company.”

At the conclusion of my talk, law firm leaders came up and asked, “Can you help me and my firm.” I was thinking, “Help you do what? Set up a blog on Typepad by paying a $4.95 a month subscription as I was?”

But I bit my tongue, realizing practicing lawyers were not going to do anything, especially something as high profile as blogging without knowing what they were doing, without knowing they were acting in a professional fashion and without knowing the ROI for their time.

It was clear that lawyers needed strategic consulting, more than anything else, to begin blogging and for their blogging to succeed as a business development tool.

So “Strategic Consulting,” became the first of seven steps in LexBlog’s “Professional Turnkey Blog Solution.”

LexBlog’s reworking the delivery of this strategic consulting, I have been asked by my team to identify one, what our strategic consulting covers and two, what information we should request of our lawyers and firms before our consultation.

I’m being asked because I am going to do these consultations. I enjoy helping lawyers and firms achieve blogging success.

Knowing what it takes to blog effectively and strategically as a legal blogger, I can help formulate both goals and a plan for a achieving these goals.

An outline (rough one) for strategic consulting on legal blogging includes the below.

What are the goals for the blog?

  • Grow revenue?
  • Update existing clients?
  • New method of publishing intellectual capital that is already being published?
  • Looking to grow into new area of the law or vertical for the lawyer/firm?
  • Who is the audience?

Agree on goals?

  • Building a name/reputation for the lawyers/firm?
  • Building relationships for the lawyers/firm?
  • Local, state, national or international name/reputation?
  • How will we measure these goals?
  • If a bump in revenue, how much, and by when?

The blog’s focus.

  • Too general?
  • Good niche?
  • Focus represent a strong opportunity?
  • An area not otherwise covered?
  • Have advantages of a further niche been explored?
  • Will the blog’s focus help the law/firm realize its goals?

Passion for blogging in this area.

  • Is there passion for this area, this niche?
  • Principal blogger(s) have this passion?
  • Can we live without this passion?

Blogging experience

  • Blogged before?
  • Who?
  • Focus?
  • Success in growing in business?

Branding

  • Title (not nearly as important as the above items)
  • Url
  • Publisher
  • Design (notice design, though needing to be professional and to complement style guides and color palettes is not at the top of the last)

This represents my first crack at what needs to covered in a strategic blogging consultation. There will additions and medications.

Information we should be gathering before the consultation includes the blow.

  • Principal contributors to the blog? Need not include everyone that may be listed at some point. Looking the driving forces behind the blog.
    • Names
    • LinkedIn and law firm profile page links
  • Focus of the blog?
    • Area of the law?
    • Vertical/industry?
    • Geographic area?
  • Goal of the blog?
    • Grow business?
    • Update existing clients?
    • Other?
  • How will you measure if the goal has been achieved?
    • Build a name/reputation? If so, how and when will success be measured?
    • Grow revenue? By whom? If so, by what sum/percent? By when?
  • Current reputation in this niche?
  • Are the lawyers/firm already publishing on this subject? If so, where?
    • Other firm publication?
    • Email newsletters?
    • Third party publications?
  • Possible title and url for blog.
  • General design preferences (Design discussion will be separate).

Again, these are my thoughts on the questions we need to ask lawyers and firms before hand to make such a strategic consultation a productive one. All subject to revision.

The Internet has been around for over twenty-five years as a business development tool for lawyers.

Early lawyers to the Internet built reputations and business, not with websites – they came later – but by networking through the Internet.

Networking meaning seeing where people gathered online, where they asked questions, where people exchanged information. The lawyers jumped in and helped.

Lawyers used Listserv’s, message boards, bulletin board systems and online communities, including America Online, Prodigy and Compuserv.

Those of us using the Internet and these mediums made hay on the business development front by networking through the Internet.

Other lawyers had not a clue, they had no idea how the Internet worked to build a reputation and land clients in our niches.

I was getting clients typically reserved for the larger firms with bigger names and far bigger marketing and communications budgets.

These lawyers couldn’t even see what we were doing. We were operating below the surface. We had a monopoly when it came to people and businesses seeking legal help in our niche areas of the law.

These were the golden days of business development through the Internet.

Before law firm websites. Before SEO, before “content marketing,” before newsletters, before web analytics measuring traffic and before social media.

How did lawyers and law firms achieve business development on the Internet then?

The smart lawyers, there were not that many, knew how to network through the Internet. They know how to go where other lawyers had not gone before – and where that vast majority of lawyers were not going.

Over twenty years later, Covid-19 and the pandemic represents the same opportunity for lawyers.

While most lawyers will be using the same tired tactics, with slight modifications, that they have been using for the last decade or more, smart lawyers will wake up.

They’ll ask how can I behave like the technology companies who are making hay during the pandemic by delivering solutions and products that businesses and people need now, not five years from now.

Tech companies are going to do more in the next year than they planned to do in the next four years. They have to.

Smart lawyers will realize they need to do exactly that. To do more business development – in a unique way – in the next eighteen months than they planned to do in the next ten years – if ever.

Business development success measured by the bottom line in six figures and seven figures of new revenue, per lawyer.

Researching what lawyers need to do for business during pandemic I found:

  • Call clients more often
  • Improve CRM systems
  • Do webinars
  • Write a business plan
  • Use social media

That’s just a taste of the same old, same old. All okay, but things we all can agree are not unique – and certainly being used en masse before Covid-19.

Lawyers need to get below the surface. To network through the Internet in ways in which others have not a clue.

These lawyers are going to develop big books of business in niche areas of the law without ever leaving their home office or family room.

How so? Go back to the early days of the net. Focus on a niche reputation. Focus on developing strategic relationships.

Focus on getting the right platform, the right strategic consulting and the right support, not for marketing, in general, but in networking through the Internet.

I have a dog in this hunt.

Before social media, content marketing and web analytics, LexBlog realized that effective – and strategic – blogging was a killer approach to networking through the Internet for lawyers.

An approach measured by clear reputation and revenue goals.

What was the goal at one year? What was the goal at year two? Maybe define the goal as a life changing for individual lawyers – young or old.

Sixteen years in and blogging’s very unique role in business development has been watered down a bit. Shame on us.

LexBlog started to compete on our platform itself – the technology, the support and the syndication. All needed, but not what drives success for lawyers.

We drifted from doing what it takes to help make rockstars by tapping into the passion, smarts, care and experience of talented lawyers.

So it’s not just smart lawyers who can make hay during the pandemic, it’s LexBlog as well.

In reply to one of my recent Facebook posts about living downtown Seattle during the protests and pandemic, someone said they would NEVER live downtown Seattle. There is no infrastructure — grocery stores, dry cleaners, schools etc to support families living downtown.

I couldn’t let this slide by and mislead those not familiar with downtown Seattle.

People, of course, like different places. I have lived on seven acres on the edge of a small town, in the heart of a town on a park and on an island, where my five kids walked four blocks to school – and to a ferry to catch a major league ballgame downtown, while in their early teens.

But downtown Seattle is a great place to live.

I have a top of the line grocery store six blocks away – I walk to it. Another tier one grocer is opening two blocks away. If I need something faster, AmazonGo is across the street and Bartells, a large drugstore ala Walgreens, is under me.

My dry cleaner is one block away – or my dry cleaning is picked up and delivered back, at no extra cost, with everyone else’s in my building.

Restaurants, coffee shops, shopping, theatre and the arts are all a short walk away. A ten minute walk up to Capitol Hill opens up even more.

World class healthcare is five blocks away. I walk to all of my doctor’s appointments.

Running is great – up Fifth Avenue around the Seattle Center, along the waterfront through the Sculpture Park, around Pioneer Square or through Volunteer Park or the Arboretum. My health club is one floor down.

Out of town guests, business or personal, stay in the heart of town where they, too, can walk out the door to get everywhere they want to go.

My five kids, all living in Seattle, but a little further out, can get to my place in ten or fifteen minutes.

Business meetings and the office are within blocks.

I walk out the door and I am at the airport in 15 minutes via Lyft, or 35 minutes via light rail.

Major league sports are a ten minute walk.

I have come to enjoy life mostly without a car while people living out of the city center seem to drive everywhere, sitting at red lights and in traffic.

I enjoy the diversity of the people and their economic status. It’s opening my eyes to things I did not appreciate.

We’ve hit a hard time downtown. Seattle has never in its history seen anything like the pandemic, the protests and the riots. No question downtown is different than four months ago – a lot of places are, for today.

But downtown Seattle can be a very nice place to live – and I’ll confess I’m proud to call it home.

I shared my thoughts a couple weeks as to how legal bloggers and LexBlog, in combination, could help people facing legal issues arising out of the pandemic.

Our thoughts have jelled into an actionable plan that lawyers, associations, law firms, and LexBlog have put in motion.

Here’s the need, the plan, and the action being taken.

The people facing legal issues arising out of the pandemic include consumers, small business people, large corporations, associations, government agencies, and other legal professionals. All of us.

And their need for information will continue for years to come.

Issues never faced before are requiring the interpretation of codes, regulations, and case law as applicable to a pandemic. Pandemic law was never taught in law school.

To get this information, insight, and advocacy takes lawyers with niche expertise and lawyers with a desire to learn a new niche. Blogging lawyers.

  • We need to aggregate Covid-19 related legal blog posts from existing bloggers.
  • We need to get more lawyers blogging on all the many legal issues going uncovered.
  • We need to make it easy for legal professionals to share what they know – and what they’re learning on blogs.
  • We need to make this insight and information open and accessible.
  • We need to have searchable databases of this information by jurisdiction.
  • We need to syndicate this information to relevant publications, sources, organizations, and jurisdictions.

We’re deploying the LexBlog blog publishing and syndication platform like never before.

  • A special mobile-first blog like I am using – with our entire turnkey platform and free support – is free for six months to all lawyers who are members of bar associations participating in #Blog4Good. Only $39.99 a month thereafter – we worked to keep the price less than the WordPress business plan lawyers are using.
  • Lawyers not in a participating association may now receive a LexBlog blog – including our entire turnkey solution and free support – for only $39.99 a month.
  • “Syndication Portals” are being built for each state in which a bar association is not already running a portal.
  • “Portals” aggregate all legal blog content into a quasi digital magazine featuring the best and most relevant blog posts on a constant basis. “Portals” include original copy as well. Each “Portal” includes profiles of the contributing lawyers, their blog, and their firm.
  • “Portals” will be built and deployed by law firms with a good number of existing blogs. Such portals will aggregate and curate blog posts coming from various firm blogs. Such portals may include all posts or posts limited to Covid-19 related issues.
  • Portals enable lawyers in the firm or anyone to reach have a searchable database from which to access the firm’s knowledge they did not know was there. Nice business development tool for sharing proactively (email) with client knowledge/resources from the firm.
  • Each portal provides a searchable database of Covid-19 related legal insight – by firm or jurisdiction.
  • LexBlog’s Coronavirus Legal Daily aggregates all of the content, showcases lawyers, law firms, and blogs – and provides a nationwide database of Covid-19 legal content.

We’re moving.

  • LexBlog has built seventeen state portals and is now on schedule to build five a week. See the maps and checklists on our #Blog4Good campaign roadmap.
  • The New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) launched its portal, NYC Bar Insights,  yesterday
  • As part of NYCBA’s member benefits program, LexBlog has already received dozens of lawyer inquiries looking to blog on niches – on free blogs.
  • Sheppard Mullin and Proskauer have launched portal sites with a large aggregation of Covid-19 insight. Sheppard Mullin Coronavirus Insights, Sheppard Mullin In the Know, and Proskauer Coronavirus Insights
  • Bar Associations in Illinois, Texas, Arizona, and Wisconsin have launched portals with Covid-19 posts.
  • We’re beginning calls to associations and law firms as their portals are built so they’re included in #Blog4Good.

And LexBlog make it easy for everyone.

  • Cost will not be an impediment to helping people. LexBlog will make certain that legal professionals, law firms, and associations have the opportunity to help, no matter their available resources.
  • Education on blogging – and it how blogging can be easy – will be provided. Legal Blogging, A Chapter Day, is already running on my Facebook Live at 11 PT each morning. The videos will be transcribed and run on LexBlog’s YouTube channel. Bob Ambrogi is writing a blog post a week on LexBlog’s Blogging at LexBlog.
  • Blogging can feel intimidating. We’ll make it easier by sharing the questions needing answers for consumers and businesses. Think FAQ’s and this can be done for state and metros.

#Blog4Good is not about LexBlog.  We’re just tapping into the energy, passion, and desire to help of legal professionals, everywhere.

One, for the information itself, and two, so people can find the lawyers who understand the issue and who can help them. We’re going to see lawyers help in the years to come like we never have before.

We already have thousands of legal professions blogging about Covid-19 issues already on the LexBog network and LexBlog’s Coronavirus Legal Daily. They’re generating upwards of three hundred Covid-19 related posts a day.

We’re now ratcheting things up a little for the benefit of people facing challenges.

Bottom line, it’s an honor for my team to help the legal profession and the people we serve.

Someone asked me my thoughts on virtual conferences vis a vis typical conferences we’ve always had before March of this year. They were doing an article for a publication. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.

Those of you that know me know that I am a people person. I enjoy social interaction and have found legal technology and publishing conferences over the last twenty-five years to be fun, inspiring and rewarding.

But I’m very pro virtual conferences. There’s no question that virtual conferences can bring energy, excitement and learning opportunities on the topic and cause of conference and the hosting associations.

Virtual conferences also democratize conferences – and this is big, if your focus is giving.

Most top shelf live conferences are limited to an exclusive group of people who can afford the cost of registration, airfare, hotel rooms, and in some cases, childcare. Assuming a person can personally cover all those – and most cannot, they will attend few conferences – maybe one a year.

Virtual conferences democratize the process. Younger professionals can learn and gain passion about their work from some of the better people in their field. They can easily connect with these folks, follow them and be mentored by them via social media.

I was told by a good younger lawyer a month ago that they were totally jazzed after attending day one of RocketMatter and Larry Port’s two day virtual conference.

What did he like most? He could be there. He told me he’d never get the chance to learn from the quality of speakers and companies Larry had at his conference — attended by over five hundred legal professionals. He couldn’t have afforded to go.

This lawyer shared that virtual conferences were going to enable him to attend more top shelf conferences. How cool is that.

He got me so fired up, I attended the second day. I enjoyed it, left jazzed and impressed by how well the conference was run — and saw the opportunities for virtual conferences in the days ahead.

Might be a better return for companies exhibiting too as the set up for companies talking to attendees at this virtual conference was pretty slick.

Personally, I would go to more conferences if more were virtual.

I’d also expand the topics and industries. I go to legal industry related conferences because that’s where my customers are. But I’d probably better serve my customers by attending publishing, digital media, and tech conferences outside legal. I’d learn more and bring back more ideas for products and solutions of value to my customers.

I would also meet people I would not have met otherwise met through virtual conferences – it’s the sheer number of attendees and conferences I would be attending.

For associations and conference hosts, it’s also time to become realistic.

There will be no large conferences this year and it’s very possible it will be the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022 before we have ever large conferences.

Dr. Anthony Fauci testified this morning it will be a year or two before we have a vaccine for the virus. I don’t see large conferences without it.

Finally, good products for conducting virtual conferences will be created. Necessity and opportunity is the mother of invention in technology.

And these solutions will not be built by people who have run conferences of the past, they’ll be developed by innovative people without blinders on. I am real optimistic we’ll see some great stuff on virtual conference solutions.

I spoke about the pandemic’s impact on law firm business development with Jack Newton, the co-founder and CEO of Clio, a couple weeks ago.

The emphasis was – at least for me – that this is the time to be as different and unique as possible. Being the same as other lawyers and you may not survive – literally.

What’s does it mean to be different? It can be as simple as doing something that no other lawyer in your town or state is doing.

Let’s take a Workers Compensation law practice.

People are not working, so they’re unlikely to get hurt. Administration claims may be slowed or stopped, so getting claims resolved has become near impossible. Defense lawyers can defend those claims not moving forward.

At the same time, hundreds of healthcare workers are being sickened by COVID-19. Here’s a story on such healthcare workers in the State of Washington, alone.

Publish a blog for the State of Washington healthcare workers COVID-19 workers compensation claims. You will quickly become the leading resource on the subject.

People will find the blog by Google and word of the blog will spread by word of mouth from healthcare worker to healthcare worker and  family members to others, including healthcare workers.

Forget landing new cases, that may may well happen. But think “I’m am people helping on the front lines in the fight against the pandemic. I am making a real difference right from my family room. This is why I became a lawyer.”

Workers compensation lawyer? This is not hard nor terribly time consuming.

  • You have the core knowledge of workers compensation.
  • Put up a blog site on a site that is separate from your website and any other blog. Make it a real and authentic publication dedicated to healthcare workers in your state. That’s not a marketing website nor blog. Time to give.
  • LexBlog will give you such a site, with coaching, consulting, hosting and free support for thirty-some dollars a month on our #Blog4Good program. Don’t have any resources, it’s free.
  • Make a list of all the frequently asked questions you and your team can think of. Turn the questions and answers into a one post (brief article) each. Some of our successful bloggers over the last 16 years just answered questions one post at a time.
  • Look around the net for relevant FAQ’s. Use the questions, you’ll need to draft the answers.
  • Look at your state’s department of labor or workers compensation site. Use their content in posts. Organize it better. Break it into more digestible pieces. Such government content is not password protected.

LexBlog will help.

  • We’ll get up a national site on COVID-19 workers comp claims for healthcare workers and do relevant profiling work for you.
  • We can coordinate a network for the exchange of information between lawyers.
  • We can provide counsel and support for you.

Already have a comp blog. Get it in LexBlog. It’s free, We’ll curate the content anyone and now do it for people with COVID injuries.

I started just saying to be different. Along the way, I thought of comp blogs for healthcare workers with COVID-19.  Is it a big area that needs to be addressed? It seems so, but what do I know.

But even if it’s small number of people (and that would be great) you would be helping some people in real need. People who are putting their lives to help people.

Good things come to lawyers who help others – and you’ll be building a name as a caring and experienced lawyer who can be trusted. That’s an asset you’ll carry for years.

Be different. #Blog4Good

 

I’ve been noodling on ways that my at LexBlog team and I can help people impacted by the pandemic. That’s most everyone on the world.

You’re getting my thinking out loud on the ways LexBlog can help by quick iteration of our existing technology and harnessing the passion and expertise of legal professionals. It’s the latter who’ll drive this.

Who are the people we can help? Consumers, small business people, corporations, government agencies, fellow legal professionals and more.  We all have legal issues and a need for information and insight arising out of the pandemic – and likely will for years to come. We also need to know know where to turn for help.

Interpretation will be required of existing codes, regulations and case law on matters never anticipated by legislatures and judges. Add to that the executive and agency orders coming down from the states and the federal government.

It takes lawyers with niche expertise, or the desire to learn, to provide the needed interpretation, guidance and advocacy.

We need to make it easy for legal professionals to share what they know. We need to make this insight and information open and accessible. We need to syndicate this informant to relevant publications and sources.

One, for the information itself, and two, so people can find the lawyers who understand the issue and who can help. We’re going to see lawyers help in the years to come like we never have before.

Like tech and pharmaceutical companies iterating from what they already have, for testing, treatment and vaccines, so as to bring products to to market as soon as possible, LexBlog can take what we have – years of iterative software development – and bring new products to market as soon as possible.

We may not be saving lives, but we can quickly bring products to market that can help people impacted by the pandemic.

Here’s how.

  • LexBlog has one of the best, if not the best, content aggregation and curation technology solutions around. This technology has been developed and deployed over time. First, to run LexBlog.com and then to run our Content Portal product for the syndication of relevant content.
  • With it, LexBlog is aggregating as much, if not more, pandemic related legal information and insight (in the form of the blog posts) as anyone. Three hundred posts a day and growing. Talk about caring legal professionals, here they are – in spades.
  • At the the time the pandemic hit the States, our aggregation technology was reaching its capacity. In a Boston meeting at the end of February between Scott Fennell, our leading developer, and I, Scott explained that we’ve reached the limit of aggregating blogs not running on LexBlog’s publishing platform. Not only would the process of adding blogs be slowed, but syndication performance would be hampered.
  • We’d been working on building our own aggregation technology for awhile, rather than continuing to use the most powerful third party aggregation technology available. With the pandemic, we wanted to aggregate and syndicate more data – content, with relevant metadata. The team quickly completed its development, testing and launch of our own aggregator.
  • Faced with filtering content by subject (virus related), versus sources (a blog), as we have in the past, the team then developed a new filtering system in five days. The next step is sentiment or text analysis of content to understand what a piece of content, and its parts, are addressing.
  • Though our Syndication Portal has been used by state bar associations (Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin), law firms and recent associations wanted to modify the appearance and features of the Portal for the aggregation and curation of pandemic related blog posts. In less than a week the team did the necessary work for the Sheppard Mullin pandemic site (aggregates all of their pandemic posts from ay source) and major metro bar pandemic site that will go live on Wednesday. The team did this through the development of additional options in widgets to the theme so we can scale for continuing and expanding use.
  • The bar associations and other associations we’re already working with and talking with wanted to provide low cost publishing platforms – blogs or spots – for lawyers to share pandemic related information. Over the last week, the team worked on a turnkey blogging solution and site that we expect to sell for thirty-some dollars a month. Spots can be provided at a comparable price for publishing directly to association portals and LexBlog.

Leveraging our evolving technology, here’s how I think we can help people:

  • Tap into the energy, passion and desire to help of legal professionals – don’t underestimate the power of good.
  • We have thousands of legal professions blogging about pandemic issues on our network.
  • Get the legal bloggers not on our network onto our network. It costs them nothing. The visibility and knowing they’re contributing to the public good is more than enough reason for them to get their blogs on the network. This is for law firm blogs and the blogs of individual legal professionals.
  • Get non participating blogs in LexBlog data base – lawyers, law firms, associations and companies. Expands the data base.
  • Curate Covid blog posts (writing about covid) at LexBlog (most every post). Large data base. Inspiration and recognition of the lawyers – profiles of them, their firms and their publishing.
  • Curate Covid blog posts per each larger law firm so that the lawyers in the firm have a searchable data base from which to access the firm’s knowledge they did not know was there. Nice business development tool for sharing proactively (email) with clients knowledge/resources from the firm. Curated publication ideally runs on a separate site ala Sheppard Mullin’s COVID-19 Insights.
  • We’ll begin contacting each of the large firms whose Covid content is not in our data base.
  • Curate Covid blog posts by state, via state bar and major metro bar associations. All but two bar associations have Covid related information. I’m not sure that any of them, other than the five running our portal product, are automatically feeding the information with lawyer’s insight from their state or metro area.
  • We’ll begin contacting each of the State and Metro Bars to make sure they’re offering their lawyers’ insight to the public like this.
  • Empower lawyers, law firms, law students and other legal professionals who want to contribute —  get them blogs and spots. Lawyers want to help whoever they can. Bar associations, law schools and other organizations can be good partners to share word of the opportunity.
  • Provide education on how to help. Blogging can feel intimidating so can writing an article for direct contribution to a portal or LexBlog. LexBlog can make this easier by sharing the questions we needed answered for consumers and business. Think FAQ’s and this can be state and metro’s. The early legal web was built on lawyers helping people via FAQ’s. My first company, Prairielaw, had a ton of FAQ’s by area of the law and jurisdiction. So did lawyers.com when we expanded FAQ’s upon LexisNexis’ acquisition of Prairielaw. Great early legal bloggers kept track of the questions they and their staff got from clients and prospective clients.
  • Cost should never be an impediment to helping people. LexBlog will work with legal professionals, law firms and associations to make certain that they have the opportunity to help people.

More to come – and how about #Blog4Good as a hashtag.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s morning briefings have become a staple for many, New Yorkers or not, on the state of  the pandemic.

Sunday morning Governor Cuomo ended with a story that he said taught him a lot.

A story that taught him to question why we do what we do. To question the bureaucracy. To ask why we can’t do it a different way. Not everything has to be the way it is.

Cuomo was of course referencing bringing New York back from the depths of this pandemic,  for which he made clear the worst days are behind.

His message struck me as equally appropriate to a couple things near and dear to my heart.

One, our attempts to provide consumers and small business people meaningful access to legal services – especially during the pandemic and the years ahead. We need to question the way things have been done and the bureaucracy that holds change back.

Despite years of debate and “action,” we have 85% of people never thinking of using a lawyer when a legal need arises.

Two, legal publishing, where the Internet has democratized everything – for the benefit of legal professionals and the public. We need to question gatekeepers controlling what gets published,  the practice of charging lawyers for distribution of their work and charging for access to legal insight and commentary.

We need to question the way things have been done. To question the bureaucracy. To ask, why not do this? Why not try that?

From Governor Cuomo:

“There’s a tunnel in New York called the L train tunnel. People in New York City know it very well. It’s a tunnel that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn and 400,000 people use this train in this tunnel, 400,000 people is a larger group than many cities in this country have.

Okay, so they had to close down the tunnel because the tunnel was old and the tunnel had problems and everybody looked at it and they said, “We have to close down the tunnel.”

Four hundred thousand people couldn’t get to work without that train and they had all these complicated plans on how they were going to mitigate the transportation problem in different buses, in different cars, in different bikes, in different horses.

The whole alternative transportation discussion went on for years. Everyone said you had to close the tunnel and it was going to be closed for 15 to 18 months. Now when government says it’s going to be closed for 15 to 18 months, I hear 24 months to the rest of your life.

That’s my governmental cynicism, but that was the plan. We’re going to close it down, rebuild the tunnel, 15 months to 18 months, the MTA.

This was going to be a massive disruption. I heard a lot of complaints.

I get a few smart people, Cornell engineers, Columbia engineers. We go down into the tunnel and we look at it and the engineers say, “You know what? There’s a different way to do this.” And they talk about techniques that they use in Europe and they say, not only could we bring these techniques here and we wouldn’t have to shut down the tunnel at all, period.

We could just stop usage at nights and on weekends and we can make all of the repairs and we can do it with a partial closure for 15 months.

The opposition to this new idea was an explosion. I was a meddler, I didn’t have an engineering degree. They were outside experts. How dare you question the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy knows better.

It was a thunderstorm of opposition, but we did it anyway and we went ahead with it and we rebuilt the tunnel and the tunnel is a now done better than before. With all of these new techniques, it opens today. It opens today and the proof is in the pudding, right?

We went through this period of, I don’t believe it, this is interference. It opened today and it opens today, not in 15 months, but actually in only 12 months of a partial shutdown, so it’s ahead of schedule. It’s under budget and it was never shut down.

I relay this story because you can question and you should question why we do what we do. Why do we do it that way?

I know that’s how we’ve always done it, but why do we do it that way and why can’t we do it a different way? Why not try this? Why not try that?

People don’t like change. We think we like change, but we don’t really like change. We like control more than anything, right?

So it’s hard. It’s hard to make change. It’s hard to make change in your own life, let alone on a societal collective level.

But if you don’t change, you don’t grow. And if you don’t run the risk of change, you don’t have the benefit of advancement.

Not everything out there has to be the way it is.

So we just went through this wild period where people are walking around with masks, not because I said too, but because they understand they need to. How do we make it better? How do we make it better?

And let’s use this period to make it better. And let’s use this period to do just that. And we will, and we’ll reimagine and we’ll make it a reality because we are New York tough, and smart, and disciplined, and unified, and loving, and because we know that we can. We know that we can. We showed that we can.”

The LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group grew by over one hundred members from eighteen different countries in the last day.

Egypt, Poland, India, US, Canada, UK, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Romania, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria, Argentina and Columbia. Amazing.

My teammates and I at LexBlog, moderators of the Legal Blogging Group for the last twelve years, are going to work to restore the group to a valuable place for insight, ideas and networking.

In approving requests to join, I was more liberal than usual. I want to help people during the pandemic who want to join and be open to the fact that people from various walks of life and various countries can help each other during these tough times.

I looked at the member’s profile who was requesting to join the group – what they did, what their background is, how they would benefit from the group and how they might offer value to the group.

I sent a personalized note requesting to connect with each new member to whom I was not connected to. Notes, thanks and some engagement followed.

Made me realize that in this pandemic that my new connections in India or Poland were as close as someone down the street – and that my engagement with them was just as real.