Lawyer Lyle Roberts, a partner with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, is the author of The 10b-5 Daily. Lyle’s blog is an example of a great lawyer blog. The blog gets its name, as Lyle says, from Rule 10b-5, a rule promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) pursuant to Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It prohibits, among other things, the making of misleading statements or omissions of material fact in connection with the purchase or sale of any security. It’s the leading statutory basis for private securities fraud claims.
Lyle leads the litigation group in the firm’s Reston, Virginia offices – thus he’s living proof that a successful lawyer in a leading large firm can publish a heck of a blog. Lyle has an edge on folks like me though, being a former U.S. Court of Appeals clerk, having been published by the University of Chicago Law Review and presently teaching in law school.
The only thing he’s lacking is a professional design from lexBlog, though we can’t hold that against him having started his blog about a year before we ever existed. What makes his blog a good one?
Focus on niche area of law
The title tells it all plus Lyle tells us in the blog FAQ’s (a nice feature itself):
The 10b-5 Daily is devoted to tracking news and events relating to securities class actions brought on behalf of investors against companies, with an emphasis on judicial developments. These cases typically allege that the company, through its officers and/or directors, made false or misleading statements to the market that artificially inflated the company?s stock price. The class consists of investors who purchased the company?s stock during the class period at the artificially inflated price.
Although the author of The 10b-5 Daily represents the defendants in these cases, the weblog is designed to be a general resource and cooperative effort. Many of The 10b-5 Daily’s readers and contributors are attorneys who work in plaintiffs’ firms.
Background info on him and his law firm
Publishing a blog should be done in part to enhance one’s reputation as an authority in your area of practice. So don’t hide what you and your law firm do.
Lyle tells us what he does:
My practice consists of defending public corporations in class actions, derivative actions, and SEC enforcement actions. I also counsel clients with respect to securities regulatory issues, including listing and delisting on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
He tells us a bit about his law firm:
Wilson Sonsini has the leading securities litigation defense practice in the country, having defended more than 250 securities class actions over the last decade. The Virginia office team consists of seven attorneys and, since the founding of the office in 2000, has been extremely successful in obtaining the dismissal of securities class actions brought against issuers (including a 4 for 4 record in the Fourth Circuit). The office has handled cases throughout the eastern United States, including in Florida, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Both of these areas are covered in his blog FAQ’s. My only critique here, and it’s not much of one, would be to make it clear on the blog template where someone gets info on what you and your law firm do.
Basic info on the law
A good blog is focused on a niche area. In addition to ‘blogging’ news and legal updates, readers drawn to the blog will be looking for basic legal information. Lyle briefly addresses:
- Why does The 10b-5 Daily mostly discuss motions to dismiss and settlements?
- What is the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act?
In addition he has a nice set of links to law sites with information on the topic.
Writes to his target audience
Lyle tells us upfront in his faq’s that most of the readers of The 10b-5 Daily are lawyers, but that there are also a significant number of investors, corporate officers, insurance professionals, and others who visit regularly. He writes in lay person’s terms as opposed to writing for a law periodical.
Filter on topic for audience
Good lawyer blogs act as a filter for news & updates on a niche area. That way the audience relies on the lawyer to get their news on the topic. At that point the lawyer is a trusted authority – people do not get their news from people they don’t trust.
Lyle acknowledges The 10b-5 Daily does not summarize every aspect of the material it discusses. He says:
The 10b-5 Daily is designed to act as a filter for items related to securities class action litigation. Readers should not assume that the summaries of articles, cases, legislation, or settlements are complete (or even particularly thorough in what they do cover). The focus here is on what the author of The 10b-5 Daily finds interesting, which may be entirely different from what another person who reads the same material would find interesting.
Can receive updates via e-mail
RSS will soon be used by everyone. We’re not there yet so allow readers to get updates by email by subscribing to your blog. Lyle gives us a link on each page to a page telling us how. Only critique here would be to automate with an email subscribe box on each page that on submitting their email would give subscribers an email alert to respond to in order to activate their subscription. With Moveable Type having some glitches in their system to do this, we understand Lyle handling each subscription by hand – plus he does it with some nice text.
My biggest critique is that readers of The 10b-5 Daily are unable to post comments. But as Lyle says a public discussion area must be constantly monitored to remove spam comments and that he would rather spend his limited free time posting. Lyle still does get input from others by encouraging them “to send in comments, links, or any other information of interest to The 10b-5 Daily via e-mail.”
Spam has been an awful for good blogs like Lyle’s but Moveable Type 3.0 may help. It offers a nice feature that allows for approving comments before they go live. In addition once a commenter is approved, their comments flow through automatically if desired.
Lawyers looking to learn to blog could do a lot worse than studying Lyle Roberts’ 10B-5 Daily. It’s an excellent law blog.
Thanks Lyle for allowing me to take liberty with your blog, especially when I never asked.