By Kevin O'Keefe

Trying to make a difference

Starting a new company is hard. Long hours. No days off. Time away from the family and the five kids’ sporting events. Placing huge demands on your spouse. Second guessing whether you’re doing the right thing.

Listening to John Edwards convention speech over the radio at work here tonight really hit a chord with me. Senator Edwards said:

Like all of us, I have learned a lot of lessons in my life. Two of the most important are that first, there will always be heartache and struggle—you can’t make it go away. But the other is that people of good and strong will, can make a difference.  One lesson is a sad lesson and the other’s inspiring.  We are Americans and we choose to be inspired.

I am not a member of one party or the other. I vote all over the board. But my Mom always told me to look up to those who worked hard to try to make the world a better place.

I can remember sitting in the front of the black and white and later color TV watching convention speeches while growing up. Whether we agreed with the messenger or not, there was always something inspirational about listening to someone who worked so hard for a cause they believed in. Some of those folks even lost their lives doing so.

May sound nuts, and you may not believe a word I say, but I feel I am working to make the world a better place better by getting good lawyers to publish legal information on blogs for the benefit of not only themselves, but for all Americans.

The Internet is the most powerful communications tool of our lifetimes. The telephone allowed us to communicate with each other. But it’s the Internet that allows these communications to be digitally stored for the benefit of not only the parties at each end of the line but for the benefit of thousands that can retrieve this information in searches on the Internet.

Lawyers simply cannot blow the opportunity they have with the Internet. People, whether consumers or business people, feel the law is inaccessible. The public not only does not trust lawyers – they dislike us. The majority of families will let a legal issue pass before even considering contacting a lawyer to see what their alternatives may be. This ought to shake any good lawyer to their core and make them want to do something about it.

What if there were a way for people and businesses in their family rooms and on their office desktops to receive practical legal information from lawyers for free? The information wouldn’t come from lawyers who write books and who have never practiced law.

This legal information would come from lawyers who felt the pain and struggles of consumers and business people, from lawyers who have helped families preserve an estate for the benefit of their grand children’s college education and from lawyers who helped corporations find their way through the maze of laws and regulations.

It can be done. It is ethical to share general legal information via the Internet without giving specific legal advice. It is possible to publish general legal information about issues you see people face on the Internet without creating an attorney client relationship.

What would be so hard about typing into your computer some helpful information in a paragraph or two a couple times a week? I am sick and tired of lawyers saying they have no time to do this – that’s for someone else. I am sick of lawyers saying I do not know how to write content for the Internet. It takes less than an hour a week. Publishing content to a blog is easy as writing an email.

The benefits are huge. You will feel incredible knowing that you are using your skill, knowledge and experience in your chosen profession to help others. When people go to the search engines looking for legal information on an unique legal topic, the information is going to be all around them. Best of all it is going to come from the most trusted and reliable legal authorities – America’s lawyers.

And because you took the time to contribute information, whether it be on a child visitation issue in Mississippi or a 10b-5 securities matter in the Silicon Valley, you are going to be viewed as a reliable authority and grow your practice. You see, on the Internet, you can have everything you want so long as you help enough other people get what they want.

So for tonight there is struggle and it is going to be a lot of work teaching lawyers how to blog about their area of law. But I know what I am doing is good and worthwhile – and in the long run I can make a difference.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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