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Blogs not for large law firms? Stroock’s communications director missing the boat

James Ponichtera, a lawyer and communications director at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, told Law.com’s Legal Technology that blogs are not appropriate for large firms such as his, with 350 lawyers.

I’m not hostile to the idea of law firm blogs, I’m just not inspired by it. It just doesn’t seem like a good fit for us. I can see it being extremely useful to a small firm. But blogs require a lot of maintenance to keep the content fresh, and you need a unified voice. Before you launch, you need to be able to commit to frequent, meaningful updates. People check blogs on a daily basis. If you’re not going to update every day, you’re not going to be a good resource.

Not sure where Ponichtera pulled that one out of the air. He either does not keep up on how to effectively market a law firm on the Internet or doesn’t care about showcasing the expertise of the firm’s lawyers. Fess up to that and you wouldn’t or shouldn’t have a job long.

Large law firms, larger than Strook, are using Blogs. LexBlog client Sheppard Mullin, with over 400 lawyers, will soon have seven blogs published by various practice groups. They are doing it, for among other reasons, to replace PDF newsletters which were expensive to produce and to get their content indexed on the search engines. Ponichtera should note Sheppard Mullin’s Antitrust Law Blog, updated once a month, received such a favorable response from their target audience that it will now be updated twice a month – no where near the daily basis he sayid is required.

LexBlog is working with a number AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 250 law firms on blogs, some sites currently live on the net and others in the works. What attracts large law firms to blogs?

  • Content can be found on the net. Storing content in PDF’s like at Strook (man, I am being way too hard on these guys but just making a point) makes it impossible for the content to be found on the world’s library – the Internet (where everyone goes).
  • Content is indexed and optimized by subject and locale for the Search engines. This makes it easy for the firm to be found by the 70% of corporate execs and in-house counsel using the Internet during the firm selection process. Indexing all of a law firm’s articles, newsletters and alerts under the firm’s name (like Strook) or under ‘articles’ means Internet users would have to search for the firm’s names accompanied by the word ‘articles,’ newsletters or ‘alerts.’
  • Cost savings. No more formatting pdf’s. No more using design and development people. Content once approved by the lawyers can be published by staff to a pre-formated custom design. The cost of email newsletter systems is eliminated as blog updates can be sent by email.
  • Easier to get lawyers to write content as posts are much shorter than articles.
  • Greater exposure for firm’s lawyers resulting in more press coverage, speaking engagements and the like.

It’s scary when people out of touch with Innovative legal marketing make statements like this.

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