By Kevin O'Keefe

Blogs make it easier than ever to leave large law firms

Lawyers practicing for 4 to 5 years often feel trapped in their large law firm. A new condo or house, new car, and a lifestyle conducive with being a successful young lawyer requires a regular check and steady work a large law firm feeds you. The fear in leaving is that you’ll have no clients. God knows, nothing in law school prepares you to market as a business entrepreneur.

Blogs have changed all that. A lawyer can leave a large law firm, start a niche law blog on their area of expertise, and have more than enough good paying clients inside of 18 to 24 months. Sure, there’s going to be some belt tightening during this time and likely a line of credit from a bank (they’re happy to loan money to professionals with a work record). But you’ll be out doing what you love with your own clientele.

And I’m not talking of blogging every day or hours at a time. Anyone that tells you that’s required is nuts. I’m talking a blog post or two a week about something you read elsewhere, often linking to existing blogs on the topic so as to draw attention.

You’ll first start picking up clients from the search engines, then people reading on the subject seeing you cited elsewhere, then people seeing you at conferences you were invited to speak as a result of your blog, and then from folks seeing you in the trade and mass media whose reporters contacted you because of your blog.

You’ll also be using your blog as a business development tool in talking with prospective clients and referral sources. You’ll tell these these folks to look at your blog to size up your skill, passion, and expertise in your of expertise. You’ll get their email so they can be subscribed.

No theory here. I talk to lawyers each week who are leaving their firms and starting their own firm. Based on the blogging success of other lawyers, they are going to start their own blogs to bring in the new work they’ll require. And it varies from consumer and small business work to work for sophisticated multi-national clients.

Here again is an excerpt of an email I got from Kristie Prinz this AM responding to my post referencing her yesterday. She either left a larger firm or the firm imploded. I’m not sure which.

I haven’t quite gotten where I aspire to yet with my blog, but you are right that I am making progress. (Not sure what she means when I read on) I met with an IP attorney this evening in town from a large firm in Atlanta, and he was familiar with my blog and asked me about it during the meeting. And I just was contacted two weeks ago by a trade publication in the industry that is interested in working with me on a column for their publication as a result of my blog. Additionally, I was just contacted by a biotech conference in San Diego about a potential speaking opportunity.

Also, I am now being contacted on a regular basis (several times a week) by a reporter for a national publication reporting on the Silicon Valley (although he is calling me about high tech industry questions—not biotech questions). And I am going to be featured on NPR’s Marketplace next month regarding my advice for entrepreneurs—they just flew out here from Boston to interview me. This probably didn’t arise directly from my blog, but perhaps was impacted in some way by it.

So, a lot of good things are happening for me at the moment. It is keeping me busy! Thankfully I have some help now, which really makes a huge difference. I’m starting to feel a lot more on top of my practice than I felt previously when I was trying to do almost everything myself.

You guys one the fence as to whether to make the jump from the large firm, ask around. You’ll find that though it requires some work and gumption, it’s never been easier to market yourself and establish your own client base.

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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