By Kevin O'Keefe

Five Questions: Arnie & Lori Herz

This week’s installment of LexBlog’s “Five Questions” feature differs from its predecessors, in that it includes responses from two of our clients. Why?  Because these clients – Arnie and Lori Herz – are a husband and wife team already established in the LexBlogosphere.

Arnie is a lawyer and business advisor, who runs the blog Legal Sanity; his wife Lori, the co-founder and co-producer of Legal Sanity, is about to debut her own blog Write For Clients, which should be live in the next few weeks.

1. Rob La Gatta: When did you first launch Legal Sanity, and why?

Arnie Herz: We launched it in June of 2004, because I had a book proposal and was told that I needed to have a platform that would make it easier to get a book deal. So I decided to present these concepts that are set forth in Legal Sanity in a blog format first, before I did my book.

2. Rob La Gatta: Your website says you’ve trained over 3,000 lawyers. What is it that sets you aside from other business trainers?

Arnie Herz: I don’t know anyone who’s directly offering programs to lawyers on how to create highly energized interactions on a consistent basis and avoid the depletion that’s so common in the legal world.

The essence of my program is called “XE Factor.” “XE Factor” stands for “exchange of energy.” In every single interaction we have with another human being there is an exchange of energy. Sometimes you walk away feeling more energized, and sometimes you walk away feeling more depleted. And if you take a look at the typical lawyer, most of their interactions, most of the time, are depleting. Which is why many of them feel very burnt out. Their interactions with their clients are depleting, with their co-workers, with their partners, with their adversaries, with their family and friends…what we do in “XE Factor” is teach people how to become aware of this energetic exchange that takes place, and how to consistently create energizing interactions.

When you have an energizing interaction with a client, you create what is called the client evangelist. The client is so thrilled by you, so energized by you and your work, that they start referring you to other people. When you energize your employees, they become engaged, and so one of our programs is called “XE Factor Employee Engagement.” And this plays itself out through all the different relationships.

I could go on for another 10 minutes, but I want to give you shorter answers here.

3. Rob La Gatta: Arnie, you mentioned that your writing was included in the BlawgWorld 2007 e-book. Can you explain a bit about what this e-book is, and how you got involved with it?

Arnie Herz: I will let Lori answer that one.

Lori Herz: We responded to a outreach by Neil Squillante of TechnoLawyer, and he appealed to some of the major bloggers in the legal world and asked for contributions. I think this is the second one they’ve done, perhaps the third, and it’s really a compilation of some thoughts from 77 of what he considers the leading legal bloggers. […] It is probably as much to create exposure for the bloggers and to help lawyers understand what’s out there in the legal blogosphere. And it also is educational and promotional, because it also promotes some of the services and products [of] TechnoLawyer.

4. Rob La Gatta: Rather than using a static website and a blog, you manage to combine the two of them into one site at Legal Sanity. Why did you do this?

Arnie Herz: I think it’s very effective for me. It’s just simple to have it in one place and to maintain it in one place. And the main focus of my blog is really to attract attention to the thoughts and ideas that I have, and to focus on my training and development business. So if I [were] really strongly looking to develop my legal business, perhaps I would have a separate website. But it’s very simple: just in one spot people can get a real good sense of who I am and what I offer.

Lori Herz: And I’m doing the same thing. I’m about to launch with LexBlog a site for my business writing and consulting practice. And I did the same: I combined a blog with what would be considered a more conventional website through the static pages in the back.

I had asked Kevin about that, and what he had relayed to me – which I think is really the conventional wisdom now – is that if you have a very niche focus for your blog, and a service line or product line that complements that niche focus that you would otherwise put on a conventional site, [then] combining the both into one site is perfectly feasible, because they just play on one another…you have the same niche, you have the same focus for the two, for the service line and for what you’re blogging about. So they really complement one another and support one another.

[In a situation] where you have, for instance, a firm that has a diversified set of offerings or practice areas, you would want to have both, because your blog site would be in a niche area and then the firm site would be more generalist and talk about the firm and its overall service offerings. It would be difficult to put all of that on a blog site, because the premise is that blogs these days are generally very niche focused.

5. Rob La Gatta: If you could provide one bit of advice to a lawyer developing his or her first blog, what would it be?

Lori Herz: I would say first of all, if they want to launch a successful blog, there are a lot of different formulas for it. I don’t think there’s only one formula. But part of it is, before you launch your blog, to really get down to the specifics of who you want to reach out to through your blog, what problems they have that you want to address through your blog and perhaps through your service line, and [finally], how you address those problems.

In my business, I take people through that who-what-how process, and it really facilitates the whole blogging process, because then you come to your blog knowing who you’re reaching out to, and you can tailor your content to that who-what-how. [The] other thing that I would say is to really take a broader sweep, and look out into the online world. There is so much information out there…so many great things being talked about. Look beyond the law and see what there is for the people that you want to draw to your site or draw through your front door. See what would interest them, and draw from all different fields and venues – marketing, branding, all over the place. […] And really educate people, because when you share your knowledge and you educate people, that’s the way to be successful: you’re showing people that you’re an expert that they can trust.

Why are you an expert? Because you’re fielding all this information for them, and you’re delivering it in these bite size pieces that they can readily consume, and it makes it so much easier for them to say, “Oh, that’s why this is relevant to me…you’re taking all this stuff that I wouldn’t have thought about, you’re bringing it together for me,” and they’re appreciative of it. That’s what people say to me: “I wouldn’t have thought to look over here at the Christian Science Monitor for something relevant to the law.” But it’s so relevant, and it’s up to you to tie it all together for them. And I would say don’t be afraid to go beyond your typical fare to bring things to your readers that might be important to them.

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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