When it comes to tightly focused blogs, few can compare to the work of Ken Adams.
Ken, the subject of today’s LexBlog Q & A, is a New York-based lawyer who specializes in contract drafting. Through private consulting, published articles/books and speeches, he offers lawyers invaluable tips on the art of putting together strong contracts.
Ken’s AdamsDrafting blog serves as a living manual on contract drafting, occupying a unique niche in the legal blogosphere (and one that won him “Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog” in Dennis Kennedy’s 2007 Blawggie Awards). Read our e-mail interview, in which Ken describes his place in the blogosphere and how he got to be there, after the jump.
1. Rob La Gatta: Give us a little background on your blog: when did you start it, and why?
Ken Adams: I started my blog in May 2006, as part of an overhaul of my website. I had just decided, at long last, to focus full-time on my contract-drafting expertise. Having a blog seemed an important part of making it more likely that anyone interested in the subject would be aware of what I was doing. But I haven’t been relying solely on my blog to do that — I also write articles, give seminars, and have my ABA book, A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. What made my blog viable was that I knew that much of what I put on my blog would find its way into the second edition of my book, which will be coming out this summer.
Posting on my blog, week in and week out, items that are (I hope) somewhat original and thoughtful requires real commitment. If I hadn’t known that I’d be able to make further use of what I was posting, I don’t think I would have been able to maintain the pace. And having the blog to feed has meant that I’ve researched far more, and produced much more material, that I would have otherwise — the book will be much better for it. Also, knowing that what I was producing would be of use no matter what meant that I wasn’t looking for an immediate return from my blog.
2. Rob La Gatta: You occupy a very niche market…to the best of my knowledge, yours is the only blog on contract drafting out there. How important do you see niche blogging as being in the legal realm?
Ken Adams: “Niche blogging” could be understood as referring to bloggers clinging to small patches of the blogosphere not occupied by bigger players. But to my mind, “niche blogging” simply means specialized blogging. Niche blogging should be the norm rather than the exception — the world increasingly demands specialization.
You’re correct that I’m the lone blogger on contract drafting. But don’t assume that contract drafting is somehow a marginal subject. For one thing, it’s a core activity of lawyers. Furthermore, vast amounts of time and money are wasted on drafting, very inefficiently, contracts bloated with redundant and archaic language and containing glitches that every so often land the parties in court. I’m doing my utmost to bring more attention to bear on the quality and process of contracts. It’s time that contracts were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
3. Rob La Gatta: How do you come up with the topics for each blog post? Are these ideas you develop, or are they ones that are suggested to you by inquiring minds through comments and/or e-mails?
Ken Adams: I had assumed that after a year or so I’d run dry, but that hasn’t happened. Of course, by now I’ve done posts on most of the obvious issues. But I still think of things I’d previously overlooked, and periodically a reader will ask a question I hadn’t thought of before. Another source of new posts is case law, and my readers are an amazing source of leads to interesting new cases.
4. Rob La Gatta: Your posts seem to generate quite a bit of discussion. Do you find yourself learning new things about contract drafting or reevaluating your positions after hearing other folks’ perspectives?
Ken Adams: I’m delighted to be able try out new ideas on my blog. Routinely a reader will point out a weakness, or an angle that I hadn’t thought of, and that allows me to refine my analysis. The second edition of my book will benefit greatly from that kind of input. But I can’t always predict what posts will prompt reader comments.
5. Rob La Gatta: If you were approached by a lawyer about to start his or her first blog, what is the one most important bit of advice you’d offer them?
Ken Adams: I’d say be realistic about what you hope to get out of your blog and what you’ll be able to put into it. Don’t expect that readers will flock to your blog — building an audience will likely take time and a lot of hard work. Realize that the blogosphere is littered with abandoned blogs. Your odds of keeping your blog going will be better if you have some goals for it other than simple self-promotion.
Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:
- Susannah Gardner, author of Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies [2.11.08]
- Doug Berman, professor at Ohio State University and author of Sentencing Law & Policy Blog [2.8.08]
- Toby Bloomberg, Internet marketing specialist and author of the Diva Marketing Blog [2.6.08]
- Nick Holmes, legal publishing consultant with infolaw and author of Binary Law [2.5.08]
- David Maister, law firm practice consultant [2.4.08]
Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.