New York corporate litigation attorney Peter Mahler has used his blog, New York Business Divorce, to take his expertise in the field of business divorce into the spotlight.

A partner at Farrell Fritz, Peter is considered an authority on business divorce and has written and lectured extensively on the subject. His work was already well-known before he began blogging, but he says his blog has dramatically expanded his exposure.

"There’s nothing more gratifying for a lawyer than peer recognition as an expert in one’s field," Peter says. "My pre-blog writing and lecturing took me far down that path, but the blog has been a quantum leap forward in establishing among lawyers and judges my professional standing and expertise in a highly specialized area of the law."

Not only that, but keeping up on new developments for his weekly blog posts has kept Peter up to speed on his own litigation practice. His advice: "If you want to stay at the top of your game, write a blog!"

We caught up with Peter for this LexBlog Q&A to discuss the response from his firm, clients and judges, and more.

See our e-mail exchange with Peter (after the jump).

Lisa Kennelly: Why did you decide to start blogging?

Peter Mahler: I’d been writing on business divorce for many years for legal publications. I began to get direct inquiries from business owners who found my articles on the web via search engines. Around the same time, as part of my own migration to web-based research, I started following several legal blogs. It soon occurred to me that publishing my own blog made a lot of sense as a way simultaneously to broaden my exposure both to professionals and business owners. Plus, business divorce is a niche practice area, and there was no one out there writing about it. It also helps that I love to write, and was attracted to the freedom of the blog format.

Lisa Kennelly: Have you reasons for blogging changed since you first started?

Peter Mahler: No, in the sense that my original reasons still remain valid. Yes, in the sense I’ve found additional reasons that keep me motivated. For instance, I always kept up with case law and legislative developments in my practice area, but since I started blogging I spend even more time staying current and also looking outside New York for interesting developments to write about which, as you would expect, is tremendously helpful in my litigation practice. In other words, if you want to stay at the top of your game, write a blog!

Lisa Kennelly: What has been most rewarding about blogging?

Peter Mahler: There’s nothing more gratifying for a lawyer than peer recognition as an expert in one’s field. My pre-blog writing and lecturing took me far down that path, but the blog has been a quantum leap forward in establishing among lawyers and judges my professional standing and expertise in a highly specialized area of the law.

Lisa Kennelly: What has been most challenging?

Peter Mahler: Definitely the time commitment. Although I post only once a week, I write relatively lengthy, in-depth posts that can take a couple of hours to write and edit, which I usually end up doing on the weekend. It can get quite hairy if I’m on trial or preparing a major set of litigation papers.

Lisa Kennelly: What has been the response to your blog from clients, other lawyers or anyone else?

Peter Mahler: Very positive. Within my firm, my blog already has inspired a second LexBlog blog (New York Trusts and Estates Litigation) and a third is in the planning stages. In addition, I regularly receive inquiries and supportive emails from professional and layperson readers across the country, and on occasion I’ve been sent unpublished decisions by judges. I’ve also been invited to speak on CLE panels and the like with much greater frequency as a result of the blog.

Lisa Kennelly: Have you seen an impact on your practice from your blog?

Peter Mahler: Absolutely. I’ve attracted a number of new clients and referrers who found me via the blog. I don’t have to sell them my expertise because they’ve already seen it online.

Lisa Kennelly: Many first-time bloggers (and long-time ones as well) can have trouble thinking of blog post topics. What do you use for inspiration when you get stuck?

Peter Mahler: I’m happy to say, I haven’t gotten stuck yet, in no small part due to my one-post-a-week schedule. Almost all of my posts cover new court decisions in cases involving dissolution and other internal disputes among owners of closely held businesses. Judges in New York issue more than enough decisions of interest to feed my blog’s maw.