The blogosphere is flooded with personal injury law blogs these days, but few are as classy, valuable and informative as New York personal injury attorney John Hochfelder‘s New York Injury Cases Blog.
Rather than make his blog a marketing tool, John uses it as an educational resource on injury case valuation with medical insight. His blog is a wealth of information, with diagrams, briefs, visuals and analysis that’s unavailable elsewhere.
“I will not hit publish until I know I have it right and have uncovered it and read all relevant and related cases, briefs and background materials,”John says.
“I’ve become a resource to both PI lawyers and others and my reputation has soared,” he says. “In a few cases I’ve been asked to assist or take on cases and that’s satisfying, of course.”
We caught up with John for this LexBlog Q&A to learn what he dislikes about some PI blogs, how blogging has made him smarter, and what advice he’d offer to a new law blogger.
See our email exchange with John, after the jump.
Lisa Kennelly: Why did you decide to start a blog?
John Hochfelder: I had been writing The Hochfelder Report, an educational piece about injury case valuation with medical insight (definitions, diagrams) a high gloss four-page report for about two years sending it to clients, doctors and lawyers. It was well received but very expensive. I tried an email campaign for a short time but that was too mass marketing-like. I heard about blogging, stumbled onto LexBlog and my initial conversations with Kevin and others led me to conclude that blogging was exactly what I should be doing.
Lisa Kennelly: What has been most rewarding about blogging?
John Hochfelder: The unsolicited, surprising emails I get from lawyers and judges telling me they use my blog as a resource and that it’s awfully well written. And the many calls I get from prospective clients (almost all of whom I turn down – I run a pretty low volume practice) with whom I chat and advise about their claims.
Lisa Kennelly: There are a lot of personal injury blogs out there. What do you feel you do differently or that sets you apart?
John Hochfelder: Mine is purely educational and offers the reader a resource without at all being a request for business. And it’s really value-added in the sense that I take just-released cases – usually appellate – and dig deeply, getting briefs and other not readily available information so I can fill in the gaps for the bar and the public and inform them of the details of injury case evaluations. Nowhere will you find what I dislike in so many PI blogs – writing that’s obviously geared in large part for search engine optimization and self-promotion (“hire me, hire me”; “ if you’ve been injured like the person I described then you need a good lawyer so … hire me”). The absolute worst is the lawyer who reports on a real accident that happened in his area and then writes “if you know someone like (the person in the accident) then you or that person need a good, experienced PI lawyer like … ME”. I just could never do anything like that.
Lisa Kennelly: Do you feel having a blog gives you an advantage over other attorneys who do not?
John Hochfelder: Definitely. First of all it’s self-educational. I will not hit publish until I know I have it right and have uncovered it and read all relevant and related cases, briefs and background materials. Second, I’ve become a resource to both PI lawyers and others and my reputation has soared. In a few cases I’ve been asked to assist or take on cases and that’s satisfying, of course.
Lisa Kennelly: What has the response been to your blog from other attorneys, clients, or anyone else?
John Hochfelder: Extremely positive. They all think I’m a lot smarter than I am.
It is true though that I am a lot smarter than when I started blogging – but that’s because I learn each time I research and write.
Lisa Kennelly: What advice would you give to an attorney thinking about starting a blog?
John Hochfelder: Find a topic, hopefully a niche, that you really want to talk or write about. See what’s being done so far in the blogosphere in that area. Think hard about what you think you can contribute that’s new or different. Be prepared to invest a lot of time, especially during the first few months. Jump in. Hire LexBlog (no one asked me to say that or suggested it). It really is turnkey and they will not let you make a fool of yourself. And it will be much less costly than you’d imagine.
If it’s all for marketing yourself and your practice, that’s OK but do it in a classy way and try to offer more than you think you will get. You may be surprised and get an awful lot more in return than you expected. And it’s fun!
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