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Published by Kevin O'Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog

Kenneth Odza of Food Liability Law Blog: LexBlog Q&A

October 29, 2009

Food liability attorney Ken OdzaIt’s one thing to use your blog as a news aggregation site. It’s another to constantly provide the added value of commentary, analysis, and a unique voice that can’t be found anywhere else.

Food liability attorney Kenneth Odza of AmLaw 200 firm Stoel Rives has made the Food Liability Law Blog into exactly that kind of valuable resource.

“Our challenge has been to establish our ‘voice’ on the blog,” Ken says. “Our goal is to provide useful advice and commentary on mitigation of current and emerging food litigation risks. We also avoid the ‘law review article’ approach and provide information in a short, punchy format.”

That strategy has paid off in unexpected but appreciated ways for Ken and the firm.

“After about 6 months of blogging and continued effort to provide ‘value’ on the blog (as opposed to news aggregation),” Ken says, “we started receiving calls from business clients (some who were known prospects and others who I didn’t know). While direct client calls were not the primary goal of this blog, these calls have been a pleasant surprise and are increasing in frequency.”

We caught up with Ken for this LexBlog Q&A to discuss how a large firm with multiple bloggers plans their coverage, and how he integrates Twitter with his blog.

See our email exchange with Ken after the jump.

Lisa Kennelly: Why did you decide to get into blogging?

Ken Odza: I began looking in 2007 for a way to bring attention to our food litigation practice and establish credibility in the area with business clients and prospects. Kevin O’Keefe provided us a compelling presentation and discussion about our ideas for a food blog. Kevin sold me quickly on the idea of blogging.

Lisa Kennelly: What has been most rewarding about blogging? What has been most challenging?

Ken Odza: Most rewarding:

1. Quickly established ourselves as experts in the food liability area. As a direct result of blogging, I’ve received:

  • numerous speaking invitations
  • regular mention in mainstream media
  • regular invitations for client and prospect visits

2. Direct calls from business client prospects. After about 6 months of blogging and continued effort to provide “value” on the blog (as opposed to news aggregation), we started receiving calls from business clients (some who were known prospects and others who I didn’t know). While direct client calls were not the primary goal of this blog, these calls have been a pleasant surprise and are increasing in frequency.

Most challenging:

1. “Value-Added” Blog entries: News aggregating is an easy form of blogging but may not add sufficient value for our target readers (in-house counsel and business executives). Our challenge has been to establish our “voice” on the blog. Our goal is to provide useful advice and commentary on mitigation of current and emerging food litigation risks. We also avoid the “law review article” approach and provide information in a short, punchy format.

2. Regular and Timely Entries: Our goal is 2-3 entries per week and 1 minimum. Finding time in a busy practice to add blog entries takes effort and discipline (1-3 hours per week)

Lisa Kennelly: Your firm has several blogs, and your blog in particular has multiple authors – do you collaborate or discuss blogging with other attorneys at the firm?

Ken Odza: Yes. We spend time discussing and assigning ourselves the “beats” and issues we intend to cover. We purposely leverage the full range and depth of experiences that a large firm such as Stoel has to offer. We identify blog authors from different practice areas and with differing experiences.

Lisa Kennelly: How does using Twitter affect or complement your blogging?

Ken Odza: I’ve been using Twitter since the summer of ’09. I like the format. I have some clients following. I’ve also had my Twitter feed posted on the blog. I hope that Twitter gains “critical mass” but its not there yet. Blogs are still more widely read than Twitter.

Lisa Kennelly: What advice would you give to a lawyer or firm thinking about starting up a blog?

Ken Odza: My advice to other lawyers starting a blog is choose a niche and “space” not yet fully occupied on the web. Use the blog to provide value. Blogging is a “loss-leader” tool like being at conference or a client pitch where the goal is provide “free” advice, strategy ideas and commentary.

Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:

Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.