Sometimes just one attorney at a firm is engaged and involved in blogging, and sometimes the whole gang gets involved in a firm’s blog.
That’s the case for the Virginia Real Estate, Land Use and Construction Law Blog, where instead of just one blogger to profile, we have three dynamic attorney-bloggers from the Virginia firm Bean, Kinney & Korman.
Timothy Hughes, Heidi Meinzer and Tad Lunger each serve as the "editor" for the different fields the blog covers. Tim is the Lead Editor, Heidi is editor of Litigation and Tad handles Land Use. It’s a great way to make sure all relevant topics get covered without running into issues of redundancy.
The blog has been live for just over six months, during which time the attorneys have made huge strides both in terms of connecting with others in their field and making the firm known as an authority on the subject.
"The blog has been the best way – individually and personally – to keep on top of real estate, land use and construction law issues," Heidi says. "It has the added benefit of making sure people in the industry know that Bean Kinney is great place to get help in these areas, every step of the way from acquiring or selling property, financing projects, getting through the land use and permitting issues and seeing the project through to the end."
We caught up with the attorneys at Bean, Kinney and Korman for the LexBlog Q&A to learn more about the response to their blog and why the construction law blogosphere is so vibrant.
See our email exchange with them, after the jump.
Lisa Kennelly: Why did you decide to start a blog?
Tad Lunger: I’ve been following a number of blogs for years. In my practice you have to be an information junkie to survive. Blogging is a great forum to exchange ideas and information, and blogging allows you to be more actively involved in these pursuits, rather than being passively involved as merely a reader of other blogs. Clearly, it also makes your ideas and thoughts more visible to a broader community of people and interests.
Lisa Kennelly: What has been the response to your blog, and from whom?
Tim Hughes: The reaction to the blog has been exciting. A great example is last weekend meeting a lawyer from a large international law firm. He heard my name and immediately said, “Ah, you are blogger, I follow your blog.” It is a wonderful direct confirmation that the inchoate buzz factor is starting to develop from our efforts.
The even better thing has been developing relationships with other voices in this space. I have really enjoyed sharing ideas, commentary and friendship with folks like Matthew DeVries of Best Practices Construction and Jay O’Keeffe of De Novo. I became friendly with Victoria Pynchon before I realized she was another Lex Blogger. I recently had a great lunch meeting with Scott Johnson and Angela Frank of Virginia Business Law Update. Shari Shapiro of the Green Building Law Blog is not only a great talent, but was very generous with helping me shape our firm’s efforts to craft and adopt its sustainability policy. Chris Cheatham of Green Building Law Update and I are friends and he helped us pick LexBlog and has been a huge source of advice. Last but definitely not least, Chris Hill of Construction Law Musings is not on the LexBlog network, but has been tremendously supportive of our blog and helping me getting established on Twitter.
The real story is about using the platform of a voice to develop relationships. I am speaking at the Green Legal Matters conference in New Orleans in April with Shari Shapiro and Chris Hill. Chris Cheatham was pivotal in the invite. All of this has developed in a few months which is a testament to the type of energized relationship building that is possible by actively blogging and cultivating relationships.
Lisa Kennelly: The construction law blogosphere seems to be a particularly active and engaged one. Why do you think this is?
Tad Lunger: I think our blog provides a forum for communication of ideas for an industry that everyone is always talking about but nobody ever hears from publicly. It provides a microphone for the individual architect, developer, or county attorney, etc. to say “Hey – this is how I am actually affected by this issue – has anyone ever thought of this before?” Most of my clients and the consultants I work with are extremely capable, passionate and opinionated people who don’t get enough opportunities to be heard.
Heidi Meinzer: There is no doubt that the market and the economy is turning everything on its head right now. We are very fortunate that Northern Virginia has not been hit as hard as other geographical regions and is still generating plenty of development and transactional work. However, even the areas that have been hard hit by the economy have been hot beds for litigation. In addition, due to political turns, tax issues – and particularly business tax issues – have come to the forefront.
Lisa Kennelly: How do you come up with blog post ideas, and how do you avoid "writer’s block"?
Tim Hughes: One of the biggest benefits to blogging is the need to constantly find topics. This has forced me to scour information sources, articles, statutory and case updates, and blogs, demanding that I aggressively keep on top of the law daily. I use the “starring” function in my Google Reader to help sort through interesting blog topics. Finally, I use Evernote to clip web page topics for various categories and blog topics. It is rare that I really struggle searching for something to write about, and on those occasions I generally turn a large databank of previously published articles to talk about basic legal concepts that we may not have touched on previously.
Lisa Kennelly: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a blog?
Heidi Meinzer: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Think through exactly what you can offer to the blogosphere and don’t overpromise or oversell yourself. Try not to be redundant with what is already floating around on the blogosphere, and really let your true area of expertise shine. Stay current, but don’t feel like posting solely to post – better to have fewer well written posts than lots of fluff.
Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:
- Patrick Lamb of In Search of Perfect Client Service [2.23.10]
- Brian Galbraith of Ontario Family Law Blog [2.19.10]
- Jay O’Keeffe of De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog [1.26,10]
- Matthew Burnett & Kate Bladow of Technola [1.7.10]
Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.