If the oft-uttered statement "you are what you eat" applied to blogging, Washington, D.C. attorney Steven Berk would be what he writes. As the publisher and author of The Corporate Observer, Berk sees his blog as not only his online writing portfolio, but his virtual business card.
"If someone’s looking for a whistleblower lawyer (online), 30 or 40 different people will come up and they’re sort of looking at a stack of business cards and mine is more interesting and more thoughtful so they might call me," Berk said.
With over twenty years of litigation experience under his belt in federal prosecution and with large law firms, Berk decided to start his own firm, Berk Law, in the spring of 2009 and soon after created The Corporate Observer as a means of developing his new practice.
"When I shifted over to doing more consumer and class action work, I needed a platform that allowed me to build a presence a lot quicker than in the olden days," Berk said.
Berk’s presence is becoming increasingly established through the use of his blog, as his firm has gotten many calls from new and potential clients.
"People (are) willing to hire me as their attorney based on what they may have seen on the blog, and then due diligence after that," said Berk. "It’s sort of a digital business card, and even more than that, it’s interactive and has information. So in that sense it’s been very successful and we are going to keep pushing that."
The success of the blog on the retail end has prompted Berk to reach out to thought leaders to promote his work and lead him to important career and networking opportunities, such as speaking engagements and media appearances. Berk realizes that blogging is a two-way street and in order for him to gain such opportunities he must engage others and promote their work as well.
"What I’ve learned slowly is that writing a blog is only step one," said Berk. "It’s certainly an important step, but it’s only step one. I think you also have to take steps two and three, which are responding to people’s blogs and engaging in conversation with others to really get the big bang for your buck."
While working on engaging others in his work, Berk is employing the craft of letting his writing show readers his personality, skills, and advocacy for class action. Berk feels that many law blogs are "mercenary" and are subject to narrow focuses, which is why his <font face="georgia,
serif”>informative, interesting and timely
prose-style writing makes his work stand out from the crowd.
"Since I was a trial lawyer for some time, I’m pretty good at being a generalist and explaining things in a way that people could understand, and that’s kind of the key I think," Berk said.
Something Berk has learned in his blogging endeavors is that the art has no strict formula or rules to adhere to, but he believes it is essential to be true to his nature and character. His advice to other bloggers is to let their personalities shine through their work.
"Go with your style. If you’re funny, make it funny. If you’re serious, make it serious. I think people just have to be comfortable and willing do with what they think they’re good at."