If success in legal blogging were measured by the author’s ability connect with and relate to readers, Jeff Nowak‘s FMLA Insights would be the standard. Employing techniques that resonate with those seeking guidance, the Chicago attorney’s publication is well on its way to finding its place among the best blogs in the labor and employment law community.
"Every article I write has to have some sort of practical impact for employers," said Nowak, a partner at Franczek Radelet. "Some kind of message they can take and apply to their own workplace to maximize their business objectives and ultimately minimize legal risk."
Insightful, colorful and engaging, FMLA Insights has helped both employers and employees better understand matters associated with the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is why the blog’s increase in popularity is no surprise.
One of the most popular features on the blog has been the ‘FMLA FAQ‘ segment where Nowak blogs about questions posed by clients.
"In the FAQ, I choose issues that my clients commonly face in their daily business and that I think would be of value to a larger group of employers," said Nowak. "It has certainly raised my profile in the labor and employment social networking community."
Nowak’s increased web presence brought about a major career opportunity, as he was recently named employment counsel for a private company in the airline industry after being introduced to a FMLA Insights reader who happens to serve as in-house counsel for that airline.
"The blog provided me instant credibly with a potential client, something that I otherwise would have never been able to obtain without the blog," said Nowak. "It provided an opportunity to hold myself out as an expert on an area that was of value to this particular employer."
Though a major milestone for Nowak’s career, the recent appointment to employment counsel for the airline has added to Nowak’s laundry list of duties—which includes being co-chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Franczek Radelet, serving as an elected official in his local government, and of course, the blog. All this begs the question of how Nowak finds time to produce such a high quality blog on a regular basis. His secret is that he finds time to focus on blogging at the beginning or end of the day.
"The first hour of my day is business development. It’s reviewing social media, It’s staying up-to-date on issues in my profession, it’s connecting with current and potential clients and it’s also time spent on my own blog," said Nowak. "So it’s something that I tackle either late at night or first thing in the morning before I jump into my actual legal work. I found that it works pretty well for me."
Amidst all the duties of a lawyer with a full plate, Nowak finds time to blog, but what makes it easier for him to post with such regularity is his passion for labor and employment law. His advice to bloggers who may lack of inspiration is to write about topics of interest, as it makes for a more enjoyable experience.
"If you want to jump into blogging, it really has to be an area that you’re passionate about because it’s a pretty significant time commitment," said Nowak. "While you might love to do it now, you have to love the concept two or three years later because the longer you blog, the more difficult it can be to stay motived so it’s particularly important to pick an area you are interested in and passionate about and run with it."