It seems a bit unfair.

Large law firms have spent the past decade adapting to the power of blogs. Rather than broadcasting information and articles buried inside of websites, lawyers have been empowered to network online to build relationships and word of mouth through blogs.

But just as large law started to turn to blogging en masse, along comes another digital disruptor – mobile.

Per research LexBlog is conducting for its State of the Am Law 200 Blogosphere report, there are over 900 blogs being published by large law. 73% of the blogs are not ready for mobile viewing.

Only 26% of the Am Law 200 blogs are built on responsive design providing an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones.

Some law firms use a mobile template for their blogs. In theory, this can work, but in many cases leaves a less than optimum reading experience.

More than one-third of the Am Law 200 blogs have ignored mobile altogether. The blogs may be easily read only on a desktop computer.

An eMarketer study estimated that about 23 percent of Americans’ total media consumption in 2014 came on mobile devices. That’s counting all media formats, including television, radio and print. Mobile already ranks ahead of the total for laptops and desktops at 18 percent.

Blogs across the LexBlog Network are seeing mobile readership as high as 25 to 40 percent.

News organizations, including The New York Times, are seeing 40 percent of their online audience on mobile devices, most on smartphones.

Mobile’s share of news and information readership is only going to increase as the speed of cellular networks increase and smartphone performance gets even better.

It’s not just optimum viewing on mobile, the consequences of not having mobile ready law blogs are fairly severe.

  • You’ll turn many of your readers away. Google found that 61% of people on mobile will leave a non-mobile site if they don’t immediately see what they are looking for.
  • Mobile devices have become social media sharing machines.  Social media influencers (those who share) are more apt to be using mobile than a non-mobile device. Mobile ready blogs display beautifully for reading on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook apps. Law blog posts from blogs not optimized for mobile will simply be shared much less often.
  • Google appears to be on the verge of penalizing sites that are not mobile ready. As I blogged recently, Google is notifying webmasters that websites with mobility errors will be ranked appropriately (lower) for smartphone users.
  • Law firms asking their mobile readers to view their blogs will look foolish and a step behind other leading law firms.

None other than The New York Times is looking at mobile-first journalism because of the growth in mobile readership and the tremendous social sharing of the Times content on mobile.

No question law firms will incur an additional expense in moving their blogs to responsive designs. But with the investment firms are making in having their lawyers blog and the business development returns firms are receiving through blogging, it’s the wise thing to do—now.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Antoine Lefeuvre