I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with Joe Forward, a reporter with Wisconsin Lawyer, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s monthly magazine, on an annual article he is writing on Wisconsin law blogs for their publication, InsideTrack.
Knowing that all I shared wouldn’t be published, I thought I’d be safe to share my answers with you. As Forward requested, my answers are with the solo and small firm lawyer in mind.
Question: Why are you so passionate about blogging (it seems like you are)?
Answer: I can think of no better way to connect in a real and meaningful way with lawyers, other legal professionals and the influencers of those two (reporters, publishers, association leaders, conference coordinators and leading bloggers) than through blogging.
Connecting with these folks enables me to build relationships with them and establish a reputation as a trusted and reliable authority when it comes to blogging and the use of other social media. By establishing trust, I get the opportunity to help.
LexBlog and I are driven by making legal information and legal services more accessible, whether at a consumer, small business or corporate level.
Blogs obviously disseminate information and insight.
Blogs also establish trust, making lawyers more apt to be contacted by someone in need of legal services and even someone who did not even know they had a legal need.
Blogs make niche legal services accessible – niche practices that the consumer of legal services did not even know existed.
We’re also driven by getting lawyers the tools and know how they need to make their dreams come alive. Knowing that lawyers have been burned by companies selling expensive marketing and advertising which under delivers, we want lawyers to know we’re here for them.
The law and legal services are part of the fabric of American society. If LexBlog can get more lawyers blogging, we can also leave the world a better place.
We get more lawyers blogging by my blogging about what blogging can do for lawyers, our profession and the people we serve.
Question: How can blogging help attorneys?
Answer: Any number of ways. Blogging makes lawyers better at what they do. Blogging is more about following news, information and insight on niches in the law than writing. By reading developments in the law and society, formulating one’s thoughts and reducing them to writing you become better as a lawyer.
By virtue of the people whose content you reference and the people who follow your blog, you meet people — your network grows. The larger the network a lawyer has the better the job they’ll be able to do.
From a business development standpoint, blogging enables lawyers to achieve their dreams. What type of work would you like to do? What type of clients would you like to represent? Blogging lawyers have achieved their dreams – why not you?
Rather than look at blogs as an ad or marketing as one would look at a website, look at blogging as old-style business development where lawyers got their work by virtue of relationships and word of mouth. Blogging is that form of networking. This is why blogging isn’t even viewed as advertising under ethics rules governing lawyer advertising and marketing.
Question: What role, if any, does law blogging play in keeping the public informed?
Answer: If there is a better way of keeping the public informed when it comes to legal information and insight than lawyers’ blogging, I haven’t seen it.
Blogging gets information from the people in the know, real practicing lawyers who care, to the people in need. Google and social media work extraordinarily well in delivering insight from such lawyers to people, topic-wise and geographic-wise.
Isolated events sponsored by bar associations such as those on “Law Day” do not go 24/7, 365 days a year. Law blogs do.
People are more apt to trust lawyers who get out and engage them in a caring way. When you trust the source, the information received becomes that much more valuable.
Question: There are a lot of law bloggers out there now. How do they distinguish themselves?
Answer: There are countless areas not being covered by law blogs.
Maybe it’s a locale. Perhaps there’s a Wisconsin Family Law Blog, but how about a La Crosse Family Law Blog sharing information on local court rules, insight from local counselors, articles from local accountants and financial planners as well as your take as a lawyer on common questions and blog posts by other family law lawyers around the country. Set up right, you’ll blow other La Crosse lawyers away in Google.
Gravitate to a niche. How about a Wisconsin Family Law Blog for the Gay and Lesbian Community? You’ll get clients from across the state. Niches do not limit practices, they open doors to a broad area, i.e., all family law, because of the trust and reputation established.
A lawyer’s opportunity to grow a practice is only limited by their energy, commitment and imagination. Blogging is the same.
Question: I see a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to blogging. What is your #1 tip for law bloggers?
Answer: Bring it with passion. You need to love what you do when it comes to blogging.
Find an area of the law that provides you an opportunity to achieve your dreams. Let your dreams drive you.
Maybe your dreams include having a family, owning a home, being recognized as a lawyer’s lawyer in your niche or locale, never worrying about where your work is coming from, sending your kids to college, taking vacations to outstanding places and having the time to do charitable work.
If you do not have a passion in an area of the law, what could you get passionate about? Life’s too long not to be passionate about something.
Speak like real folks, not a lawyer, in your blogging. Blog in a conversational tone as if you were sitting with people at the local coffee shop or mall. Pretend you are listening to people first, and then engaging them by speaking/writing.
Question: What is the future of law blogging? Will we see or more or less of it?
Answer: Blogging is still in its infancy. Law blogs have just started to disintermediate traditional information and news sources.
Lawyers used to write articles for bar journals, trade publications, newspapers and local business journals. Such writing is going more and more to blogs — or whatever you want to call an online publication published by a lawyer without an editor acting as an intermediary.
Social media has helped blogging tremendously. More and more people get their news and information from people they trust via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Blog posts are a natural when it comes to flowing through such social media so long as the blogging lawyer uses social media effectively. Traditional publishers struggle with social media as a means to build trust as they tend to publish as an organization, as opposed to an individual like a blogging lawyer does.
Individuals build trust and that’s what blogging and social media are all about.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Sara P