Should a law student blog now? Yes, yes & yes, writes veteran law blogger and successful niche practice solo lawyer, Carolyn Elefant.
In the big picture, something law students may not appreciate today, prosperity and a sense of direction may be the best reasons to blog.
A blog is your precedent; a picture of you as a law student, at a place in time where your profession lies in front of you and where you’re still excited and eager — maybe naive or at least, not yet jaded. Blogs capture the insight and curiosity and passion and yes, stupidity of the soon-to-be-lawyer and serve as a True North that you can look back on and use to re-orient yourself if you ever lose your way as a lawyer.
Elefant also offers five practical reasons to blog, whether you’re looking to hang out your shingle or find employment in a law firm.
- Blogging on a regular basis (at least twice a week for the first six months) about almost any law related topic shows commitment to the profession, interest and most of all initiative. Those traits will catapult you to the front of the line when it comes time for interviews or referrals from colleagues.
- A blog will open doors by offering an online introduction to lawyers in distant communities where you hope to wind up or to role models whom you’d like to emulate or meet.
- Blogging will make you money while in school and on graduation. Law schools don’t necessarily prepare you to get hired as a clerk or on graduation. Instead of waiting passively for your law school to help you find a job, put yourself out there with your blog and you may find lawyers approaching you, asking you to take on short research projects or help them research blog posts.
- Blogging improves your analytical and writing skills. Since readers have short attention spans and many RSS readers only pick up the first sentence of what you write, blogs require you to get right to the point with a seductive headline, strong lead and cogent analysis.
- A blog can serve as the centerpiece of a broader presence on the web by disciplining you to produce content that you can repurpose in multiple sites. You can include your blog along with other briefs and papers you’ve written in an online portfolio, a concept recently recommended in the New York Times for job seekers.
New York Attorney and Legal Tech Evangelist at MyCase, Nicole Black wholeheartedly agrees with Elefant.
Law students should consider blogging, and more broadly, should also use social media to establish a professional presence during their law school years. Interacting strategically online is a great way to jumpstart your legal career and make connections that can last a lifetime.
Black, who’s been blogging for twelve years, is right there with Elefant on the benefits of blogging as a law student.
- Demonstrate your substantive knowledge.
- Showcase your writing and analytical skills.
- Convince prospective employers that you are on top of changes in your chosen practice areas or career path of choice.
Ignore the naysayers and scare tactics, says Black.
Don’t let the fact that the internet is forever deter you from taking advantage of the opportunities that social media and blogging offer.
These guys offer some advice on where to start blogging as a law student.
- Determine what your post-law school objectives are. Identify a niche, practice area, or career goal that interests you and make it yours. Learn everything you can about it.
- Subscribe to blogs about your chosen focus and identify the influencers in that space, whether it’s a specific area of law practice or another career path in a different field.
- Connect with those people online and learn from them. Read their articles, blog posts, and social media posts and interact with them online.
And from Elefant:
- To get the most mileage out of your blog in the legal community, you need to blog about legal or law related issues. Sounds obvious, but I have students blog about their life as a law student or other random matterss
- I’d avoid blogging about topics obviously aimed at prospective clients – stuff like “Why You Should Incorporate Your Business,” or “Ten Ways to Avoid Liability When You Fire An Employee.” A law student blogger would have to include so many disclaimers as part of these posts that they wouldn’t have much value.
I know Niki and Carolyn as friends and as professionals. They are as passionate as I am, if not more, about helping law students use the Internet for learning, networking and getting a job. Follow their advice over the advice of law school administrators and professors who do not blog and use social media.
Remember, as a law student, Lexblog’s platform is free to you as part of the Law School Blog Network. Take advantage of it.