Law blogging has come a long way in the last fifteen years. Not all of it for the good.
Real lawyers engaging on real subjects in an authentic fashion, for many lawyers and law firms, has gone the way of content marketing sold as a billboard for eyeballs by web development companies.
Rather than contributing to the discussion on the law and making a sincere effort to make the law more digestible for average folks, we have lawyers buying content from marketers to slap on a website with the only goal being search engine traffic.
My friend, Scott Greenfield, a New York criminal defense lawyer and long time blogger at Simple Justice, is right that blogging takes effort and desire.
Most people just don’t have the chops or interest in doing it. Some suck at it. Some aren’t nearly as fascinating as they think they are.
Furthermore, law blogging takes being authentic, having a face, being real. In the absence of being real and putting in the effort, lawyers “buy content from Bangalore or walk away,” as Greenfield puts it.
He’s right. Talking with legal journalist and long time law blogger, Bob Ambrogi, last week, he asked me what I thought the number one reason was for lawyers to stop blogging. Without a doubt, it’s because the lawyers don’t know what blogging is, or if they do, they won’t do it.
A month or two ago, I announced donuts.lexblog.com, a blog where my team and I can share open, honest and authentic thoughts on what we’re learning and thinking. God knows a LexBlog website with slick phrases, pictures, colors, testimonials and the like doesn’t do a thing to let lawyers and law firms know who we are and what we stand for.
I’d hope lawyers trying cases, guiding companies and handling the affairs of the wealthy to the downtrodden would want more. Maybe a company whose story is told, personally, on an ongoing basis about what the people working there are reading, learning, thinking and doing.
Greenfield’s correct that I haven’t given up on telling lawyers about the virtues of blogging. Engaging in niche focused discussions so as to get known and build relationships is just too darn good when it comes to being a real lawyer. Making a good living by virtue of who you are, versus the color of your website and the words we bought, is the stuff we went to law school for.
Add to this that real blogging lawyers make the law and lawyers more accessible.
Any lawyer who’s tried cases knows that jurors aren’t dumb. Give them some straight talk and good information from witnesses they can trust. You may stumble and be unpolished at times, so long as you’re honest, sincere and authentic. They’ll figure it out, despite the glitz and glamour thrown at them by the lawyers hiding the truth.
Blogging lawyers who share what they’re reading and offer their take on a regular basis give consumers, business people, other lawyers and the media a view inside niche areas of the law. A view these folks don’t get from a book or mainstream media. They sure as heck don’t get a glimpse of the law from some words sold to a lawyer.
Lawyers become accessible when people trust them. Give people this window into who they can trust as a lawyer and they’ll be more likely to reach out to a lawyer. Real blogging does this.
I don’t know, maybe I am just giving myself a “you can do it” talk before I take to the streets to to convince more lawyers to do some real blogging. But I will take the bone that Greenfield threw me.
I hope Kevin’s onto something. I suspect people will tire of cute and insipid quips and will return to the days when actual thought and illuminating commentary were available online. It’s time for a fourth wave of blogging where real lawyers write about real stuff for real. But it won’t be all donuts.
I can run hit the streets with this “fourth wave of blogging,” Scott. Stayed tuned in 2018.