Law blogs published by practicing lawyers, particularly blogs published on niches, improve people’s access to legal services.
“People” refers to any and all of us — consumers, small business people, executive directors, corporate executives and in-house counsel.
I’ve never talked with a lawyer publishing a good law blog who hasn’t found that many of the people who contact her or him felt more comfortable doing so because of the lawyer’s blog.
Makes all the sense in the world.
Imagine looking for doctor in a speciality for a relative in anther city. Google the city and the speciality. You’re apt to get hospital and clinic websites done by marketing people.
Areas of Expertise: Dr. B’s expertise includes clinical cardiology, interventional cardiology, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology.
Special Interests: Dr. B has special interest in coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease.
Personal Information: Dr. B enjoys literature, arts and the outdoors.
Really, I am supposed to make a decision on a doctor based on that info or maybe by calling another doctor who will say Dr. B is a good guy and does a nice job in surgery.
Now imagine a doctor who blogged, maybe on their approach to working with patients or on topics advancing the treatment of coronary heart disease by referencing the writings of other doctors in the field, nation and world-wide.
Imagine that doctor’s blog posts being cited by doctors and shared on social media. It happens, even in the most complicated fields.
What do you know in your search for a doctor? This doctor stays up to speed in their field, they’re widely respected by peers, they are a giving person – not only to the medical profession, but to patents and the public.
Who do you trust? Who is more approachable?
It’s the same with lawyers. Imagine a family law lawyer in Springfield, Illinois blogging about domestic abuse issues.
She shares experiences, without blowing confidences. She shares information about the resources and organizations that a battered spouse kicked out of the family home with children and no money can turn to.
A victim in Springfield can Google “domestic abuse,” without even including Springfield, and retrieve the lawyer’s blog at the top of the search results.
More importantly than the information and blog posts on the lawyer’s blog is the immediate trust the victim develops in the lawyer. An intimate level of trust without ever having met the lawyer or being told anything about the lawyer.
And what is the victim apt to do? Call the lawyer. Amazing in a day when people have legal needs the last thing they would do is call a lawyer. It’s obvious why. People just don’t trust lawyers.
Lawyer profiles on law firm websites are just as bad as that doc’s profile. They tell us nothing about the lawyer from which we trust the lawyer enough to call them. We’ll call them only as a last resort.
We’re not talking about just consumers getting access to legal services via blogs. There isn’t an in-house counsel at Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, Google or Facebook who dosesn’t come to trust the insight and information on niche focused law blogs published by practicing lawyers.
Blogs that develop trust in the lawyer and result in the hiring of lawyers, whether done via the blog itself, seeing the lawyer speak at a conference, or having the lawyer referred because of their growing name.
Access to legal services, by its definition requires identifying a lawyer who knows what they’re doing in the area in which you have a need. Calling a buddy (even a lawyer), business colleague, relative or friend is no assurance you’ll get such a lawyer.
In the last decade while organizations and associations have studied the access to legal services problem — and while people are seeking legal services from other than lawyers — we’ve grown from a nation of hundreds of legal bloggers to a nation of thousands of legal bloggers.
We have a long way to go, but law blogs are improving people’s access to legal services — and access to skilled lawyers.