By Kevin O'Keefe

Monday, May 4, 2020 #Blog4Good

I’ve been noodling on ways that my at LexBlog team and I can help people impacted by the pandemic. That’s most everyone on the world.

You’re getting my thinking out loud on the ways LexBlog can help by quick iteration of our existing technology and harnessing the passion and expertise of legal professionals. It’s the latter who’ll drive this.

Who are the people we can help? Consumers, small business people, corporations, government agencies, fellow legal professionals and more.  We all have legal issues and a need for information and insight arising out of the pandemic – and likely will for years to come. We also need to know know where to turn for help.

Interpretation will be required of existing codes, regulations and case law on matters never anticipated by legislatures and judges. Add to that the executive and agency orders coming down from the states and the federal government.

It takes lawyers with niche expertise, or the desire to learn, to provide the needed interpretation, guidance and advocacy.

We need to make it easy for legal professionals to share what they know. We need to make this insight and information open and accessible. We need to syndicate this informant to relevant publications and sources.

One, for the information itself, and two, so people can find the lawyers who understand the issue and who can help. We’re going to see lawyers help in the years to come like we never have before.

Like tech and pharmaceutical companies iterating from what they already have, for testing, treatment and vaccines, so as to bring products to to market as soon as possible, LexBlog can take what we have – years of iterative software development – and bring new products to market as soon as possible.

We may not be saving lives, but we can quickly bring products to market that can help people impacted by the pandemic.

Here’s how.

  • LexBlog has one of the best, if not the best, content aggregation and curation technology solutions around. This technology has been developed and deployed over time. First, to run LexBlog.com and then to run our Content Portal product for the syndication of relevant content.
  • With it, LexBlog is aggregating as much, if not more, pandemic related legal information and insight (in the form of the blog posts) as anyone. Three hundred posts a day and growing. Talk about caring legal professionals, here they are – in spades.
  • At the the time the pandemic hit the States, our aggregation technology was reaching its capacity. In a Boston meeting at the end of February between Scott Fennell, our leading developer, and I, Scott explained that we’ve reached the limit of aggregating blogs not running on LexBlog’s publishing platform. Not only would the process of adding blogs be slowed, but syndication performance would be hampered.
  • We’d been working on building our own aggregation technology for awhile, rather than continuing to use the most powerful third party aggregation technology available. With the pandemic, we wanted to aggregate and syndicate more data – content, with relevant metadata. The team quickly completed its development, testing and launch of our own aggregator.
  • Faced with filtering content by subject (virus related), versus sources (a blog), as we have in the past, the team then developed a new filtering system in five days. The next step is sentiment or text analysis of content to understand what a piece of content, and its parts, are addressing.
  • Though our Syndication Portal has been used by state bar associations (Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin), law firms and recent associations wanted to modify the appearance and features of the Portal for the aggregation and curation of pandemic related blog posts. In less than a week the team did the necessary work for the Sheppard Mullin pandemic site (aggregates all of their pandemic posts from ay source) and major metro bar pandemic site that will go live on Wednesday. The team did this through the development of additional options in widgets to the theme so we can scale for continuing and expanding use.
  • The bar associations and other associations we’re already working with and talking with wanted to provide low cost publishing platforms – blogs or spots – for lawyers to share pandemic related information. Over the last week, the team worked on a turnkey blogging solution and site that we expect to sell for thirty-some dollars a month. Spots can be provided at a comparable price for publishing directly to association portals and LexBlog.

Leveraging our evolving technology, here’s how I think we can help people:

  • Tap into the energy, passion and desire to help of legal professionals – don’t underestimate the power of good.
  • We have thousands of legal professions blogging about pandemic issues on our network.
  • Get the legal bloggers not on our network onto our network. It costs them nothing. The visibility and knowing they’re contributing to the public good is more than enough reason for them to get their blogs on the network. This is for law firm blogs and the blogs of individual legal professionals.
  • Get non participating blogs in LexBlog data base – lawyers, law firms, associations and companies. Expands the data base.
  • Curate Covid blog posts (writing about covid) at LexBlog (most every post). Large data base. Inspiration and recognition of the lawyers – profiles of them, their firms and their publishing.
  • Curate Covid blog posts per each larger law firm so that the lawyers in the firm have a searchable data base from which to access the firm’s knowledge they did not know was there. Nice business development tool for sharing proactively (email) with clients knowledge/resources from the firm. Curated publication ideally runs on a separate site ala Sheppard Mullin’s COVID-19 Insights.
  • We’ll begin contacting each of the large firms whose Covid content is not in our data base.
  • Curate Covid blog posts by state, via state bar and major metro bar associations. All but two bar associations have Covid related information. I’m not sure that any of them, other than the five running our portal product, are automatically feeding the information with lawyer’s insight from their state or metro area.
  • We’ll begin contacting each of the State and Metro Bars to make sure they’re offering their lawyers’ insight to the public like this.
  • Empower lawyers, law firms, law students and other legal professionals who want to contribute —  get them blogs and spots. Lawyers want to help whoever they can. Bar associations, law schools and other organizations can be good partners to share word of the opportunity.
  • Provide education on how to help. Blogging can feel intimidating so can writing an article for direct contribution to a portal or LexBlog. LexBlog can make this easier by sharing the questions we needed answered for consumers and business. Think FAQ’s and this can be state and metro’s. The early legal web was built on lawyers helping people via FAQ’s. My first company, Prairielaw, had a ton of FAQ’s by area of the law and jurisdiction. So did lawyers.com when we expanded FAQ’s upon LexisNexis’ acquisition of Prairielaw. Great early legal bloggers kept track of the questions they and their staff got from clients and prospective clients.
  • Cost should never be an impediment to helping people. LexBlog will work with legal professionals, law firms and associations to make certain that they have the opportunity to help people.

More to come – and how about #Blog4Good as a hashtag.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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