Substack for Lawyers, What’s the Attraction?

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Bob Ambrogi has a real nice piece this morning on “The Lawyers of Substack.”

As early adopters of digital publishing in the law turned to blogging, something we’ve seen explode over the last decade, some legal publishers are turning to Substack.

Substack is an online platform that provides publishing, payment, analytics, and design infrastructure to support subscription newsletters.

Among the legal Substack users Ambrogi highlights are lawyers and career legal journalists, David Lat and Jason Tashea, whom I’ve been reading on Substack.

Lat covers events and trends in the law. As I have mentioned before regarding Substack, Lat is likely to return to the heights of legal journalism – covering the Supreme Court and more. He founded one of the first widely read blogs, Underneath Their Robes, as well as the granddaddy of legal blogs, Above the Law.

Being able to charge a five dollars a month, Lat could turn this in to lucrative deal. I’d rather read Lat than similar coverage from ALM or Law360.

Jason Tashea covers access to legal tech as it relates to access to justice matters, and does a heck of a job at it. There is no better person covering the area than Tashea, a legal tech entrepreneur and former report for the ABA Journal.

I have commented on Substack and legal publishing before, but after reading Ambrogi’s post I asked some teammates their thoughts on Substack. Our quick take:

  • Substack is meant to be a platform for people to make money from their content through subscribers. That’s how they, Substack, make money. Most legal bloggers make money through their law practice.
  • Substack has an easy to use and nice looking interface for publishing.
  • A big reason Substack is experiencing some success is that they’re set up so that their publications emulate what made early blogs so successful: they cover a narrow niche and they’re usually authored by a single personality—and people are drawn to that person/personality.
  • The novelty of a new platform will attract lawyers and firms, though firms may struggle with success as group publishers.
  • Full text newsletter versus excerpts which some firms mistakenly choose to to go with on blog posts based on the belief that traffic to their blog is more important than reader convenience and loyalty.
  • By charging a subscription on Substack (optional) you may be putting your content behind a paywall and making it irrelevant as far as evolution of the law.

Colin O’Keefe, who leads our publishing group, shared his thoughts on Substack, directly, in a blog post last fall.

Read Ambrogi’s post, if you haven’t already to learn more about the lawyers on Substack and what they’re doing. Maybe, like them, there will be something in Substack for you.

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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