WordPress launched its version 5.0, including a total overhaul of its editorial interface via Gutenberg, just ten days. 

Since then, WordPress released version 5.0.1 as a security release, as reported by WordPress Tavern’s Sarah Gooding, “with fixes for seven vulnerabilities that were privately disclosed.”

First updates in a week, and the second to come six days afterwards. 

WordPress 5.0.2 will be the first planned followup release to 5.0 and is now scheduled to be released December 19, 2018. Gary Pendergast posted a summary of this week’s dev chat that includes the schedule and scope for the upcoming release. It will include Gutenberg 4.7, Twenty Nineteen bug fixes, and a few PHP 7.3 compatibility fixes.

No matter how large a company, the talent of their developers or the quality off their testing, when you put software out to a huge number of users using various operating systems and machines, you’re going to find bugs.

With open source you pick up a a huge number of developers working on the software, finding bugs and working to repair them and making improvements for performance, speed and security. Those developers are getting feedback instantaneously from users around the world. 

An example is improving the speed of Gutenberg, as shared by Gooding.

Slow performance as compared to the classic editor has been a commonly-reported issue with Gutenberg. The project has a label for it on GitHub with 26 open issues. 140 performance-related issues have already been closed so the team is making progress on speeding it up. 5.0.2 will bring major performance improvements to the editor, particularly for content that includes hundreds of blocks

For posts with a large number of blocks, a component of publishing in Gutenberg, the speed can be up to 300% faster.

Major upgrades and feature enghancements will come in WordPress 5.1, to be led by WordPress co-founder, Matt Mullenweg, in February – just 60 days after 5.0 and Gutenberg’s launch. 

Law firms using proprietary software for websites and content management (think blogs, microsites et al) do not see anywhere near this rate of improvement in their software. 

Couple that with upgrading software only happening when “doing” a new website, usually three for fears after your last website and you’re running on software three or four years old (not including when your developer/web agency last updated their software).

Software that old poses performance, security, speed and usability problems. It’ll also lack features your peers are already using. 

In time, law firms, law schools and other organizations in legal will come to see the advantages of running open source software and using a managed host for it.

That way publishing and websites will run on a near SaaS (software as a service) solution by them or for them by a web agency or a managed WordProcess host such as LexBlog’s publishing solution. Sorry to tout us. ; ) 

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot when your legal publishing company is already struggling in the eyes of a lot of folks.

ALM is attempting to stop a couple young legal tech entrepreneurs, one a lawyer and one a technologist, in Sheffield, England from using the term or phrase “LegalTech” in the title of their small legal tech conference, LegalTech Conference North, which was held for the first time last month. 

As reported by Dan Bindman of Legal Futures, conference coordinators, Matthew Pennington and Harvey Harding received a “cease and desist” letter from ALM telling them that their use of “LegalTech” in their conference name was in violation of ALM’s trademark. 

From Bindman:

According to the Intellectual Property Office, the UK trade mark covers: “Conducting and organizing exhibitions, trade shows, conferences and workshops for public and private organizations, companies, lawyers and law firms for the purpose of exhibiting technical products and services directed to the legal profession, namely, computer hardware and software.”

The US trade mark also covers “newsletters issued periodically, directed to technical products and services for the legal profession”.

An ALM spokeswoman said it does not try to prevent ‘fair uses’ of the term outside of these areas.

It’s hard to think of what other areas could be relevant. ALM is looking to clamp down on any type of program or publication which uses the term “legal tech” or legaltech.”

Heck, there was a CLE program put on by few entrepreneurial Seattle lawyers up at Seattle University Law School this week. “Seattle Legal Tech – 3rd Annual 21st Century Lawyer CLE.”  (emphasis added)

What should they have called it? Seattle Application of Scientific Knowledge for Practical Purposes in Legal? 

I get that ALM has a publication called Legaltech News and holds a conference and show called Legaltech, rebranded as LegalWeek over the last couple years.

But really, throwing your weight around when it comes to a small conference put on by two young entrepreneurs in Northern England.  

From an ALM spokesperson:

ALM does not seek to prevent ‘fair uses’ of the legal tech term. However, as a trade mark owner, ALM’s goals are to both protect its longstanding rights and to try and prevent consumers from being confused into believing that another ‘legal tech branded show is affiliated with ALM’s long-standing event.

And if that’s not enough.

ALM and its predecessors have used the trademark ‘legal tech’ for over 30 years in connection with a leading trade show for the legal industry.

While the term legal technology, or ‘legal tech’ for short, has a descriptive meaning, by virtue of ALM’s long and successful use, the term has come to identify ALM’s leading conference and has become a trademark.

Indeed, the US and European trade mark offices recognised these rights when it permitted ALM’s registration of the marks many years ago.

I wonder if the ALM spokesperson has ventured outside, or onto the Internet for that matter, over the last decade or two. There is no way the phrase, “legal tech” has become synonymous with ALM’s conference. Even ALM, knowing their Legaltech show is struggling, changed the conferences name from “Legaltech Show.”

Ciaran Dearden, of the national law firm, Freeths, who is representing Pennington and Harding, has a different take than ALM, one founded in reality, common sense and the law.

The existence of this trade mark is really restrictive for a booming legal technology sector.

“When ‘fintech’ is in the dictionary, but ‘legal tech’ is a registered trademark, there is clearly a problem.

In our view, ‘legal tech’ should be a term open to all to use to describe what is a transformative movement in the legal sector.

The proprietor of a trade mark has to be proactive in protecting its intellectual property, and that simply hasn’t happened here.

In this instance, the proprietor has allowed ‘legal tech’ to become a generic term for the use of technology in the legal sector and, in doing so, has undermined the basis for the mark’s protection in relation to the proprietor’s services such that the trade mark should be cancelled.

Pennington told Bindman that ALM’s position is ridiculous and that he’s 99% sure the mark will be cancelled.

You look at the number of companies at Companies House that have got the words ‘legal tech’, let alone the number of conferences… There is no way [ALM have] control over it.

Now everyone is using the term, you can’t then turn round and say you’ve got to stop using it.

“’Legal tech’ should be free to use to describe any product that works in the legal sector like ‘fintech’ describes any that works in the financial services sector.”

Sadly, to be safe from ALM suing them, Pennington and Harding rebranded their legal tech conference as Legal Technology North, temporarily, knowing that they’d be challenging the trademark.

In an effort to get the word out on the conference and to give kudos to Pennington and Harding for having the gumption and desire to help lawyers and the people they serve, via tech and innovation, I’ve been tweeting word of the conference and the coverage the conference received in the Sheffield business community and beyond.

Local media in Northern UK took pride of the fact that local entrepreneurs were looking to grow the tech community in the area, something that London is better known for. 

It’s a shame when ALM, which bills itself as covering breaking news and trends in legal and bringing the leaders in the industry together, doesn’t cover or support legal technology and innovation efforts like this one. Let alone, try to impede them. 

Money doesn’t grow on trees for these two Sheffield legal entrepreneurs. In an effort to raise £5,000 for their defense of ALM’s trademark claim, they’ve launched a Gofundme campaign to raise money.

Watching WordPress cofounder, Matt Mullenweg deliver his annual State of the Word at WordCamp US on Saturday afternoon from Nashville there was little question that Gutenberg is the future of legal publishing.

Beginning with the WordPress text editor (unchanged for a decade till now) released this week with WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg will ultimately impact the entire publishing experience, including customization of our publications. 

Gutenberg will empower lawyers, law firms, law students, law professors, and organizations throughout our legal profession to do everything, and more, that traditional publishers have done.

A law firm, law school or court could take control of their own publishing on WordPress based platforms and out perform the likes of Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and Bloomberg.

Gutenberg delivers a “block” publishing experiencing that enables users you to create as rich a post layout as one can can imagine and even build their own themes. WordPress developers expect to transform WordPress into something users love, as opposed to something they use because everyone else does.

Gutenberg will get us to look at the editor as more than a content field. We’ll look at the editing field as place for design, font treatment, art, photography, layout and inclusions from video, and audio to other technology.

Lest one think that’s just for websites, digital publishers ranging from The New Yorker to The Athletic blend design, layout and fonts to make for a more attractive reading experience.

WordPress is approaching near ubiquitous status in publishing with 70% of sites with a content management system (CMS) using WordPress. Gutenberg is only going to further fuel WordPress open source developers around the world that much more.

Proprietary software providers, no matter how large or well funded, are no match for WordPress development today. They’ll lag even further behind WordPress with the advent of Gutenberg. 

Sure, WordPress is not perfect. No advanced legal tech solution is. But the use, momentum, development community and passion within the WordPress community is going to bring us all the future of legal publishing. 

As part of its annual recognition of legal blogs, the ABA Journal recognized what we in the legal blogging community have known for years.

This being that legal bloggers can cover niches in the law better than traditional legal reporters and publishers. 

From Sarah Mui, Copy Editor and seventeen year veteran of the Journal:

Great legal blogs go deeper into practice niches than the mainstream legal press and share well-written personal insights. 

It’s true. How can a reporter, journalist or writer match a practicing lawyer who is staying abreast of developments in their area of law, whether on a state or national basis?

There are far too many niches. And too much expertise, too much passion and too much desire to breakout as a leader in their field in lawyers from coast to coast.

Practicing lawyers familiar with talking with the press know the frustration of one line being pulled from a lengthy conversation when the reporter is also talking with a lawyer taking the opposite side.

It’s not the reporter’s fault, they need to report, have limited bandwidth and simply don’t have the expertise a practicing lawyer has.

Getting published in legal journals, law reviews and legal magazines, bar association related or otherwise was a pipe dream for the vast majority of lawyers.

With the advent of blogs, lawyers were handed a printing press to report as well as offer insight and commentary without going through gatekeepers. 

Thousands of lawyers jumped at the opportunity. Employment law for respective states, international service of process law, condo law for a major metro, state workers comp law, equine law, 9/11 recovery workers remedies, food safety law, probate litigation for respective states and what have you. 

Kudos to the ABA Journal, a century old legal publisher and the flagship magazine for the American Bar Association, for recognizing the contributions of today’s fellow legal reporters. 

And big thanks to the ABA Journal for being a long time friend of the legal blogging community.

The Journal has recognized the best in legal blogs for more than a decade. This year they’re recognizing thirty blogs and five more joining the Journal’s Blawg 100 Hall of Fame.

Law firms, law schools, public relations firms and even the courts use third party publishing platforms — and, by doing so, most hand over control of their content to third party publishers. 

Most of the publishing platforms the creators of the content pay for while some creators give their content to a third party publisher in exchange for distribution and notoriety.

Examples include:

  • Legal scholarship published on third party solutions with many of those third party publishers then selling access  to such content by subscription.
  • Articles and blog posts that creators pay to have distributed by distribution services, some of which index the content in the distributor’s names, versus the creator’s name.
  • Articles written for third-party publishers and news sites in exchange for the publicity and notoriety.
  • Courts enabling large legal publishers to publish the court’s case law which third party publishers then sell effective access of such law back to people. 

This made sense before digital publishing. How else could one get an article published and distributed without a third party publisher? How else could courts get the law published?

Digital publishing puts a printing press and distribution systems in the hands of any publisher in the law (not third party publishers). At some cost of course. But not at the cost of losing ownership or control of their works.

Techdirt’s Karl Bode writes today that ESPN has lost $14 million due to cord cutting in sports media licensing and distribution because of the market’s change to digital.

The penalty for ESPN’s failure to adapt has been severe. Disney’s recent earnings revealed that ESPN lost another 2 million regular viewers this year. And while ESPN still has 86 million regular viewers, that’s a 14 million regular viewer dip from the 100 million regular viewers it enjoyed in 2011. Those 14 million lost users generated around $1.44 billion per year for the “worldwide leader in sports,” which is still saddled with the severe costs of set redesigns and sports licensing contracts the company struck while it was busy not seeing the massive locomotive of market change bearing down upon it.

Market shifting caused some of the problem, but ESPN management’s refusal to listen was the real problem.

ESPN execs often tried to shoot the messengers instead of listening to the message. And once the damage was done, ESPN decided to fire hundreds of longstanding sports journalists and support personnel…

Common sense dictates that sooner or later, legal content creators (the true publishers) are going to take control of their digital publishing. They are going to cut the cord. 

Sure, content distributors, third-party publishers and news sites will make use of the content, by license (could be perpetual and, in some cases, be paid for) but the content will be published first on a domain and on a system the creator controls.

It’s a losing proposition for today’s large legal publishers to ignore change and count on the law being slow to change and people and organizations being afraid to challenge them.

Again, many cable and broadcast industry executives are under the mistaken impression they get to choose when to adapt to the markets shifting around them. In reality they only have two choices. One, get out ahead of the shift toward streaming video by giving consumers what they actually want, even if that means losing some money in the short term. Or, refuse to adapt, double down on the belief that traditional cable TV is a cash cow that will never die, and watch as smaller, more flexible outfits continue to steal your massive subscriber base out from beneath your feet.

Lest legal publishers think the cord can’t be cut in legal, look at just one legal publication, LexisNexis’ Martindale-Hubbell. A cash cow that relied on law firms paying them into the hundreds of thousands dollars, each, per year, to have their content published and distributed. 

From Martindalle’s peak to being sold off for near nothing with everyone losing their jobs took only five years.

When will legal publishing see its cord cutting – en masse? 

Apple News, unlike Facebook and Google which use AI and algorithms to curate the news for readers, does things the old fashioned way – with humans selecting the news.

If you’ve been following along, you know that LexBlog is creating the largest legal news and commentary network by curating the valuable contributions of legal bloggers, worldwide. 

Right now, we’re featuring stories on the “front page,” changing things out a couple times a day. Channel pages are created dynamically. We have plenty of room for improvement, but it’s a start.

The New York Times’ Jack Nicas detailed in last Sunday’s paper Apple News’ approach of humans over machines. 

One morning in late August, Apple News’s editor in chief, Lauren Kern, huddled with a deputy to discuss the five stories to feature atop the company’s three-year-old news app, which comes preinstalled on every iPhone in the United States, Britain and Australia.

National news sites were leading that day with stories that the Justice Department had backed an affirmative-action lawsuit against Harvard University — a good proxy that the story mattered, said Ms. Kern’s deputy, a former editor for The New York Times whom Apple requested not be named for privacy reasons. He and Ms. Kern quickly agreed that it was the day’s top news, and after reading through a few versions, selected The Washington Post’s report because, they said, it provided the most context and explanation on why the news mattered.

…Ms. Kern said her team aimed to mix the day’s top stories with lighter features and sometimes longer investigations, much like the front page of a newspaper. They largely chose from a list of contenders compiled that morning by three editors in New York who pored over the home pages and mobile alerts of national news sites, as well as dozens of pitches from public

This curation by Apple News has transformed Apple into a powerful news publisher and, per Nicas, transformed Kern, a former journalist, into one the most powerful figures in media. The stories she and her team select regularly receive more than a million visits each.

Apple pulls in news from traditional publishers and, just like LexBlog, pulls in RSS feeds from sources across the Web.

Kern and her team of 30 former journalists in Australia, Europe and the U.S. consume the news through out the day and decide which stories get the top spot.

Ultimately, they select five stories to lead the app, with the top two also displayed in a prominent window to the left of the iPhone home screen. They also curate a magazine-style section of feature stories. The lineup typically shifts five or more times a day, depending on the news. A single editor in London typically chooses the first mix of stories for the East Coast’s morning commute before editors in New York and then Cupertino step in.

LexBlog is now aggregating legal blog posts from close to 20,000 legal bloggers, up about 2,000 bloggers in the two months since we opened the network to bloggers not publishing on LexBlog’s publishing platform.

The posts generated from our data base of blogs published on our platform and RSS feeds from “non-platform” blogs generate anywhere from 150 to 200 stories a day. 

Even with a four or five fold increase in bloggers, journalists employed by LexBlog along with channel leaders from within the blogging community could well maintain human editing of the network. 

Apple News believes it is a lifeline for for journalism. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook sees Apple as having a responsility to help the news industry. “It’s fundamental to democracy.”

LexBlog sees legal blogs as central to increasing access to legal services. Insight and commentary from practicing lawyers not only means more information freely available, but also opens new lines of communicaton  and trust between people and lawyers.

A legal blog news network gives lawyers and the public at large greater access to legal information. For legal bloggers they receive support as well as a shot in the arm from having ther stories highlighted among the best and the brightest, worldwide. 

Traditional legal publishing in the form of law reviews, legal periodicals, treatises and the like continues to slide. At the same time, blogs, much more niche focused and mostly written by practicing  authorities, continue to grow.

A legal blog network supported by a publishing platform, as needed by individual bloggers, can be a lifeline for not only legal information, but also in increasing access to legal services.

And like Apple News, it would seem daily legal news could aggegrated from disparate source and then curated — by real people.

As a result of poor publishing practices, law firms are inadvertently hurting lawyers and the law.

The influence of their lawyers is at risk, if not severely diminished, and the advancement of the law is curtailed.

How so? Through a combination of sloppy digital publishing practices and not recognizing the role law blogs and their blogging lawyers play in both the advancement of the law and the administration of justice itself.

Law blogs have achieved the status of secondary law, sitting equal to or even ahead of law reviews and law journals.

Blogs have democratized legal publishing. Practicing lawyers, usually with niche expertise, who never published in law reviews and journals are regularly sharing their insight in blogs. Areas of law never covered before are being covered by lawyers with deep expertise obtained by practicing law.

Blogs are routinely being cited — by blogs, in social media, in law review and law journal articles, in briefs and memorandums and by courts at the trial and appellate level. In just fifteen years, blogs have become part of legal dialogue and the administration of justice.

Each time a blog is cited, the relevant post is linked to. The blogging lawyer is routinely cited and linked to as well.

With each citation, the blog’s influence and the influence of the blogging lawyer is increased. Geometrically over time.

Influence not measured subjectively, but objectively by machines and algorithms. Think search engines, legal research solutions and artificial intelligence applications.

Sounds promising until you get to the publishing practices of many law firms.

  • Blogging lawyer leaves a firm and the lawyer’s name is removed from all blogs, and often replaced with the firm’s name. The parties who have cited the post and the lawyer are embarrassed when people go the citation through the link and the authority (the lawyer) is absent. Citations will dry up up as people are not going to cite a post without the authority. The lawyer’s influence takes a big hit with citations going away and search tools and social media no longer seeing the lawyer as an authority via their posts at the firm.
  • Blog posts are removed when a lawyer leaves a firm. Immediate dead link from all citations and again the lawyer’s influence takes a big hit.
  • Blogs are taken down altogether when a lawyer leaves. All citations gone, the lawyer’s body of work is destroyed and the lawyer’s influence takes a huge hit.
  • Law firms move their blogs from one website solution to another, often software solutions not designed for legal blogging and run by web development companies not proficient in blog publishing. Url’s are destroyed, thus destroying all the citations and measures of influence for the lawyers.

I say inadvertent as I don’t believe law firms are trying to damage the influence of their lawyers and their careers nor impede the advancement of the law or the administration of justice. But it’s happening and law firm publishing practices are the reason.

Time, an open discussion about law firm publishing practices and uniform linking and citations, likely through WordPress, will correct things – or at least reduce the problem.

Law firms will not want to be know for being a firm that does not enable lawyers to grow their influence and career while publishing at the firm while other firms do. They won’t to be known for impeding the advancement of the law or the administration of justice. They’ll also not want to be known as not being tech savvy enough to run or select a proper publishing solution.

This issue is a serious one. I spoke this week with one of the authorities at the Library Innovation Lab at Harvard Law School working on Perma.cc. Recognizing the gravity of broken links in the law and the sheer number of them, Perma.cc has developed a service that helps scholars, courts and others create web citation links that will never break. We talked about systems and solutions to reduce and prevent link rot (broken citations) in more legal blogs.

Fifteen years ago, most could not have foreseen the need for uniform practices for legal blog publishing. But the day has come to begin work on it.

RSS is the standard for the syndication of published content across the open web. For law firms, RSS is how their content reaches many readers, especially their blog content.

But of late, I am finding many law firms not using RSS in publishing, even in their blogs.

Other firms have their RSS feeds set up incorrectly. All of their blogs in one RSS feed so users receive content they don’t want. RSS feeds kicking out some content, but missing other content – almost like a magazine with blank packages here and there. RSS feeds that don’t work at all so nothing shows in a news aggregator or on publications based on RSS such as LexBlog.

The sad thing is that RSS is simple. Its non-abbreviated name says as much – Real Simple Syndication.

RSS is not something that needs to be set up. RSS comes included in all blog publishing software. RSS is included in the largest content management solution (CMS), WordPress, which is used on 70% of all websites running a CMS, whether it be a blog or other content site.

Even though RSS is a standard include, I had one large firm tell me recently that they needed to pay their website development company to go back and turn on RSS. Another large firm said they needed to pay to get their RSS fixed on their just launched website. It’s sad, sounded like they were saying they bought a car without a standard include – like a functioning steering wheel.

Hey, I’ll confess when I started this blog in 2003, I had no idea what RSS was. In fact, when I hit the RSS button on my site, a page of what seemed like gibberish showed up. Turned out this was the “raw RSS code,” displaying as it should.

I soon found out that what one of things that made blogs special – and in factor superior to static content on websites, was RSS. RSS was  akin to a radio single sending out content from your blog to an audience who wanted to hear from you.

The standard symbol and website button for RSS is, in fact, a radio signal.

Without RSS, your website was like broadcasting from a radio station without an antenna. Everyone in the radio studio could hear you, but beyond that, forget it. Especially those folks with radios who turned into to your station wanting to hear what you had to say, they got nothing.

Imagine a lawyer unknowingly publishing blog posts on a law firm platform that did not have RSS working. Imagine telling the lawyer later that we were making it impossible for many users to read the lawyer’s posts – or that we were letting the world know that we, as a law firm, didn’t know what we’re doing when it came to a widely used and a simply deployed technology.

When I went out and met with law firms about blogs almost fifteen years ago, I explained that one of the great advantages was the RSS feed. I used RSS, one of the key elements of a standard blog, to sell blogs.

I explained that RSS created a web feed (RSS feed) which allowed users (clients, media, prospective clients, other bloggers etc) to access updates to the law firm’s blog at other than the blog itself. Pretty powerful compared to expecting users to come to a law firm’s website or blog to read updates.

Powerful also for automatically displaying blog posts in entirety or by excerpt back at the law firm’s website.

RSS feeds allowed a user to keep track of updates from many different publications or blogs in a user’s single news aggrator, the most popular of which was Google Reader, until Google shut it dowm. Today the most popular is Feedly.

The news aggregator automatically checks the RSS feed for new content, allowing the content to be automatically passed from website to website or from website to user. This passing of content is called web syndication.

Beyond news aggregators, RSS is how many large news service aggregators and syndication sources gets feeds. LexisNexis, is just one of many that has  syndicated blog posts that LexisNexis received by RSS. Other aggregators and syndicators deliver news and commentary to corporations, worldwide.

LexBlog receives all the blogs not published on our platform via RSS. Via that RSS, LexBlog displays and categorizes posts, creates an author/contributor page and a law firm page displaying posts and contributors. We syndicate those posts to third parties such as Fastcase and bar associations.

RSS is the syndication tool of record across the open web. Beyond blogs, publishers and media producers usually use RSS to publish frequently updated information, such news headlines, audio and video.

Don’t get geeked out by RSS, it’ doesn’t have to be any more complicated than email, another content delivery tool. We look at email as pretty simple and don’t get wigged out about the software and web architecture that enables it to work.

Look at RSS just the same as email. You need it. You don’t need to know what it’s all about and how it works.

And don’t let anyone sell you RSS, anymore than you’d let someone sell you a steering wheel as an extra for your car. Or charge to fix your steering wheel that never worked and made it tough to drive.

Will you be attending ILTACON in D.C. next week? Are you running a legal tech startup company that you founded? I’d like to interview you as part of LexBlog’s coverage of ILTACON.

More than technology, new funding, customers and products, the interesting stuff (for me) about a legal tech company is the story of how the company got started and, assuming it’s been going for a while, how it’s survived where others have failed.

ILTACON, held annually by the International Legal Technology Association, is one of the leading legal tech conferences. Traditionally, the focus is large law, in-house law and the technology companies serving such organizations.

This year, ILTA is looking to foster innovation for the Legal IT community by shining a light on legal tech startups and emerging growth companies. One way it’s doing so is a Startup Hub where eight of the over twenty five companies who applied will be exhibiting and doing education sessions.

Taking things a step further, LexBlog would like to shine a light on legal tech startups and emerging growth companies – and their founders.

We’ll do it by Facebook Live interviews which will also be posted to YouTube and transcribed and posted, with the accompanying video, on LexBlog. The videos will be also shared on other social media.

Nothing to prepare for. Five to ten minute interview to get the gist of your story.

  • Who started the company?
  • When?
  • Why? What was the problem you saw that you solved?
  • How did you fund the start? Did you bootstrap?
  • How long after the start did it take to have customers?
  • When do you think you had it made — ar at least thought you would make it?
  • What was the low point?
  • What’s been most rewarding about founding a company?
  • What would you tell other potential legaltech founders?

You may reach me via email , text/call (206-321-3627) or social media.

See you at ILTACON.

As a legal professional you have multiple places to publish today — Medium, LinkedIn, Forbes, Bloomberg, Above the Law, and many others. But the best place to publish, bar none, is on your own site on your own domain.

Sonia Simone, co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Rainmaker Digital, a widely respected digital marketing provider shared a ten step content marketing checklist this morning.

Number one on her list, “Don’t build on rented land.”

Before you create a single piece of content, Simones advises that you think about where that content will live and how audiences will get to it. Effective online publishing takes too much time and effort to do otherwise.

Nearly all of the content you create needs to live on a domain you control, using a platform you can do as you please with.

That means you’re not publishing the bulk of your original creative content on LinkedIn or Medium. (You can still get the excellent benefits of those platforms by syndicating your content there after you’ve published on your own site.)

And you’re not publishing on a “website in 20 minutes” solution that forces you to use someone else’s domain.

If your domain isn’t www.YourWebsiteName.com, you don’t own your platform.

If you can’t publish what you please, with the wording, sales messages, and images you please, you don’t own your platform.

99 times out of 100 the right solution is a self-hosted WordPress site, per Simone.

Self-hosted meaning your site being hosted by a managed WordPress platform. She’s biased toward StudioPress and me, LexBlog – both of us using WP Engine as our core managed host.

Of course you can use social media to deliver your content to where people congregate and for purposes off engagiung them.

From Simone.

You can absolutely use social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to nurture customer relationships and get the word out about the content you create. They can work beautifully for both purposes. But don’t build your entire business there — it’s a dangerous mistake that can end up costing you hours (or years) of lost work.

Content syndication is only to increase in the years to come. Five years ago everyone held on like grim death to the notion that everything they wrote had to be read only on their site. No more, people are reading content all over – and lawyers are publishing to grow a reputaton and nurture relationships, not to grow web traffic.

Building on rented land raises any number of problems, not the least of which is that the land owner has a different business model than you. They can change the way they do business and change what content gets emphasized in a New York minute. In a worst case, you cant’t easily get your content off their land when you have to.

Don’t fall prey to I’ll get a lot of traffic and lots of people will see me if I publish on rented land.

Blogging is all about reaching the right audience and engaging them, not traffic for the sake of traffic. Strategic and effective blogging on your own site will get you the audience you are looking for.

Good blogging/content marketing is, per Simone, about developing an audience that actually enjoys paying attention to you and demonstrates to that audience that you would be a good person to do business with.

Too important to do other than on your land.