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.

Machines today are presenting lawyers with law they should see without the lawyers even searching or looking for the law.

When I practiced, when I wanted the see the law I needed to search for it, and not via a computer but in books, lots of them. The closest I came to machines and AI was an annotation to a code section or a case which told me there was an American Law Review article on point.

Today legal tech and legal research companies deploying AI (machine learning) are white hot and so is investment in them ($200 million invested in legal tech in the last couple months, mostly in AI).

My friend and colleague, Bob Ambrogi, wrote this week about the World Economic Forum recognizing 61 early-stage companies as tecnology pioneers for their design, development and deployment of potentially world-changing innovations and technologies.

Only one was a legal tech company, Casetext, which has been a key player in pioneering the use of artificial intelligence to enhance legal research.

From Economic Forum on Casetext:

Casetext provides free, unlimited access to the law and charges for access to premium technologies that attorneys can use to make their research more thorough and more efficient. It is the novel application of artificial intelligence (AI) to the law that allows attorneys to use the context of what they are working on to jumpstart their research.

I may be off a touch, but Casetext technology enables lawyers to share with a machine what they are working on, ie a brief of their’s or the other side’s and AI will indentify for the lawyer cases they should look at.

Imagine casting that across everything a lawyer is working on. Transactional documents, pleadings, memorandums, correspondence, you name it.

You key or talk somnething in and AI tells you, without a search, that you should look at this or that. Better knowleldge and at a small fraction of the cost of lawyers searching. Pretty neat.

Neat enough that the Economic Forum recognized AI in the law in the same context with previous companies recognized, the likes oif which included Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Scribd, Spotify, Twitter and Wikimedia.

But there’s a gap in the law which AI is presenting lawyers. Secondary law. The insight and commentary of lawyers with expertise in niche areas of the law.

Secondary law should not be discounted. It’s regularly cited for persuasion at the trial and appellate court level. Secondary law is used by lawyers to guide them in transactional and litigation matters.

And secondary law is better than it’s ever been. Historically the province of legal academia, much commentary came from lawyers who never practiced. With the democratization of publishing with blogs and the Internet, the number of niches and the amount of content is greater than ever.

Beyond just reading the secondary insight, you’ll be able to reach out to the lawyer immediately, subscribe to their RSS feeds in your reader or engage them via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

The key will be aggregating blogs – nation and world-wide – and deploying the curated insight via AI. This way lawyers will discover information and sources they never knew they were looking for.

Aggregation is beginning, the AI part is probably coming faster than we think.

Whether it’s a bar association website, a monthly lawyer magazine or a blog, they are all publishing — and today, digital publishing running on software.

There are fifty state bar associations and, I assume, about fifty or seventy metro/county bar associations with websites and other digital publishing. Maybe more.

Strange thing is that as I look around the net and talk to bar professionals, I find that the bars are mostly operating on different publishing platforms. The core software, for example, WordPress, may be the same, but custom development, custom design, custom hosting architecture and custom support rules the day..

Why wouldn’t bar associations use the same website software for their digital publishing? Better yet, a SaaS based solution so that the bar staff or people/companies on behalf of the bar could run the design, set up and changes, as often as they wanted and to the extent they wanted.

Designs and lay out would be different, but the core software, development, hosting architecture and regular upgrades and feature enhancements would be the same across the board. Better, faster and cheaper would be the outcome.

When do bar associations receive regularly upgrades and feature enhancements at no cost now? They wait years until a new site or publication is done — most often with budget problems. The result is an insecure and underperforming platform for years on end.

In addition to cost savings, readers get a better experience. Last year I saw that many state bars were publishing their monthly magazine on a “pdf-like’ interface which gave instructions on how to use the interface for reading when you opened it up. That’s embarrassing and has to make lawyers wonder about their bar’s tech aptitude..

I’ve been told that using a common publishing solution is totally doable. The problem is committee politics and member requirements for specific items.

Nice. Committee members, mostly lawyers, who are unskilled in web development, software and usability making uniformed decisions.

As far we need to have this and we need to have this because we saw it some place, that’s absolutely crazy. Makes as much sense as asking for a custom designed car as you don’t like the ones that are available. Or a custom designed and custom developed practice management platform because the major players don’t provide every single feature you want.

Invariably, the dedicated bar association staff and lawyers feel resource constrained when it comes to web publishing development and site maintenance. They don’t get what they want to start with as they are spending for custom work that’s not needed. Necessary upgrades and feature enhancements do not get made.

More than one savvy bar professional have shared with me that the publishing software is only part of the web development challenge – and maybe the smaller part of it. Association membership, e-commerce and other software platforms play a big part — and drive custom work.

Maybe I am dumb, but the publishing software and other software could be integrated without developing custom solutions. It’s getting data going back and forth – not trivial, but something that need not require custom platform development.

It can be tough to all come together on something, but I’m just talking web publishing, with the focus on presenting information, articles and other content.

What do you think?

Legal tech and innovation conferences universally bill themselves as bringing the best and brightest together to discuss and advance innovation and technology.

Some say their conference will break down the silos and build connections across a fragmented industry, where everyone across the country and the world is well intentioned, but not collaborating.

Others say they’ll bring together the industry’s leaders, innovators and peers to collaborate so as to bring greater access to legal services.

All good, but only a tiny fraction of the industry’s leaders attend. And don’t get me started on the “leaders,” who with their public relations people, pay to be included on a panel or two.

When I have contacted legal tech and innovation conferences this year, I don’t recall any being live streamed. One was, but they were charging (I got free access as widely followed on social media, others did not).

If the conferences truly believed in their mission to advance legal innovation and technology — and to bring the industry leaders together for greater collaboration, they’d live stream their event and make it available for free.

Live streaming is not one of those things that you throw off till next year because of the complications. Live stream via an iPhone and iPad on Facebook Live – for free. It’s not hard.

Most conferences have an expensive recording crew manning expensive recording equipment for videos that will or may be available later on. When is later on? Do hundreds of industry leaders who did not attend call, and presumably pay, for videos a month or two after the conference?

I was at an Avvo confernce in 2017 attended by 700 pepople that was live streamed to the world via Facebook Live by one person using an app call Switcherstudio. I believe he used a couple iPads and an iPhone so he could do split shots and zoom in on slides.

Your Facebook Live video would be posted immediately after its live presentation. You can also “pull” it from Facebook and publish it to YouTube. The YouTube embed will allow you to have the session videos on your site by the end of the day.

You want to go really wild, you spend a hundred and fifty bucks and you get all the videos transcribed with the transcripts posted to your site by the next day.

Ideas, minds and innovation live far beyond the four walls of a conference center or hotel ballroom. Why wouldn’t you want to include those minds? Why wouldn’t you want instant collaboration with those minds via social media.

Open things live online and you’ll attract the thinking of those not viewed as “the leaders” and those who don’t have the money for flights and hotel rooms.

You open up thinking to those world-wide. The legal tech and innovation community in the U.S., other than those selling products overseas, is pretty myopic. The U.S. is a small place when talking tech. Live stream and you’ll get people watching and participating from around the world.

If you’re thinking that you can’t live-stream for free as it will cost you paying attendees, that’s plain dumb. If anything your conference will be talked about more ahead of time and afterwards, only increasing attendance in year one and subsequent years.

If you’re an association such as a bar assoction or other network where propfessionals pay dues, you owe it to members to live stream. You’ll also make yourselves more relevant.

Most importantly, we have a lot at stake here. 85% of people in the U.S. alone have no access to the delivery of legal services. And it’s not all about costs. It’s more about getting a functioning legal system out where people are – online and using innovative technology.

Presuming that by throwing “leaders” into conference rooms and having them go out for dinner and drinks (I enjoy it as much as anyone) is the fastest way to cross the chasm on the delivery of legal services is a little short-sighted. We need all hands on deck in an easy and effective way. Live streaming helps do that.

If you’re having a legal tech and innnovation conference, you, more than anyone, need to demonstrate your grasp of technology and innovation. You need to be liive streaming via Facebook Live.

This weekend marks the 15th anniversary of WordPress.

What started with the release of open source publishing software by Matt Mullenweg, then a freshman at the University of Houston, and a friend has grown to power over 30% of the top sites on the web.

Gates, Bezos and Zuckerberg are known by nearly all for their disruption. But Mullenweg, with WordPress, is right with them.

Fifteen years ago ago, I was six months away from toying around with web publishing (blogging) in my garage. The concept of publishing to the web by everyone had been realized by few back then.

Little off the shelf publishing web software was available. Heck, I’m not sure many folks could see why they would even need it.

Few people were publishing blogs, mainstream publishers kept their monopoly with expensive proprietary publishing software and marketers and public relations agencies had yet to coin the phrase “content marketing” to save their jobs.

A short fifteen years later and Mullenweg’s original goal has been reached, publishing has been democratized. There’s other publishing software, much proprietary, but without WordPress, digital publishing, the heart of how we publish today, would not be at the disposal pf everyone.

WordPress powers 30% of all Websites in the world. WordPress powers 70% of all websites with a “content management solution” – that’s sites that are publishing.

No matter how you cut, that is extraordinary growth. Start from zero and run 70% of all web publishing in fifteen years.

Did Bill Gates and ‘Word’ close on “WordPerfect” word processing software that fast?

We’re going to see the day when WordPress is ubiquitous. When virtually all web publishing will be run on WordPress. Those who doubt it think back to those saying WordPerfect was better.

I may not have started LexBlog on WordPress but we’d not be empowering legal professionals, students and legal tech companies to shape the future of legal reporting and publishing without it.

LexBlog is but a drop in the WordPress bucket. Per Mullenweg:

There’s so much: A group of high school students bands together to build a national movement on WordPress; a president builds the foundation for his own next chapter on WordPress; the current WhiteHouse.gov switches over; or when someone like Hajj Flemings brings thousands of small businesses onto the open web for the first time, with WordPress.

And the key to it all is open source. WordPress, the legal profession and the web would not where it is today without Mullenweg’s and WordPress’ commitment to open source development.

Many in the open source world are like Moses in that they speak of the Promised Land but will never set foot there. If I spend the rest of my life working and we don’t reach almost all websites being powered by open source and the web being substantially open, I will die content because I already see younger generations picking up the banner.

LexBlog has the best WordPress development team anywhere upgrading and adding features to our core product. New aggregation and syndication products are being developed on WordPress. We’re being challenged by bar associations to develop a do it yourself website solution to sit on our WordPress platform.

All on WordPress and the best may be yet to come from WordPress’ Gutenberg release later this year.

Thanks for fifteen years, Matt. Here’s to the next fifteen.