The challenges most of us are facing with the pandemic, such as social distancing, are minimal compared to someone getting the virus, the small businesses being closed, workers without jobs, people losing their health insurance, and people not being able to care for their loved ones because they’re prohibited from entering a hospital, rehab center or nursing home.

Those of us in the legal profession and legal industry (LexBlog included) have an obligation to lead. Working in the law, we’re the champions of the less fortunate. Other industries don’t have the same obligation.

LexBlog has seen lawyers rise to the occasion by providing guidance and insight, via blogging, on legal matters arising out of the pandemic. The public, their clients, and their client’s customers, employees and patients are hurting – and confused, at best, on multiple legal fronts. The lawyers are responding.

The impact of the virus covers all types of areas of the law – insurance, disability, health, employment, landlord tenant, real estate, banking, civil and criminal procedure and more.

In addition to existing laws and regulations, states, via their governors and executive agencies – in addition to the federal government, are given broad authority to act through executive order.

The interpretation of these laws and executive orders will be left to our nation’s lawyers. Without the lawyers sharing insight – one to one and through sharing their intellectual capital on the net – businesses and the public would be clueless.

While other businesses are hurting – if in Seattle, just walk through downtown, Pike Place or Belltown to see the emptiness – LexBlog is getting the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

We’re now seeing upwards of one hundred posts a day on the coronavirus pandemic our network. The lawyers publishing on the pandemic to our network represent by far the largest group of legal journalists reporting on the subject. No one can match them.

So it was time for Lexblog to get to work to shine a light on their insight and make available to consumers, businesses and other lawyers the best legal commentary on the pandemic.

As of today:

  • LexBlog is currently manually aggregating content and feeding it own “channel on the coronavirus.”
  • You can get there via but it is redirecting.
  • Things started off slow. A handful a day, but now we are seeing over one hundred posts a day related to Coronavirus/Covid-19.

As of next Wednesday:

  • We will have a standalone publication, Coronavirus Legal Daily, running on LexBlog’s Syndication Portal product.
  • Features are being developed that will enable the Portal to pull not only sources, such as a blog, but also posts on a subject, no matter the focus of a blog publication.
  • This portal feeds off our total community. If you have joined LexBlog as a contributing blogger in the past (it’s free), you can get in. All you need to do is write about Coronavirus/Covid-19.
  • This new portal will scan for posts about Coronavirus/Covid-19. It will only publish those posts from any author on our network (publications running on LexBlog WordPress platform or on another publishing platform) who is writing about the subject.
  • A directory will populate based on what bloggers/publications/organizations are writing about Coronavirus/Covid-19 (there are still pending questions about how this will setup).
  • Every day we will feature posts from authors on the front page and our social media.
  • Those posts will also go out in our Coronavirus Legal Daily newsletter, which will go out daily (M-F at 11am)

Most lawyers work piecemeal by the hour. We develop skill in a niche. Develop a book of business or market to get more work in the area. And then do the work, though varying in some degree, time and again.

I am not saying that’s bad.  As lawyers, we do a lot of good things for people, their families and their communities. We’re integral to a society of laws.

LexBlog does much of the same. Develop technology and use it to deploy solutions for customers – though we’ve always operated on a subscription basis. As discussed below, we’re evolving from that way of business.

But as Amazon showed again this week with launching a business selling an automated checkout solution to retailers, there is a different way of making money. Develop a process and the technology to support it, use it yourself in your own business and then license the technology/solution to other parties.

In Amazon’s case, opening up Amazon Go or Amazon Go Grocery stores need not be the only way to grow revenues.

Amazon can license their solution – the technology behind its cashier-less convenience stores to other retailers. Retailers that have to rent store space, pay employees and incur all the other costs and risks of operating a retail operation, that Amazon will not have to do.

From Reuters’

The world’s biggest web retailer said it has “several” signed deals with customers it would not name. A new website Monday will invite others to inquire about the service, dubbed Just Walk Out technology by Amazon.

The highly anticipated business reflects Amazon’s strategy of building out internal capabilities – such as warehouses to help with package delivery and cloud technology to support its website – and then turning those into lucrative services it offers others.“

Amazon wasn’t in the retail grocery business a short time ago, and still isn’t in most of the country, let alone the world. But it’s already leading the market for retail without cashiers, a market that U.S. venture firm Loup Ventures estimates could grow to $50 billion, per Dastin.

Customers don’t like standing in line and Amazon is going to license a solution with 24/7 support to third parties. Third parties who may have to use such a solution,  just like retailers did to sell on the Internet after Amazon started it all, twenty plus years ago.

Licensing your own process and tech solution as a way to bring in greater revenue than using your own process and solution to facilitate your own business is nothing new to Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

  • Amazon started licensing it’s technology for companies to use in setting up online retailing. Think back to Toys R Us which built it’s own online stores, as opposed to accepting Amazon’s technology. I think they’re out of business.
  • AWS. Amazon had a ton of excess server space so it started licensing the space to companies like LexBlog which started using it fifteen years ago because it was cheaper and more powerful than operating our own servers.
  • Stores and businesses selling on Amazon. The vast majority of consumer based retailers sell on Amazon. Rather than Amazon doing the fulfillment and shipping, the retailer does. Amazon is licensing everything else for a cut.
  • Washington Post. Jeff Bezos buys the paper and builds a heck of tech solution to run and publish it. The Post then licenses the solution and technology to other newspapers, including the Boston Globe, LA Times and the Chicago Tribune.

I’ve long looked at the Amazon model as a good model for LexBlog’s publishing business.

We’re managed WordPress platform at our core. A WordPress platform with a lot of customization for ease of use in legal publishing. A managed platform in that we’re managing the platform from the server operation to core upgrades to feature enhancements to training and support.

Without this core technology we couldn’t offer a professional turnkey blog solution, operate or be offering a Syndication Portal product for publishing aggregated and curated content.

LexBlog now needs to start looking at what we offer as SaaS solution for legal publishing. And to start looking at whether we are selling it as such. Our solution may be more valuable to our customers and potential customers – as well as LexBlog in framing its delivery as such, as opposed to selling one “site” as a time.

In addition, legal publishers, without as powerful a managed WordPress solution can begin licensing our solution. We’ve built it and could build the infrastructure to support such deployment.

I started with lawyers, and think the Bezos thinking could be relevant here as well. What systems and processes, let alone technology, can law firms license to corporations and other law firms. Maybe the same thing can be done with software built by some firms.

There may be more revenue in licensing systems, processes and, for some firms, technology than in selling legal services.

LinkedIn, Reddit, or Facebook, what will it be as a learning center on legal blogging? All are options.

I’m a big believer in the open net for purposes of discussion, asking questions, learning the advancement of ideas.

I suppose this comes from the wonderful discussions that blossomed on niche areas of the law across Prodigy, Compuserv and AOL in the 1990’s.

Those we were not technically “open,” you needed to log in with a user name and number. We also had bulletin board systems (BBS) with only limited discussion on legal.

But these places, back in the day when browsers were not widely used and we were years from having search, were the open net. Millions of people like me took to the net seeking help and to help others. The net was a wonderful place then.

Mind you, I am talking lawyers, consumers, small business people, in-house counsel, corporate executives. law librarians, law students legal professionals and more taking part in these open discussions in the 1990’s. No one was waiting around for bar associations and the like to tell us it was okay to talk to others and that it was okay to carry those conversations onto the Internet.

LinkedIn was founded not long after we started LexBlog. When LinkedIn groups started, we jumped on the name Legal Blogging Group.

The LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group took off. Thirty to sixty people applied to join every week – the group was not open to all, you applied so that we (I) could see that the person was “legit.” Spam from companies selling to lawyers was not near as big but it was there.

In addition to people finding the group through LinkedIn, anyone who inquired of using LexBlog’s publishing platform received an invite to the group. Good opportunity for them to learn more about legal blogging from legal bloggers – and goodwill generated for LexBlog buy providing a forum for learning.

With some exceptions, groups seemed to die out on LinkedIn. In the Legal Blogging Group we had a ton of people who just wanted to push their blog posts to others by posting them to the group. LinkedIn facilitated this spamming by enabling people to cross post across groups – legal marketing companies became the biggest violators.

With the spam and LinkedIn’s apparent lack of work on groups, we just didn’t see a lot of activity and new members. The group became an after thought for me to clean up now and again.

But a month or so back I hit a button on the privacy settings to the group. More people started joining.

My gut says the algorithm work Microsoft is doing now that it owns LinkedIn is also causing a rise in the group’s relevance and visibility.

Makes me wonder if we can revive the group into something that resembles the days past. Place for questions, answers, resources and getting to know people. I’ll confess not a bad a place to generate business – not by selling, but by building a reputation as a company that cares and helps.

As much as LinkedIn is there, one cannot say come here or there to talk and get support. The net doesn’t work that way.

Town squares blossom all over the place. As a business or someone who likes to help people, you need to go where the people are. No matter whether that’s where you like to hang out. No matter if you don’t feel comfortable there. It’s not about you – it’s about the people you should care for.

And forget about, “that’s for personal use, this is for professional use.” Tell that to Starbucks, people talk about all types of things there – lawyers talking to clients even.

For legal blogging discussion, we have to look at Reddit. Reddit has a vibrant “subreddit” on blogging.

I answer a lot of blogging questions on Reddit. Not on legal blogging, but on blogging in general.

Blogging, across all verticals, has more in common than not. Legal professionals, as much I’m sure they would think the subreddit was not for them could learn a lot.

Could we get a subreddit on legal blogging going? I’m not sure. More questions on the law are asked and answer on Reddit than anywhere on the net, but I don’t know if we can get the traction.

Facebook is used by more people in the world as a social network than any other medium. We’re talking billions and that includes about 95% of legal professionals, for both personal and professional reasons.

Facebook’s algorithms rock. You only see what’s of value and of relevance to your life. Blow that off, by saying it’s only junk, you’re only boasting of your own ignorance. Used effectively, nothing works as well for networking (learning included) as Facebook.

Facebook is also working of late to improve its groups. The features of the groups, the way the group’s relevant posts integrate into our personal Newsfeeds and more.

As I started my thinking here, it was to announce a revival of the LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group. That’s part of the equation for helping legal professions, but Reddit and Facebook are going to have to considered. They’re where people are congregating as well.

And what about YouTube – it’s just an inch behind Facebook in its size as a social media network.

Stay tuned.


Big thanks to Sheppard Mullin and its CMO, Vickie Spang, for working with LexBlog to be the first law firm in the country to launch a digital magazine featuring the curated insight and commentary of the firm’s lawyers.

Rather than additional work for the firm’s lawyers “In the Know” aggregates and curates, via an editor, blog posts and other pieces available via an RSS feed.

Original pieces may be published as well, whether from the firm’s lawyers and leadership who do kit blog or from professionals outside the firm, whether they be in-house counsel, business people or other authorities.

Each of the contributors has their own profile with their background and body of work. A lot of inspiration there to keep those bloggers blogging. 😉

Sheppard Mullin’s “In The Know” runs on LexBlog’s Syndication Portal product, a SaaS publishing solution that includes free support, free core upgrades and free new features. Portals run on technology comparable to the software running LexBlog.

Sheppard Mullin, was one of, if not the first, of LexBlog’s large law firm clients. I remember very well where I was sitting when they called and said if we start buying five or ten of “these” blogs can we get a discount? Sold, was my response.

It was one of those feeling all entrepreneurs get. “This is going to really work. People like what we created. They’ll pay for this. We can make it.”

Not for a minute have I grown to big for my britches. I still pinch myself to make sure it’s not dream when we come up with a new idea, thinking it’ll work, but never knowing for sure until we bring it to market and see people take money out of their market and put it in our pocket.

It’s been that way with Portals, already running bar association sites with more to come. And now we’re going to move Portals to the law firm market.

Thanks Vickie, you have been a good friend over the years, and to the entire team at Sheppard Mullin. You guys have been true innovators. It’s been a true honor to serve you along the way.

No surprise that professionals on the LexBlog network are reporting and commenting on the coronavirus pandemic. The question arises how LexBlog, as leading legal publisher should “report” on the pandemic by virtue of aggregating and curating relevant coverage.

When we started running as a publication of aggregated and curated blog posts shining a light on our bloggers, as opposed to a marketing site about our products and services, our thinking was that would be a legal publication where people would come and read stories – in addition to reading stories on the original publication, the blogger’s blog.

We talked of  “dressing up” pages of akin to what you’ve seen in newspapers in days past. I still remember the green and orange pages of certain newspapers being the sports section. Internal “magazines” were discussed.

But can LexBlog expect people to naturally come to topical or tag sections on topics such as the coronavirus pandemic. Some people might, but my gut tells me the readership will not be high.

We’re not a traffic centric, advertising supported, or pay to play (lawyers and organizations pay to get their content distributed), but we are in the business of getting valuable legal insight and commentary out there, inspiring our network bloggers (whether they are paying us or not), and perhaps most importantly experimenting with what the future of legal publishing should be.

So we don’t need to go to pains to drive traffic to a channel page. We can look at other means of news distribution.

Things as simple as a daily newsletter of curated content could work.

Perhaps something more innovative would be to drive such publishing through our Syndication Portal solution.

Via a Portal, LexBlog launches an independent publication on the coronavirus pandemic. The stories come from the leading legal professionals in the world.

If we’re lacking existing coverage on the LexBlog network, we go out and get coverage from legal professionals from around the world. Find publications with a RSS feed that we believe would contribute to our pandemic coverage, and recruit them. Not every one of their stories needs to be on coronavirus, we can tag those that are for Portal inclusion.

The draw and excitement of publishing to one of the world’s leading coronavirus legal publications is a strong one. Contributing to the great good, visibility, directory inclusion in the coronavirus portal site and, as it should be, paying nothing for inclusion and distribution as a reporter/blogger.

LexBlog’s cost is minimal in running such a portal and it can generate a lot of excitement for our team. We’re one of the world’s leaders on coronavirus pandemic legal coverage right from our small Seattle-based team.

The revenue to LexBlog could come from multiple channels – sponsorships, greater Portal sales as publishers see its potential and greater subscription sales of our blog publishing solution, among others. We’d also gain partners in traditional legal publishers who fear the Portal model.

There may be good reason to fear the syndication model. Go find the best and brightest reporting on niche subjects such as coronavirus and syndicate their copy at no significant cost to LexBlog as the publisher.

The blog publishers, unlike traditional publisher’s reporters and editors, already have a means of earning a living. The traditional publishers couldn’t even garner the amount of such coverage – and from such authorities.

In internal LexBlog discussions, I’m harping about doing what other publishers are not. Innovation is not likely to come from the past. What’s being done by other publishers on the net is largely failing.

Whatever we do, let’s do something different. If it doesn’t work, we stop doing it and move on.

My gut says Portals are a good model for publishing on niches such as the coronavirus pandemic.

With over 25,000 legal columnists in the form of legal bloggers, LexBlog is no doubt in the the publishing business.

Our business model has never been around subscriptions, advertising or, God-forbid, charging people to distribute their content. Our business model has always been licensing publishing software.

A blog publishing platform, a portal platform for syndication and a ‘spot’ publishing solution for publishing ‘into’ LexBlog and onto our syndication partners. All in a SaaS model, where our software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.

Turns out, per a a piece on media trends at Axios, the business of licensing publishing software is becoming increasingly competitive as more digital publishers look to raise money and develop more content management software and technology products.

From Axios:

  • Minute Media, a holding group that owns digital sports and entertainment websites like The Players’ Tribune and The Big Lead, announced Wednesday that it has raised $40 million in venture capital on a post-money valuation is more than $500 million, most of which will be used to expand its business by selling publishing software as a service.

Many modern media companies have built some sort of tech product, mostly publishing software, to license to other companies. Today, there are many companies that offer different publishing solutions.

  • The Washington Post created Arc, which is licensed to dozens of publishers, from small weekly publications to The Boston Globe.
  • Vox Media sells a suite of tech products ranging from its content management system, Chorus, to Coral, an open-source comments publishing platform that it acquired from the Mozilla Foundation last year. It also acquired a content management business called Clay when it bought New York Media last year.
  • Axios is reportedly looking to sell a new CMS-type of service to big companies, per Business Insider.
  • Hearst Media licenses MediaOS, a proprietary content management system that also serves as a data analytics platform.

Though, per Axios, most have not been able to grow their non-media businesses to deliver on the promise of tech-style scale, LexBlog is doing so.

As any entrepreneur will tell you, one never feels secure, LexBlog is scaling with technology, processes and software. With a small and nimble team, we’re running over 1,000 niche publications, and growing on our publishing software and aggregating and curating content from over 25,000 citizen publishers – legal publishers/bloggers.

Talking to another publishing partner today, discussing our model, he said I’m starting to see it, you’re in the “mechanics” of publishing, and licensing the software to support it.

Traveling to Europe a few times for work over the last couple years made me realize just how myopic I’ve been in looking at the size our market.

Until traveling overseas, I looked at the U.S. as our market. We could go down and up in law firm size for customers, we could develop new products and we could look at customers other than lawyers and law firms, such as organizations.

All the while though I am swimming in the same sized pond, competing against the same crowd.

The competing crowd, which once blew off blogs as ill fitting for legal, selling at too low a price to make any money, and not understanding blogging themselves as an impediment, has gotten a lot bigger. Not that our blog product isn’t better than the competition’s, it is, but unknowing people buy inferior stuff.

Introduce our products overseas and our pond grows by multiples. The U.S. is only the third largest country in the world. Introducing our products into the main five Anglo countries, alone, would increase our market by 50%. Let alone a world market which would grow our market by multiples.

Not say selling overseas doesn’t have its challenges.

  • Smart law firms in the states have built their reputation and grown business by sharing their intellectual capital for a long time. Blogs just changed the way it was done. It’ll take some leg work to see how open lawyers overseas are to giving away their intellectual capital. My gut says they are, particularly in the UK, just a decade behind the states in doing so online. A decade behind is good for us.
  • Cultures are totally different from country to country. The legal and business culture will differ as well. When Howard Schultz took Starbucks overseas he did so with partners in the foreign countries. When he went alone, I think it was in Germany, Starbucks first entry was a failure.
  • Legal ethics rules. What’s allowed? What isn’t? What apologies should be drawn to cross the chasm before acceptance?
  • LexBlog is a known and trusted brand in the States. That’s not the case overseas. Sure I was recognized at some legal tech and innovation conferences in Europe. But I don’t believe I can get in the door of large and credible law firms, by emailing that I am in town and I’d be remiss if I didn’t let their leaders pick my brain on blogging and networking through the net.
  • Sales people. Who’s going to travel overseas, regularly? Is there someone located overseas already who could help us?

We do have some things going for us.

  • Our platform is language agnostic. LexBlog’s managed WordPress platform is being used by customers in multiple languages, including in Chinese dialects and in Arabic. The front and backend can easily be set per language.
  • LexBlog is publishing data in the form of text and meta data to give the text more morning. This is in contrast to legal publishers having to interpret, index and publish the law, and its nuances. Our platform customers interpret and publish the law.
  • WordPress owns the content management system (CMS) market with nearly 70% of the websites using a CMS running WordPress. Our market knows and uses WordPress. What we’ll deliver will be intuitive and easy to run.
  • LexBlog scales. We believe, to a fault, in the art of a product, versus an agency model. We can deliver and support growth – including regular core upgrades and feature enhancements.

Thinking about foreign expansion, we may have something on hand to gain a beachhead overseas. Our Syndication Portal product.

We approach an organization comprised of lawyers, an equal of a bar association in the States. Take The Law Society in the UK.

We look at the existing publications kicking out an RSS feed being published by members of The Law Society. Our Portal product would generate an aggregated display of content (later curated), with profiles of the professionals, their organization and their publication.

The benefits to The Law Society include shining a light on members, a body of law for legal professionals and the public, and new publishing revenue for The Law Society.

For LexBlog we gain recognition as a trusted publisher and a position to grow the number of legal professionals blogging or amendable to moving existing publishing to our platform. Those professionals looking for additional exposure overseas beyond the UK, would pick the exposure up through LexBlog’s growing network.

Who knows, maybe I am missing something here. But it seems a return visit to The Law Society in London is in order – after doing some leg work on UK legal publications with an RSS feed. If there are few, if any, we may need to develop an option B.

I’m headed to Chicago next week for the ABA TechShow. I’ll be in Chicago Wednesday through Saturday morning.

TechShow is as much about the people and companies as it is about the conference itself. The organizers should be proud of what they have accomplished here.

TechShow appears to have made a concerted effort to bring tech, in addition to lawyers using tech in more advanced ways, to those lawyers who may proudly call themselves luddites. The result is a lot of sessions which tend to be pretty basic. This is probably okay, but I am not sure that folks leave as inspired to innovate as they may be by attending other tech conferences. Change and innovation is needed now if we’re going to bring access to legal services via lawyers, versus ongoing discussion, something the ABA has a history of.

Maybe I am biased, but I also see tech and innovation conferences to be a little better when not offering CLE.

If I’m a lawyer looking to bring innovation and technology to my practice in a way to really save time and get a substantial leg up on the competition, I’ll pay to to go to a conference, CLE or not. Presenters and the conference then need not worry about whether a session was such that it met CLE requirements.

The conference that changed my life as a trial lawyer was on Internet marketing and advertising in Monterey in 1997 and not put on by lawyers. That conference, which obviously did not offer CLE, did more to inspire me to bring access to legal services in innovative ways via the Internet than anything else at the time.


As an adjunct to TechShow, the ABA Women Rainmakers Committee is holding 2020 Women of Legal Tech Summit down at the ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law all day on Wednesday.

I go to conferences to spend time with people and to get inspired. The annual Women in Legal Tech fits the inspiration bill in spades – especially the morning’s brief presentations by women leaders in tech and innovation. I find it really enjoyable to sit back with a cup of coffee and listen to these morning talks and hear what can be done with a dream, passion and perseverance.

We should be calling out women leaders in the law. For all too long, and sadly still today, women have been treated as second class citizens.

“Can you get the coffee, honey,” is still voiced by lawyers to a fellow female lawyer who has already arrived in a conference room for depositions. Women get funded at substantially lower rates than men in their legal tech startup endeavors. And forget about large law, where men have prevented the vast majority of women lawyers from obtaining equity partner, let alone managing partner.

The ABA and Kent are providing a forum to showcase and advance the tech and innovation in the law brought to us by women. Those of you who believe in women led initiatives in legal tech should stop by. Saying “I wish I could have, I didn’t arrive in time,” really doesn’t cut it anymore.


I’ll be meeting with bar associations and other publishers about our Syndication Portal product. Hey, I get that I talk about PortalS a lot, but I am pretty pumped. It’s not every day you do 10% penetration of a market (state bar associations) without bringing a product to market in a big way.

I love bringing a product to market via an open discussion – online and offline – with the legal community and potential customers. You develop a feel for how to present the product – what words to use, what analogies to use and how the product hits a sweet spot for customers. You also discover new uses for the product.

I’m finding now more than ever that SaaS solutions are key for publishers. Developing websites on your own or developers is really cost invective and often results in a far inferior product in the short term and more so a couple or three years down thee road.

Most publishers are not in the publishing software development business. And those that are tend not be in the managed WordPress platform business. WordPress, soon to be ubiquitous in web publishing, offered as a SaaS solution tailored for legal publishers is hitting that sweet spot.


Friday evening is the annual TechShow Beer for Bloggers hosted by the ABA Journal and LexBlog. What began as a small gathering over beers in a pub is now in its thirteenth year and a show staple.

Stop by the Emerald Loop Pub from 5:30 to 7:00. Everyone is a guest. Go out the front door of the Hyatt and head left for block or two.

See you there, at Women of Legal Tech and around the TechShow this week.

With LexBlog gradually moving to a distributed workforce, I am taking a page out of Matt Mullenweg’s playbook – that being that as a CEO I should be traveling out to see my team where they live and work. Headed to Boston tonight.

I’ll be seeing Scott Fennell, our lead developer, and a highly respected WordPress developer among its open source community, nation-wide, who lives in Portland, Maine. Scott’s being nice enough to take the train down to Boston to accommodate me with having a few other meetings in the city. Next time, I go to Portland.

I’ll also be meeting our Robert Ambrogi, the dean of legal tech journalism, who needs no introduction. Bob, who hails from Rockport, Mass, the next cape up from Cape Cod, is a taking brief train or car ride down.

Last week, I met up with Andy Walters, our senior project manager, in his home, Austin. Worked out great as I enjoyed Andy contributing to a meeting with one of our state bar association partners.

Meeting in a coffee shop in West Hollywood about four years, Matt Mullenweg asked me if I thought the best team members for LexBlog were located within forty miles of Seattle. I kind of blew him off, but he was serious.

Matt is the co-founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automattic, a multi-billion dollar company and the operator of the largest managed WordPress platform ( in the world.

With over 1,000 employees, Automattic has neither a headquarters nor offices. The entire team is distributed.

Five years ago, or so, Matt moved to San Francisco from his home in Houston and opened offices near downtown. But no one really used the offices, do Matt closed the offices and moved back to Houston – though with Automattic team members and WordPress open source developers all over the world, Matt is on the road a lot.

Want to learn more about a distributed workforce, Automattic style, pick up the book, ‘Year Without Pants,’ by Scott Berkum. Berkum chronicles the behind-the-scenes look at the company behind and its unique work culture that contributes to its phenomenal success – 50 million websites, or close to thirty percent of the entire web.

More on LexBlog’s distributed later. Know for now that we are benefiting.

Beyond meeting up with Scott and Bob, I am going to meet some associations as to how they, their member lawyers and the public not finding access to legal services can benefit from our Syndication Portal product.

As popular as the ‘Portals’ are (two more state bar associations signed on as partners this week), we’re not ‘selling’ the portals, we’d be remiss if we didn’t reach out to bar associations to share with them how they can benefit – financially even – from a ‘Portal.’

Back Thursday night or Friday morning.


Bar association partners. Has a nice ring to it, as it relates to bars being partners of LexBlog, or maybe better put, LexBlog being a parters of bar associations.

Sure, we’ve had member benefit programs with bar associations. Bar members receive a discount off LexBlog services. Sometimes bar associations benefit financially as well.

But these programs have always felt a little hollow. Nothing was being done to really benefit the bar, its members, and the public – consumers and small business people, that we all serve. Just a financial exchange that required LexBlog to go out and market and sell to the bar’s members. In a relationship based sales business like LexBlog’s, that type of sales is tough sledding.

I’ve admired Fastcase’s bar association partnership program. Bars and Fastcase partnered to democratize the law – to make the law free to lawyers, as opposed to selling the law to lawyers as the large legal publishers have always done. A cost that was passed on by law firms to their clients, something further limiting access to legal services.

LexBlog is all about improving access to legal services. To bring effective access to the 85% of people – consumers, the middle class and businesses, who aren’t sure if they have a legal issue, what lawyers could do for them and how to find a caring and experienced lawyer.

Legal blogs have proven an effective way to establish an intimate relationship of trust in lawyers. Lawyers going out where people are and giving of themselves in a real and authentic fashion. Not websites trying to grab attention in the form of what is basically an advertisement – no intimate relationship of trust there.

Lexblog is establishing a Project Access to Legal to Services (name for now) with the goal being to partner with bar associations from coast to coast to provide real and immediate access to legal services to the 85%.

We’ll begin by inspiring blogging lawyers to keep blogging and take it up a notch – to help themselves, as lawyers, and to help the 85%. This will be done through our Syndication Portal product highlighting, at a state or metro level, existing bloggers and their commentary.

With three state bar associations partnering, via Portals, and another to follow shortly, we’re close to 10% of states. Small, but a positive start.

We’ll then Work with the bars to look at the larger cities in states to build out a network of lawyers covering personal plight areas of the law – about 12 areas, including family law, bankruptcy, workers compensation, real state, estate planning, employment and elder law – to make sure consumers and small business people have access to legal information from local lawyers they trust and develop an intimate relationship of trust with those lawyers.

Where there are gaps in coverage – there will be many – LexBlog will provide its professional turnkey blog solution at a discount and train these lawyers to be outstanding bloggers.

Take this approach and LexBlog, bar associations and their members are working on something bigger than themselves. Something that makes a dent. Something better and bigger than a member benefit, alone.

Happy Valentines Day from Austin, heading home to Seattle.

Meeting a friend visiting Seattle from Atlanta who has traveled the road I have recently traveled, and more. Looking forward to it, enough so to catch a 6 AM flight home and get to up at 3:30 to run up Congress Ave and around the Capitol.

Running every morning has certainly made it a habit, so, believe it or not, it’s enjoyable to get up and get out, no matter the time. Though a 5 AM flight could make for an all nighter.

Austin was good. The ABA and NABE (National Association of Bar Executives) mid-year meetings were both taking place.

Looks like we’ll move a large bar association from their current network website to our syndication portal product. Met with another bar leader as to whom to discuss such a move at their bar as well as a highly trusted bar and law firm consultant about talking with additional bars.

It’s really a no-brainer for firms and organizations to run their web presences/publications on SaaS solutions like our portal – all upgrades, feature additions and hosting are all included and taken care of by us/LexBlog. Websites developed, one at a time, for organizations are running on outdated software from the day they launch and it becomes an ordeal – and expensive – to make improvements, let alone launch a new site at some point.

The Fastcase annual partners dinner for bar associations has grown to over 160 professionals who are working with Fastcase to make the law (legal research) free to lawyers. This democratizes the law which traditionally has been sold by a dualopoly of Thomson-Reuters/Westlaw and LexisNexis. Over 900,000 lawyers now have free access via Fastcase/bar association partnerships.

Thank you to Fastcase co-founders, Ed Walters and Phil Rosenthal for inviting me to the dinner each year. It’s good to spend time with bar leaders as well Fastcase team members, many of whom are new as a result of Fastcase’s growth.

I enjoyed Phil’s comments thanking the bars for the partnership they’ve forged over the last 20 years. Now 20 years old, Phil said people won’t let him a call Fastcase a startup anymore – “and more than founding and running a company, at 20 years, it’s truly become one’s life work.”

I’ll remember that line, “one’s life’s work.” When you start out chasing a dream, you want to make a difference – to leave a dent, to make the world a better place because you were here. “Our life’s work” is a very nice way to put it.”

And Fastcase, LexBlog and other legal tech companies like us will always be startups. We came from no where to deliver solutions and ideas that never existed before that now benefit thousands of legal professionals and the people they serve.

I think it’s always, “Day One,” as Jeff Bezos says.

I was feeling a little guilty (as an Irish Catholic, I feel guilty at the drop of a hat) or wondering if I was moving to fast by getting out and traveling for work. But I have found, after two trips, traveling helps.

Talking with my friend, Jim Calloway from Oklahoma, last evening, he said that’s because you’re doing what you always do – being out on your own and spending time with people whose company you enjoy.

Also helps to talk with friends – business colleagues and customers truly are my friends. More than offer condolences, they spend time talking with me. They give me their ear, enabling me to talk through what the kids and I are feeling.

I then have the chance to tell them to cherish their family and the time they have together. Life is precious – and fleeting. “Hug your spouse/partner and your clidren every chance you get.”

So as my friend, Richard Georges, who has also traveled this road, counsels me, I’ll try not to use travel as an escape, I’ll use it to grow. As Rick says, “use travel to bring joy.”

I’ll be in Austin on Thursday for the ABA’s Annual Mid-Year meeting.

In addition to ABA officials getting together, the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE) holds its Mid-Year meeting at the same time. NABE serves the management staff of bar associations and law-related organizations and its membership is comprised largely of employees from such associations.

Knowing that relationships with people are the lifeline of any business, especially at LexBlog where we’re often more interested in who you are than what you do, I’m going down to spend time – even if it is only for one day – with people whom I enjoy knowing, and working with.

Fastcase, founded and operated by my friends, Ed Walters and Phil Rosenthal, holds an annual dinner at Mid-Year for NABE member executives in appreciation for their using the Fastcase research platform and related products as a member benefit for their association members.

I’ve had the honor of being a guest of Ed’s and Phil’s the last few years. Gives me the opportunity to renew friendships and make new ones.

Mid-Year also provides the opportunity to meet with any number of legal and business professionals, some in earlier scheduled meetings and some set up when folks respond to my “I’ll be in Austin at Mid-Year, let’s meet..” announcements on Twitter and Facebook.

Meetings just for the social engagement, meetings offering folks feedback on what they’re working and meetings to share what LexBlog is working on.

Even when I am showing people what LexBlog is working on or releasing for a new product, I never view it as selling. I view the legal and business professionals I know as friends. I would be remiss if I don’t show them what we’re doing, I’d be leaving them out of what others have seen and are taking advantage of.

Look me up, if you’re attending. I have some time during the day – and Thursday evening, after the dinner.


If you’ve been following along, you know that LexBlog’s been releasing its Syndication Portal product over the last six or eight months.

Bar associations are using Portals to generate revenue, showcase their members, inspire lawyers to blog, increase access to legal services and connect lawyers to people, among other things.

We’ve run network sites for associations for years, but not as a SaaS solution like Portals.

I asked my COO, Garry Vander Voort, to run a comparison breakdown of the network features and the features now available with the Portal solution. I wanted to have it in hand to answer questions I’ll get in a meeting Thursday with an association running on a network who may want to consider moving to a Portal.

The comparison showed a lot of new stuff once you unpack it.

The new items are in BOLD.

  • A mobile-first Syndication Portal hosted by LexBlog with a custom domain.
  • A sign up form for members to submit their RSS feeds for inclusion on
  • LexBlog will process, troubleshoot and add member sites to the Portal.
  • A directory of publishing bar members, firms and publications.
  • Access to an aggregated content feed containing just association member blogs and their content.
  • The ability to post original content onto the site.
  • Aggregation of not just post titles and summaries, but complete post content and metadata from Member Blogs.
  • Multiple responsive advertising widgets.
  • Content feature widgets to draw attention to specific members, their posts or podcasts.
  • An automated newsletter of member content sent to subscribers on a recurring basis.
  • Inclusion of association member content on This includes promotion of relevant content on the frontpage and social media channels.
  • Inclusion of relevant content into FastCase’s comprehensive national law library. LexBlog is the exclusive provider of law blog posts, as secondary law, to Fastcase.
  • Inclusion of relevant content into the vLex research platform.
  • Google Analytics integration.
  • Free service upgrades and feature enhancements to the the Portal as made by LexBlog.