82, or 41%, of the 2008 AmLaw 200 law firms are now blogging. This number is up from 39 firms, or a 110% increase, since August 2007 when LexBlog released its first State of the AmLaw Blogosphere. The number of blogs being published by these firms has grown more than 200% in that same timeframe, from 74 to 227.

In the 6 months since LexBlog released its third State of the AmLaw Blogosphere in November of this 2008, the number of AmLaw law firms blogging has grown 15%.

For large law firms looking to brand their law firm blogs, LexBlog remains the blog publishing platform of choice with 68% of the AmLaw law firm branded blogs running on the the LexBlog publishing platform.

Growth highlights:

  • 41% of AmLaw 200 law firms have blogs.
  • 15% growth in last 6 months in the number of AmLaw 200 law firms publishing blogs.
  • 43% growth in last 6 months in total number of blogs being published by AmLaw 200 law firms (some firms have more than one blog).

And in the numbers:

  • 82 of the 2008 AmLaw 200 firms were blogging.
  • Those 82 firms were responsible for a total of 227 blogs.
  • 186 of the 227 blogs were firm branded; the remaining 41 blogs were not branded. ‘Firm branded’ blogs are those where the firm’s name and/or logo are prominently displayed, indicating that the blog is more a product of the firm than of the individual author writing it.
  • Of the 184 firm branded blogs, 37 firms used one of the major publishing platforms: 27 firms were using LexBlog; 4 firms were using Typepad; 3 firms were using Blogger; 1 firm was using Movable Type; 4 firms were using WordPress; and 1 firm was using Justia. Some firms use more than one publishing platform.

See a list of all the blogging AmLaw200 firms, with links to their individual blogs, after the jump.

Continue Reading State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere, June 2009

In creating their Virginia IP Law Blog, which launched today, AmLaw 100 firm Troutman Sanders wanted it to serve as a "platform of communication" for businesses and professionals on intellectual property issues and questions.

This is a prime example of how a dynamic blog is different from a static firm site and why that difference is so valuable. A blog allows for and thrives upon communication and dialogue.

"We decided to start a blog for two reasons," says Troutman Sanders attorney Dabney Carr. "One, to communicate with businesses and intellectual property lawyers in Virginia and in other states about issues and developments in our specific geographic market – Virginia and the Virginia courts.

"Second, we felt that our blog could serve as a way for Virginia lawyers and businesses to share information on intellectual property issues, including trends in litigation, regulatory issues, and best practices."

The design of this blog shows its relationship to the firm’s website and brand while maintaining its own unique look.

"The firm came at this project with a very specific vision of how they wanted the blog to look," says LexBlog Project Manager Rob La Gatta. "Working with our graphic designer, we were able to craft a layout that captures the firm’s branding but is noticeably a different resource all together from their regular website."

Epstein Becker & Green, an AmLaw 200 firm and one of the most respected firms in the country, has consistently proven how effective blogging can be for large firms.

The firm most recently launched their non-compete blog, the EBG Trade Secrets & Non-Compete Blog. This blog joins four other Epstein Becker & Green blogs on the LexBlog network:

One of the main sources of inspiration behind the blogs is EBG’s Senior Manager of Marketing Operations, Patricia Sterling.

"EpsteinBeckerGreen attorneys are sharing their thought-leadership commentaries about a wide range of subjects with other professionals, academics and the media," Patricia wrote in an email. "The Firm is extremely pleased to be a part of the dynamic conversations taking place throughout the blogosphere."

Labor & employment attorney Richard Tuschman, who blogs at the Florida Employment & Immigration Law Blog, reports that his blog has both increased his profile in the legal community and also led to numerous interviews with journalists covering topics he’s written about.

"Just as importantly, blogging forces me to keep current with significant developments in my field," Richard added. "Telling a client, potential client or colleague that I’ve written a blog post on the very topic they’re inquiring about, and directing them to that post, enhances my credibility enormously."

EBG is a model for how large firms can cast a wide net with their online presence. With experts in a variety of practice areas, they showcase their knowledge and experience with targeted, knowledgeable niche blogs.

I posted last November that every major law firm in the country has a LinkedIn profile providing detailed demographic information.

Law practice management expert, Rees Morrison, emphasizing the the value of LinkedIn for law firms in a post this morning thought my statement about every major law firm having a profile a touch of an exaggeration. I’m not sure it’s an exaggeration.

Is there a law firm in the AmLaw 200, widely accepted as the 200 largest law firms in the country, which does not have a detailed law firm profile in the company profile section of LinkedIn? I am not aware of any. Let me now if you know of any AmLaw 200 firms without a LinkedIn profile.

These profiles were not created proactively by the law firms, as they would be with Martindale-Hubbell. The LinkedIn firm profiles are automatically generated from the demographic information in LinkedIn profile’s completed by lawyers and other professionals employed by law firms.

Let’s pull randomly number 100 on the AmLaw 200, Kilpatrick Stockton, a full-service, international law firm in nine offices across the eastern United States and in Europe. You do this by clicking on the company link on the home page of LinkedIn. Key in the firm name or browse to law firms. Here’s a the screenshot.

LInkedIn lawyers

Look at Kilpatrick Stockton’s law firm profile on LinkedIn. Included in the profile are links to the 418 employees with LinkedIn profiles, career paths to the firm, who the firm’s employees are most connected to in LinkedIn, new hires, promotions, popular profiles, top schools, median age, gender breakdown, and much more. Here’s a screenshot.

LinkedIn law firms
LinkedIn attorneysFree detailed law firm profiles in a social networking site that has 30 million registered professionals users spanning 150 industries. Powerful stuff.

Expect every law firm, large or small, to have a LinkedIn profile in the coming years. That’s something I don’t believe any legal directory is going to match.

That’ll be the next report we’ll need to put together at LexBlog. That’ll be in addition to our regular State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere.

I’m sure there are other large law firms who have jumped on Twitter, Australia’s Deacons comes to mind, but Hinshaw & Culbertson, a national law firm with 475 lawyers in 25 offices has created their firm Twitter account today.

Hinshaw hasn’t yet cranked up its Twitter feed, presumably to disseminate legal news and links to the firm’s intellectual capital and press copy, but it has started following Twitter feeds of legal professionals who have good a following on Twitter. That’s been done to get these influencers to follow them. And over time to spread Hinshaw’s message via Twitter and other social media. Worked for me.

AmLaw 200 Twitter

Clean up that fuzzy graphic ‘H’ logo guys. It’s beneath Hinshaw’s reputation and brand. ;)

Following a post by Dechert’s James Beck and Jones Day’s Mark Herrmann, co-authors of the Drug and Device Law blog, the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Slater asked whether law firm blogs were a marketing device or a mere diversion.

I’m amused reading pundits pontificating whether blogs are appropriate or a cost effective marketing tool for large law firms.

Those casting doubt fall in two camps. One is the uninformed. The second are those who have an interest in seeing law firms continue to buy or use less effective and much more expensive marketing tools (vendors and law firm employees wrongly believing blogs will cost them their job).

The fact is law blogs are an effective marketing tool for large law (and despite the Chicken Little’s raising ethics & liability issues, they’re safe).

The proof is looking at what is going on.

  • Over 25% of AmLaw 200 law firms have blogs.
  • 10% of AmLaw 200 law firms have more than one blog.
  • 36% growth in last 6 months in the number of AmLaw 200 law firms publishing blogs.
  • 49% growth in last 6 months in total number of blogs being published by AmLaw 200 law firms.

LexBlog is doing more blog work for AmLaw 200 firms than all the other blog service providers combined. And I can tell you large law firms are not using blogs as a diversion. They are using blogs as a very effective marketing tool to retain existing clients, to pick up work in new areas of practice for existing clients, and to get new clients.

Not one AmLaw 200 law firm has ever said blogging takes too much time or complained that the blog was not a success. Not only has LexBlog never had an AmLaw 200 firm stop publishing a blog, the majority of our clients are adding multiple blogs.

These blog marketing projects are in most cases driven or approved by innovative leaders in large law firms. Those administrative partners and chief marketing officers are focused on the bottom line, the financial health of their law firms. Blogs are a marketing device, not a diversion for them.

So you’ll know I am not making this stuff up, I want to share the success of one large law firm lawyer. Dan Schwartz, who just joined Pullman & Comley started his Connecticut Employment Law Blog last fall while a partner at AmLaw 200 firm, Epstein Becker & Green.

In the first 6 weeks of blogging while with the large law firm:

  • 5000 unique visitors
  • Few prospective client calls a week and one new client
  • Nearly 100 incoming links from third party websites and blogs
  • Regularly cited by leading law & employment bloggers (3 of the most widely read)
  • Article on Dan and his blog in Connecticut legal periodical

I thought of Dan’s story because of an email from him a couple evenings ago sharing recent successes.

The [new firm] is very receptive to the blog…

The blog has led to some very favorable press for me the last week… The Hartford Business Journalwrote an article about a food server case that I blogged about a few weeks ago. The reporter saw my blog on the case and called me for quotes.

Business New Haven, another good solid niche business publication, saw my blog on employment law and called me about law firm mandatory retirement. They even mentioned my blog with a link to it. Cool stuff.

And to top it off, a producer from 60 Minutes called me this afternoon after seeing my blog article on USERRA (military leave laws) and wondering if I knew of employers who could talk about it (and talking to me about it for a few minutes).

(And I’ve gotten a new client off of it recently too.)

When giving me approval to share his email, Dan said “Just don’t make it sound like I’m Superman or a publicity hound. The blog has just led to it.”

As a former trial lawyer of 17 years, I know you need to keep proving what can seem like the same case again and again to a different jury who didn’t believe until they understood the facts. Won’t surprise me to be making the argument on the marketing effectiveness of blogs for large law firms 4 or 5 years from now.