A blog post about an online article about law firm blogging, with a link to an article containing blogging tips for lawyers? As far as we know, a little mise en abyme never hurt anyone, so let’s do this.
An article by Jennifer Williams-Alvarez on the digital edition of Corporate Counsel caught our attention the other day. In it, the author recounted the views of several in-house counsels as they reflected on how law a firm’s blog could affect the hiring of an outside firm.
The good news? The consensus is a good blog is an effective platform for an attorney or law firm to showcase expertise. The article relates how Josh King, general counsel at Avvo Inc., ended up hiring an outside attorney because of a blog.
“There’s a guy whose blog I started following years ago who’s a First Amendment lawyer … and I’ve hired him for a number of very specific, internet-related issues.’” According to King, “The relationship would not have started without the blog.”
And the bad news? You guessed it. Blogs can also be potentially detrimental to winning – and even retaining – business. By way of example, Williams-Alvarez quotes Chas Rampenthal, general counsel at LegalZoom.com Inc.
“You can get an idea about the leanings of the firms by the way [the lawyers] write.”
According to the article, Rampenthal believes that “If a blog post shows that a firm is out of sync with LegalZoom’s interests and legal arguments, ‘it would definitely be a reason to reconsider the relationship.’” Lee Cheng, chief operating officer at Gibson Brands Inc., puts it in even more blunt terms. “I can definitely tell you that there are people that I haven’t hired and would never hire because of their blogs.”
While the universe of potential blog posts—both good and bad—is infinite, following a handful of basic rules can help authors avoid the black holes that make blogging counterproductive. For example, writing on the personal finance website, the balance, author and attorney, Sally Kane, provides 10 useful blogging tips for lawyers and legal professionals.
- Pick a Niche Topic
- Focus on Quality Content
- Post Regularly
- Engage Readers
- Examine Web Metrics
- Promote Your Blog
- Utilize SEO
- Include Your Bio
- Incorporate Audio and Visuals
- Steer Clear of Giving Legal Advice
The extent to which a law firm’s blog accurately mirrors its culture, personality and areas of legal interest and/or specialized expertise determines how well it gives prospects and clients a realistic view of the firm behind the digital mask. Blogs help “peel the veil back,” Rampenthal says.