Are you serious? There’s more room than ever and better prospects than ever.
The recent focus on blogging by large firms has caused some bloggers at small law firms and solo lawyers to become concerned that there will no longer be a place for them in the blawgosphere.
I must admit I had a bit of concern about whether blogs by individual practicing lawyers could survive when a number of law professor/ law school blogs launched last fall. My concern was that, given how difficult it is to maintain a consistent pattern of posting to a blog, blogs staffed with law student interns gathering the latest and greatest information would overwhelm the efforts by solitary lawyer bloggers. My concern lasted only a few weeks.
Here’s what I noticed.
1. In the blog world, the clear individual voice carries more weight than a more homogenized group voice.
2. In both the law school group blogs and the big law firm blogs I’ve seen to-date, there is a tendency to move toward a high quantity of posts on a daily basis. At the same time, there is also a tendency to move away from assessing the importance of the information in each post. If you make 20 posts a day and do nothing to differentiate them or identify the importance of them, you reduce the utility of your blog to your readership and make your blog’s feed a likely candidate for deletion from my newsreader. I’ve practiced law for more than 20 years, I don’t recall many days where there were 20 items related to my practice that were must-reads.
3. In a related sense, blogs staffed by students or associates often have posts that do not show an appreciation of the context of the information being presented or its importance to the audience. In other words, you may not find the experience, expertise and judgment that you find in the blog of a practicing lawyer with significant experience. Note that I used the word, “may.” There are blogs that fit these categories that do a great job. If you combine heavy volume and doubts about the understanding and judgment of the posters, you have the perfect recipe for losing audience.
4. Let’s face it, big law firms are looking at blogging for marketing purposes. The long-time individual practicing lawyer bloggers (and other individual legal bloggers) are blogging because they have passion for their topics and blogging itself. Blogging has become part of who they are and they understand their audiences’ interests and needs. Marketing might be part of why they are blogging, but it’s not the only reason – not by a long shot.
5. Personality is a big part of any successful blog. Personality is hard to develop in any group blog. In an official big law firm blog – fuggettaboutit.
6. You want to know how to do a great big law firm blog? Get the star partner who really knows the stuff to blog about his or her area of expertise. Go back to the early days of the lawyers with web pages. Look at Lew Rose and his advertising law website. Yeah, it was Arendt Fox’s website, but we all knew it was Lew and it showed his expertise and personality. Look carefully at upcoming big law firm blog launches and you’ll see fingerprints of marketing departments all over them. That approach might work, but I’m taking a wait-and-see approach.
7. Big law firms are notorious for twice-a-year “quarterly newsletters” and other efforts that got off to a flashy start and then went . . . nowehere.
Blogging has been the realm of individual voices. The entry of “official” blogs, blogs by large firms and various group blogs with make the blawgosphere more varied, probably richer and perhaps more “professionalized,” but it ain’t going to displace all the individuals. Solo lawyers and small firm lawyers will continue to set the pace and drive the most interesting innovation in legal blogging.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]