Blog Tips for Lawyers
After your brief introduction to LinkedIn and Twitter, with this week’s installment we’re going to take a closer look at how lawyers have been successfully building their practices with social media. It’s now time to check out the law blogs – also known as blawgs. Blogs – an abbreviation for web logs – actually predate the advent of social media and have been commonplace on the Web for well over a decade.
By providing a simple and standardized suite of authoring tools, a blog enables any individual or organization to quickly start publishing content online. You can literally set up your own blog in less than five minutes using one of the common platforms like WordPress or Blogger. And it won’t cost you anything to get started. In the next installment in this series we’ll give you more specific guidance about how to set up your own blog and other blog tips for lawyers. But before that, we strongly recommend you take a look around to see what other lawyers are doing.
Given the low-cost and ease of use, blawgs have proliferated over the last few years. There are thousands of them out there on a wide variety of topics, some with extensive legal commentary, some more personal in flavor, from solo-practitioners, mid-sized firms and practice groups at the largest firms. You can get a quick idea of the extensive range of blog resources from The Blawg Directory compiled by The ABA Journal which currently lists more than 3,600 law blogs, organized in dozens of categories. If that sounds overwhelming, the ABA also runs an annual competition where it selects the top 100 blawgs The Blawg 100 Another useful resource is a site called The Lexblog Network. This is a paid service that helps lawyers create blogs and aggregates content from more than 1,000 different blawg resources.
Lawyers or law firms can become affiliated with the network, which culls content from various affiliated sites and organizes it by practice area. So the Lexblog site functions as a legal gazette, updated daily, that enables you to follow the most current blawg postings from leading practitioners across the country. Or if you prefer, you can create your own customized blawg clipping service. After you find law blogs with content of interest to you, there are a few tools you can use to that will make it easier to manage what admittedly can be an overwhelming flow of content.
The software tools we would recommend are Feedly, Digg Reader or Flipboard, each of which are easy to use and enable you to subscribe to multiple blogs, view them in a single page, and then organize the content in accordance with your own preferences. We want to end this week’s post by highlighting a few sites that illustrate what we think are particularly effective and creative ways lawyers are using blogs in their daily practice. As you can see, this is something that can work equally well for a solo-practitioner and a big-firm lawyer – the technology is a there for everyone to use – the only limits are those imposed by your imagination and the non-billable hours left in your day.
Letters Blogatory — This is a blawg maintained by Ted Folkman who practices with a mid-sized firm based in Boston called Murphy & King. He is a litigator with a specialty in transnational law. The centerpiece of the blog is the Case of Day where Folkman writes up a short summary of recent decision of interest. This perfectly demonstrates the realm of the possible – how practitioners are finding a way to publish valuable content online as part of their daily routine. Philly Law Blog — This comes from the small law firm of Mulvihill & Rushie, LLC in Philadelphia. The content here is more personal in flavor, not so much oriented to substantive content, and includes commentary on topical issues. It also functions more as a community site and invites reader comment. The blog is lively and well written and it gives readers a good feeling for the day-to-day realities of running a small practice.
Hsu Tube — This blawg is the brainchild of Richard Hsu, a partner based in Silicon Valley with Shearman & Sterling. Hsu is an IP lawyer and the site is content rich, including lots of information that seems targeted to business readers, particularly catering to tech industries. What’s really notable here is how Hsu has spiced up his blawg with some videos (presumably shot with an iPhone) that manage to be lively and informative.
This post, blog tips for lawyers, is the third post in a series that will provide assistance to lawyers seeking to gain a better understanding of social media and how to rebuild their practice as a social practice.