Blogging Lawyers

This is my 100th blog post, a milestone of sorts. This blog is an integrated part of my law firm’s new website. After an extended effort in preparing content for the firm website that began in 2007, the website went live in mid-March 2008. I started blogging on April 21, 2008. I reached my 100th post today, November 28, 2008, about 7 months later. That’s about 1 blog post every other day, which seems to me to be a pretty good rate of production, given that I have an active and demanding law practice, I employ attorneys, paralegals and other staff members in my practice, I’m a husband and father, and most of the posts are created by me.

Over the past months, as my colleagues learned that I began blogging, I’ve been repeatedly asked: “Is it worth the time and effort? Has blogging generated any additional business? What can a blog do for me and my practice?” After publishing 100 blog posts, I’m ready to give some preliminary responses to those questions.

Focusing first on a cost-benefit comparison of whether the business generated by the blog was worth the investment of time and effort that went into creating and maintaining it over the past 7 months, I’d have to say that the results were decidedly mixed. There is no question that I have gotten clients as a result of viewers’ review of my website and blog. Internet users who learn about new decisions or developments in the law will often run a google search, find a blog post I published on that subject and call for an appointment. Clients also search for me directly and use the website and blog to get to know me and my firm. Clearly, expertise demonstrated through blog postings can lead to referrals from other attorneys and generate inquiries from prospective clients. However, the number of actual appointments made during the past 7 months is remarkably small compared to the number of visitors to the blog during that time. The blog averages 300 unique visitors per day at this time, but the number of visitors who call for an appointment is very low in comparison. Also, there is also no question that blogs are tremendously time consuming. I would estimate that I spend an average of at least 1/2 hour a day on finding and preparing content for my blog posts in order to publish 2 – 3 times each week. On some days, the effort made and time expended on the blog are far greater. And blogging must be a sustained effort because, if the blog isn’t updated with some regularity, people will stop visiting the site to check for updates.

Given the mixed results business-wise, it is fair to ask why I continue. For an answer, you must look at the reasons for blogging beyond business development. I can say without hesitation that blogging is having an incredibly positive impact on my life. Some of the reasons for blogging beyond the development of new business which I’ve discovered in the past 7 months include:

  • I blog about those areas of law that I practice in: elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, will contests, guardianship law, public benefits planning, Medicaid, Medicare and VA benefits, family law, etc. Since I try to make complex legal concepts understandable and provide insight and commentary, I believe that I make the law more accessible to readers. It brings great personal satisfaction to help others understand the law.

  • Many lawyers love the law. Blogging is a way a to share your love of the law with others. Often, you get positive feedback from like-minded lawyers and the public. Again, the feedback provides great personal satisfaction.
  • Blogging lawyers are improving the image of the legal profession. Good blogs focus on providing information, not on advertising.
  • Blogs help to equalize lawyers from small and large firms in the profession. A lawyer in a small firm can start a blog in his or her legal practice area and, if the blog is a quality product, the lawyer will be established as an expert in that practice area.

  • Blogs make us better lawyers by allowing us to collaborate with experts in the field.
  • We showcase ourselves and other lawyers to those in need of legal services. Potential clients see lawyers who care about what they do, and how lawyers analyze a problem.
  • I have received speaking and publishing opportunities I would not have received had I not started blogging.

There are an estimated 133 million blogs now on the Internet and an estimated 30% of all Americans regularly read them. Bloggers have been at it an average of 3 years and are collectively creating close to one million posts every day. Since I have only been at it for 7 months, I hope to be blogging for years to come.

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for being a part of my community. Thank you for your comments and words of encouragement. Please stay involved.