A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.
Blawging: It's all about the passion.
I’m frequently asked to explain what makes a “successful” law blog. However, as is the case with any other type of social media, success is in the eye of the beholder. A law blog is successful if it helps you achieve your goals, whether they are to obtain new clients, increase your law firm’s search engine standing, showcase your expertise and writing skills, or simply serve as a creative outlet for your headstrong opinions.
Regardless of your goals, there’s no point in blogging unless you enjoy the process of writing and have a passion for your subject matter. Otherwise, the blog will fall flat. While it may achieve desired goals of increasing search engine optimization, it will ultimately be uninteresting and will have few regular readers.
The best blogs come from the heart. The lawyer’s voice and passion for the subject matter are obvious. The blogger offers his or her opinions without hesitation and isn’t afraid to express a minority viewpoint.
A few blogs spring to mind as prime examples of this type of blogging. Some are well known, others less so. But all are great examples of blogs that continually draw readers in and bring them back for more.
Two criminal defense law blogs that meet the mark are Scott Greenfield’s blog, Simple Justice and Norm Pattis’ blog. Both Norm and Scott are extremely good writers and neither is afraid to express his opinion. Regardless of whether you agree with their viewpoints, you’ll find yourself returning to read their posts again and again.
Two other bloggers with unique, poignant voices are Carolyn Elefant and Vickie Pynchon. Carolyn’s blog, My Shingle, offers solo attorneys Carolyn’s unique, knowledgeable and cutting edge perspective on solo practice trends and resources. Vickie’s blog, Negotiation Law Blog provides readers with her opinionated take on issues ranging from conflict resolution and mediation to the effect of generational differences on negotiating.
Personal injury law blogs are notorious for being anything but well written. In most cases, these law blogs are chock full of tragic posts about car accidents and bogged down by seemingly irrelevant internal links included solely for the purpose of trying to game Google. There are a few shining stars that stand out from the rest, however, including The Pop Tort and Eric Turkewitz’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog. Both blogs offer an interesting, heartfelt take on personal injury and tort law.
And let’s not forget the legal humor blogs. First, there’s my new favorite blog, Big Legal Brain, a group blog that provides tongue-in-cheek practice management and marketing tips to attorneys. Although intended to be funny, it contains many useful nuggets of wisdom. Another popular legal humor blog is Lowering the Bar, Kevin Underhill’s longstanding and very funny blog. Finally, my own legal humor blog, Legal Antics is quite funny as well—at least, I think so.
Finally, this list would not be complete if it didn’t include two of my favorite legal technology blogs. At Advocate’s Studio, Martha Sperry provides lawyers with her intuitive, knowledgeable take on all things related to law and technology (especially Web 2.0 issues). Another time-tested favorite is 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, a group blog that focuses on knowledge management, internet marketing, and library sciences.
There’s no shortage of interesting, well-written legal blogs, but it’s the passion of the blogger that sets the best apart from the rest. If you’re thinking of starting a law blog of your own, these blogs are great place to look for inspiration.
Nicole Black is of counsel to Fiandach & Fiandach in Rochester. She co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise, and is currently writing a book about cloud computing for lawyers that will be published by the ABA in early 2011. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org