2017 ABA Journal Web 100

Survey: Lawyers still think blogging makes an impact

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Read our current Web 100 picks: Blogs, podcasts, Twitter feeds, web tools

Blogging continues to draw new practitioners into the legal community. The majority responding to an ABA Journal online survey has been blogging for five years or less.

“When I started this blog, many of the other professors were skeptical about how effective it could be,” says Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, an agricultural law specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and author of Texas Agriculture Law Blog. “Four years and almost 2,000 subscribers in, they are now wanting to start blogs of their own.”

The majority of the 110 bloggers who responded to the survey write at least weekly and read one another’s work daily. “Blogging daily forces me to stay up on trends in the industry more than I might do so otherwise,” says Doug Austin of eDiscovery Daily Blog.

Law blogging is also a show of expertise. About half the bloggers in this year’s survey are law firm partners or solos—15 percent are marketers. “Legal blogging benefits the writer as much as the reader—not just in the form of enhanced reputation but in substantive education,” says Charles Bieneman of B2 Intellectual Property Report.

The two factors that bloggers think contribute most to credibility are practice area and tone. “You have to find your niche and style, and then be consistent with that,” says lawyer Eric A. Welter of the blog Welter Insights. “Readers start to understand your perspective and follow the blog because of what you bring to the table.”

Writing also extends bloggers’ networks. Among bloggers in law firms or legal departments, a majority say they have fewer than 20 co-workers.

“Blogging allows us a powerful path for communication with our members and supporters,” says Elizabeth Jamison of Military Spouse J.D. Network. “We can share our stories, successes and struggles and reach a wide audience with ease, which is important as the military community is scattered across the globe.”

Bloggers are as committed to the form as in a similar Journal survey last year. In both surveys, 28 percent plan to spend more time and money on blogging in the next 12 months. This year, 2 percent of bloggers planned to throttle down, compared with 7 percent in 2016.

Eighty-eight percent of bloggers say their efforts enhance their reputation. Two out of three law firm bloggers say their blogs bring in clients, and three in four find posts from blogs with law firm branding at least as credible as those without it.

Nathan A. Schachtman, who blogs about tort litigation at Tortini, says blogging has changed the face of legal publishing. “Bloggers can establish priority for insights and ideas and can do so way in advance of law review and other scholarly publications,” Schachtman says.


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